Thursday, October 30, 2003

No personal touch
I know this is probably a very uncool and politically incorrect thing to say these days, but I am going to brave it anyway.

I have wondered why, with all the briliant people writing in the different group blogs, am I not toally enchanted with them? Like, for instance, Gamegirl advance has been around in my field for ever, but I never really did become a regular reader. I'd check it up once in a while when I was in the mood to see what they had written about games, but it was never on my absolute to-do list, like so many of the single-writer blogs out there. Then as Grand Text Auto came alone, I thought that would certainly become a hit: my kind of people, my kind of theory, and people I knew personally! But no, I still read it, but it's not like checking out if Noah has posted again on his sporadically updated kind-of blog. Which I have to admit I check more frequently than GTA!

When got online, I thought at first that my annoyance with it was because I was not asked to be part of it. I am quite aware of my touch of vanity, and live in terrror of letting it take over my judgement. So for the first while I just shut up and read it, determined not to speak from my dark side. After all, there are GREAT people writing there. But after a while I discovered a few things. I had no desire to be part of the discussions - the form didn't speak to me. I did the cooperative blog thing a couple of years ago, it was great for that particular task, then it was over and I didn't feel a craving to continue a public conversation while both Jill, Hilde and I could do the same thing through linking to each other's blogs.

And that is the heart of the matter I think - why I do not really like the group blogs. I like to choose the author I like to read. When I check GTA I read Nick and Noah's posts first. When I read Terra Nova I read TL of course, Castranova, Lastowka - and the others as the topics catch my attention. But this means that I have to sort out things I don't care to read, go through the postings and seek out the ones I am curious about. This takes time and energy, and makes it a much more pleasant experience for me when I read one person's blog.

I love Anne Galloway's writing, and when I check PLSJ I don't have to search through the posts to get a fix. I know that Lisbeth will almost always post something I am interested in, I enjoy the long rambling posts of Mike and the way Dennis collects links and topics from all over the net - so I go there and get what I like: I get my fix quickly, easily and without distractions.

I think the group blogs become somehow too closed, too directed inwards, to the discussion happening there between the participants. Perhaps it is just me: That I like to feel that I address one person at the time, that I like to focus on the individual and get confused, stressed and loose interest when I have to relate to a multitude. It might also be that group blogs are getting too close to the newspapers and the journals: That the blog as a form is not really all that good for groups and the group blogs should utilise better the same techniques as online newspapers: headlines, categories, columns rather than the informal disorganised conversation-like rambling that the personal blog is so well suited for.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003


I cannot defend travelling without consuming some high culture, and this time I did that at the Guggenheim museum. Somehow, it touches me less than the little mundane sights - the tired women on the subway, the display of cakes in a window, the broken plaster on the pavement by a construction site. these images linger in my mind with sound, taste, scent, while the sterile splendour of the museum leave me untouched. Only the keyhole leading into Frank Loyd Wright's study linger, the rest as smooth and finished, done with, as the pop-art of Rosenquist on the white, flawless walls. One thought will not let go of me though, the thought of a concert there, one by Magnar Åm, that surprising composer who directs choirs and writes music for echoes and mountains, his sound-images a sweet and piercing opposite to the din of the city.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

8th street
Over the last couple of days I have been doing a bit of travelling on the subway. Sunday to have indian food with Yoko and Juha, a wonderful japanese/finnish couple, Monday in the pouring rain to pick up some of the important stuff of life: books, wine, DVDs for improved vacationing purposes. I am off again today, and will probably be right back in those tunnels tomorrow. Yesterday the train smelled of smoke after we had passed 9th street in Brooklyn - we had been delayed due to smoke in the tunnels. Mercifully they did not say fire, but we all know what makes smoke, don't we?

The subway seems to me to be the ultimate dungeon, the model of many a computer game. It has the monsters rushing out of the dark, wind preceding them as they force through what little air is down there. There are lost souls that hardly ever leave the protected darkness, living in that noisy, insulated maze, there are crumbling mosaics and there are bright new patches and well-used paths. Passing through this maze is not just a matter of patience and endurance, there are rules you need to follow, gaps you need to mind, dangers you need to avoid and occasionally, pleasures and treasures you may enjoy finding.

Sunday, October 26, 2003


The windows were dirty, and the large plaster statues framed with curtains made from threads of light stopped the eye and defended the interior from the casual glance. But the second look draw me to the windows and set me searching for the entrance. Closed, the place remained a mystery, a shop of lamps hung like ripe exotic fruits from the ceiling, from the shelves, all colours and shapes, lovely textiles lit from within creating a mystery garden behind that dirty glass.

When travelling, the mundane and trivial becomes vital, and I learn to cherish the simple comforts as not so simple after all. The pleasure of knowing where the bathroom is, becomes luxury after brushing my teeth in the unsteady motion of a train. Friday the mundane pleasure was the laundromat. Large, slick, clean and brand new, I went in there, spent a little money and just let the machines perform their magic. Oh joy!

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Text Adventures
Just as I am playing with pictures and exploring the new camera, Dennis G. Jerz posts a link to remind me of the value of text. From Things Magazine:

Although the box that sits on the desk is essentially mundane and lacking wonder, inside is a cabinet of curiosities, with each and every machine somehow different, their many functions and properties signified through a myriad of obscure objects, things that must be opened, expanded, collapsed, scrolled, stored, filed, deleted and edited. Of course, we still love to explore the physical world of objects, but this seems to be increasingly about those personal, internal environments.

It is exactly the internal environment that is the beauty of texts. Barnetimen, with the radio plays I used to listen to as I grew up, used to quote a letter from one of the audience: "Pictures are so much better on the radio." And they are. Pictures are better in text. The beauty or horror of the people my character met could never have been created in images: the bloodspattered armour of Marconi, and his grisly habit of hanging the fingers and ears of his enemies in a chain about his neck - even the scent of decay of the pieces attached to his armour in the last days of his splendour and insanity - was conveyed by his description. Not to mention the ephemeral beauty of Fey, the hinted landscapes just outside of the room descriptions, or the intricate splendour of the Moon Palace, a confusing labyrinth of doors opening in on them self, no one door leading the same place from both sides.

It is this inner landscape that lends life to text, sound and music, just like images lend shape and colour to the same. But it seems to be more inspiring to go from text to image than from image to text: not many books have been written about paintings, photos or movies.

An other advantage of the text based game is that it allows participation at a much higher level than the graphic games, as it easily includes people with less computer skills in creating them. That is important too, in my book.
Roaming the streets
Wearing the boots that make me feel like I am an explorer, a hiker in the wilderness of the big city, camouflaged as just an other academic but in truth an adventuress on a quest to understand and analyze a different world, I went out to do my job as mother of a drummer boy. I went off to drummers world on 46th street, armed with a wishlist from my best beloved of sons, and the confidence of my undercover status. After years in the same house as teen-age musicians, I have been forced to learn quite a bit about their instruments, and I am by now aware of the difference between a splash, a crash and a ride. I can also recognize a high-hat... but if somebody tells me Hauk needs a dash, I may just go and attempt to buy it. And an equal angle at the same time. So yes, this was kind of scary. But I managed, and got safely back out on the street heading for the subway at 50th street.

On the way I passed this store, where I expect to spend some time when I go to buy the cymbals. Getting sheet music in Volda is restricted to "learn the clarinet (trumpet/trombone etc) 1-2", and that isn't really sheet music? So that reminded me of asking my daughter for a wishlist, or I may just go in at one of the many NYC music stores and shop for her: random samples of music for clarinet and saxophone.

After this I headed up and east even further, way out of my usual haunts. Unlimited subway cards are a must! Up there I found what I think I will get for the family for christmas - my many sisters, that is - and since I know at least one of them checks this blog I am not telling!

Instead I will tell you about Economy Candy. The scent of it knocks me out and takes over my brain, as sweetness surrounds me from the moment I open the door. I go there for the best chocolate in the world. French produced but as I visit NYC much more frequently than France, I do my chocolate shopping where I can. This meant getting back down from 79th street and across from the west to he east side, way down east and south of Houston. Yes, those boots were still feeling pretty good! And they felt good all the way back to 95th street with the R train, although they are better for walking than sitting. Sometimes very supportive shoes become too restraining while sitting.

In Bay Ridge houseowners are being attention economical. If you have to decorate for halloween, why not put up a little sign to announce who you are voting for as well? Political and cultural message in one colourful package!

Today I find that I am tired, but I am starting to feel like a human being again. I don't feel the need to rush out and immerse myself in the pulse of Manhattan, and even if I am not yet ready to finish the lectures and articles I shold write this and next week, I am not feeling sick at the thougth. But instead of being a good girl and getting all that work done I am going to use my lap-top for the DVD function: lean back on the bed, lap-top in lap and watch my NYC connection's anime. I thought I had survived the defense with the post-partum depression well, but today I feel through the contrast to last week that I still have a long way to go before I am back in shape and ready to work at my normal speed. However I also feel like I made the right decision when I insisted I needed this break. Perhaps, in a not too far future, I will be blogging something to do with games and media theory again.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

New Doctors
They come in droves now: Jesper Juul has submitted his thesis, Jill Walker has had hers accepted and worthy to be defended (I will have a bottle of champagne for you Jill) and my colleague Johann Roppen has published his thesis online: Orklas lange revolusjon - "the long revolution of Orkla".

Orkla Media is one of the largest media companies in Norway, and through the last 20 years they have been buying and restructuring the local newspapers. Johann's thesis describes the position of editors in this process, and the connection between the role of the editor and the power of money. The defense will be November 8th - sadly I will not be there and do for Johann what he did for me. He was the host at the doctorate dinner, bright, daring and sociable as he is. All I can do is wish him all the best, and hope that his defense will be as good an experience as mine was.
City hiking
Every time I am in New York I regret that I left the hiking boots at home, every time I go I look at the boots and think: no, I am not carrying those. This time I did what I have wanted to do every time: I bought a pair. Black, aggressive looking and heavy they protect my feet as if they were held gently in a cradling hand, and the worn pavements and the broken brick of the perpetual construction site that is New York no longer hurt my feet.

But a big city has more than hiking boots. This picure is mainly a message for Susana, to say: I found them! And they are comfortable too! I have been looking for high-heeled red shoes for years, and since my feet match the rest of me, and no part of me has ever comfortably fit into the dainty sizes of feminine fashion, it has been more than a search: it has been a quest.

These two pictures represent something else, as well. They are the first pictures I have managed to post on this blog from the new camera. I had decided I did not want to post fragments of myself, but my own views out, away from my body. I will still do that. However in a way these fragments represent the situation of my life at the moment. After ignoring my own welfare for years until I was done with the PhD, my body strikes back with a vengeance. Both hands hurt, my thumbs are really painful when I try to hold on to something, and at times I lose sensitivity in the three major fingers of the right hand, feeling substituded by a fierce tingling. My body is protesting in fragments against the lack of attention given to it, my arrogant assumption of mind over body. So perhaps this is not wrong, to spend some of the time here focused - not inwards as in introspection, but towards me, seeing the body and its needs for a while.

Monday, October 20, 2003

pictures unrevealed
There are moments when I miss the desk-top computer at the college. This is one of those. I just can't make any of the many picure editing programs that come with either the mac, the pc or the camera to work the way I would like it to. Let today's comment on computer culture be: half-baked editing programs are a waste of bytes!

I have a plan for how to circumvent the editors all together, but it is not going to happen today. This means you all will not see the many pictures from Oyster Bay and the Oyster Fest (I may be back with pictures from my NYc connection's murky past in suburbian America). Instead I will make sure to let you see the results of today's shoe quest, if I succeed!

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Photos to be
Safely in New York, what was waiting for me there? A present! My NYC connection who happily puts up with me when ever I need some time away from all the things I feel I should do, bought me a digital camera because he is SO relieved he will no more have a frustrated PhD student visiting, but a happy confident So in the style of the Norwegian blogger ladies, I will start bothering you all with MY pictures, not something snatched from here or there.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Tomorrow morning I am leaving for New York. Three weeks away from all the stuff I should have done here. Perhaps I can use my hands freely and without pain when I return.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

It's almost impossible to believe that this and this is the same fjord.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

I have three days in which to finish all those little things stuck on my desk for weeks as I have been getting my head around the teaching again. I will not make it, but at least I'll try before I leave for New York Friday morning. Two weeks of vacation and one week of work. But fun work!

Is there anything I should make sure to see or experience in New York between October 17th and November 3rd? (I am leaving the 10th, but that last week is busy).

Monday, October 13, 2003

It is official!
The letter arrived today: I am now officially a doctor artium - dr. art. But wait, there is more! I will get an invitation later for the Doctor Promotion, a ceremony to be held in Håkonshallen in Bergen, January 23rd 2004. According to the letter from the headmaster of Bergen University (no less), I'll get an invitation later. Oh dear, I can't wait to see what more rituals there can be around a Norwegian doctorate degree!
Super hero in your living room
I have been quoted again, this time in Bergens Tidende, the local paper for Jill and Hilde. The article is about how computer games are increasingly accepted as a medium for adults, and the quotes used by me are pretty simple and stereotypical - the papers all want me to say that computer games are good for you.

I desperately try to tell them that no, I can't prove that, but the game I have studied has been good for the players I have interviewed! That, of course, is a too limited statement for journalists, so they edit happily and I am not the woman who made computergames healthy. But I managed to read through the article before it was published, and I got rid of the direct connection between games and physical health, so I guess I can forgive the journalist for calling me a Cand. Philol. (which is the title you get with a hovedfag - master's degree), and not a Dr. Art (which is the title you get after an accepted doctoral defense).
Gender and income
Hilde beat me to blogging this, but I still want to point it out to all those who might think that Norway is paradise for women: The average woman now makes 97 000,00 N Kr less than the average man - that's 12000 down in the last year. Men also own twice as much as women. From Aftenposten.
Living narratives
From my email this week-end, a little something for the Norwegian language readers out there: Levende fortellinger. It is a multi-thread story where the readers can write their own suggestions for how things will go.

This is reminiscent of the books that used to be published each year when I was a child: Barnetimeboka. There is this program on Norwegian National Radio NRK every Saturday at 5 pm, called Barnetimen or "children's hour". It is a program directed at children from I guess 7 and upwards, and the main event was the drama, the radio play, acted out in the last part of the show. I heard several children's and youth classics acted out through this: 101 Dalmatians is just one of them.

Barnetimen also organised the writing of a book each year. An author would write the first chapter. This chapter would be read in the program, and children would be encouraged to write the next chapter or to make drawings. I don't remember the time intervals, but the book would develop like this: each time they had decided which contribution would go into the book they would read it in the show, and they would ask for more: what happens next? The books developed like that, and interestingly enough, this being Norway with two official Norwegian languages, it would be written in both, depending on what the contributors - the children - used for each cotnributions. We couldn't see the drawings on the radio of course (despite pictures occasionally being better in the radio), but the book would be filled with drawings and water-colour paintings, strong, bold colours for a complex text, written through a whole year by Norwegian children. The book has been written each year for 50 years. The income from the sale of this book goes to charities supporting children.

Some of these books became quite famous, such as Petter Frå Ruskøy (1957) which was used later for the manuscript for the film.,

Today, Barnetimeboka 2003 has its own web-page, of course.

I wanted to leave the dahlias still blooming in the garden for as long as possible, and I was going to show my husband where they all grow, so he could take them in while I am in New York. They have been blooming in purple abundance and pink/gold splendour around the garden after everything else has given up. But this morning I had to scrape the frost off the car before getting to work, so it's pretty clear: I have to unearth the tender roots today.

(picture borrowed here)

Thursday, October 09, 2003

What is it that I am doing?
Come to think of it, it has to look like I don't do anything but write in my blog about things I find while surfing, and complain about giving a lecture or two a year. It's correct that I give very few lectures. The teaching at Volda College rarely happens in lectures.

My main job is actually administration. These days I am planning next semester, which is frantic, and frantic on a whole new scale. We have gone from a two-year to a three year education, and we are still following the first class through. Until summer 2005 we will have "first times" every semester. What I do as head of the education is to make sure that the semesters are prepared in time: that we have the equipment we need, that we have the rooms we need, that we have the readinglists done and updated, that we have the classes plotted, the assistants hired, the tasks are planned and internships agreed upon. I don't have to do it all myself, but it's my job to remember it all.

Then there is the bureucracy following the reform which we are all struggling with. Where we earlier used to have the students evaluate the teaching, now we don't just have to evaluate it but we have to report the form in which they evaluate, the results and what we plan to do about that. While we used to have meetings with the students to discuss how to develop the study further, now we have to write minutes from these meetings and report them. While we used to have staff meetings and discuss problems, now we also need to write minutes and report these. Every action we used to perform has now, under the new structure, generated three more layers of bureaucracy. Luckily I only have to do double work, I am not responsible for the new administrators they have hired to deal with the double load of paper I produce now.

Then there's the demand for more research. Planning research, making research strategies, playing politics. And while we are talking about politics, the internal affairs of a large workplace, and all the political decicions that I can't avoid any more: what positions to keep open, which to fill, where to send resorces and where to get them. An endless game that can fill all available time.

And in between this I have face-to-face conversations with students. I spend a lot of time with students in my office, supervising, giving advice and generally following them up. Now at least one of those conversation each semester needs to generate a report and a piece of paper that is passed on.

I am employer and employee, I am strategist and politician, I am researcher, writer and student, I am administrator and administrated. And then I am a teacher.

I actually like to teach. I like writing the large, sweeping lectures, two hours and a hundred students, let me manipulate that group, let me make them fight among themselves, let me set them buzzing as I fly high on the energy of the lecturing hall. But I don't have the time to do it. I am stuck here in this office writing boring reports on routine conversations where we learn nothing because I am not allowed to ask any really significant questions, only questions that fit in the forms.

Thank you, that helped. Now I remember that I actually like teaching, and I'll have fun tomorrow.
I have just spent an hour trying to make sure everything works for the lecture tomorrow, at 8.15 am, a time of the day when I don't have a chance to get hold of assistance if I can't make things work. Of course, the sound had been turned off on the computer, and after an hour of opening every panel to check that nothing had been turned off and no wires fallen out, the expert called to my assistance managed to figure out that the speakers had been turned off on the computer. I felt like an idiot: I had "unchecked" the speaker, it was supposed to work, but I hadn't opened the icon further and unchecked every box there was.

The lecture tomorrow? Internet history. And I don't know how to get the sound to work on a program I use every day. I feel so exhausted. Empty. I have no energy at all for getting up at 6 tomorrow in order to be here, prepared and ready at 8. And I have another lecture later tomorrow, which I need to prepare for as well.

I need a shot of something. And don't say coffeine, because I sleep better when I drink coffee.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

The Amazon

I dreamt of swords last night.
I dreamt of battles last night.
I dreamt I fought by your side
armed and strong, last night.

A hard flash of lightning came from your hand
and the troll fell at your feet.
Our troops closed in around us and sang
in the threat of silent darkness.

I dreamt of blood last night.
I dreamt of death last night.
I dreamt I fell by your side
with a mortal wound, last night.

You never even noticed that I fell.
So grave was your mouth.
With steady hand you held your shield
and went upon your way.

I dreamt of fire last night.
I dreamt of roses last night.
I dreamt my death was fair and good.
That is how I dreamt last night.

By Karin Boye, found here

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Structuring a lecture
Friday I am supposed to give a lecture on Internet history. It's not really my strongest field, but I have absorbed a bit more than most of my colleagues, and I really should know this stuff, so OK. I have spent the day gathering links, and reading the very short article on the reading list for these students. The article, by Gunnar Liestøl, a professor at the University of Oslo, is called "Fra Memex til World Wide Web" (From memex to www), and starts out as a fair (although short) list of important people and important events. Of course, it neglects Ada Lovelace, but we're used to that, right?

The fun part is that I now have all of the lecture structured in my head and on my note-blog, and I am looking forwards to filling in with facts offline, on paper. The blog I keep for offering the students easy access to the links I use for the lectures isn't just a way to park links, but a way to structure my own preparations. And it works, just as this blog has worked as a way to help me structure my thoughts through a much longer and more painful research phase.
Odd stuff
Sinde I am very busy writing lectures for Friday, I have to do something totally unrelated. (It's the logic of stress: the more I need to do something, the less I do of it.). Luckily Jill and Lisbeth supply the topic: odd little netpages. They directed me to It compares to other odd pages, like Dancing Paul and Brittle Bones.

Odd little things like these are my little treasures online, and I try to remember them, save them for the rainy days or pull them up when we talk about creativity, fun, playfullness on the net.
I always wondered what they were... (From Cyborg Mommy)
An Atlas of Cyberspaces
Found today, as I am preparing for Friday's lectures: An Atlas of Cyberspaces

Monday, October 06, 2003

Forgotten files
I just found the manuscript to a story I used to work on with my children while they were still children, and not teens. It's about a gold and white cat, a boy, a girl, and a secret valley in the mountains where a witch keeps a dragon prisoner. I emailed it home, to see if I can finish it before the children are legal adults. Not much time left!
Bourdieu, links and blogs
Thanks to Liz Lawley for linking to these two posts by Jeff Ward.

From Norangsfjorden, by way of
Spam aggression
Is it only me and the College filters, or has spam aggression been turned up one notch? The main spam sources for my mailbox these days are, and I have students who use these services, particularly hotmail, so I feel that I can't just block them. But if you send emails to me from any one of these services I may just delete it without noticing.
Computer games and the human condition
This does not start with Mark Bernstein’s question, which he calls “Bernstein’s Challenge”, but it includes that. It also includes the ludology/narrativity debate, the distinction games/interactive fiction and the nature of games.

Mark Bernstein asks what games and teach us of the human condition, and he asks his questions like this:
“Now look over the shelf, and tell me everything we learn about, say, sexuality.” (nov. 1, 2001) and “So let's step over to that big bookshelf that holds our 20 years of games, and start picking out the games that tell us about Fathers and Sons.” (nov 2, 2001).

On Grand Text Auto Mark Bernstein’s rerun of his question spurs an intense debate. I am less convinced that this attention is deserved now than I was two years ago. The questions assume that games are the same as literature, that they have to answer the same questions as literature and in the same manner. The questions also assume that the only interesting things about humans are about sexuality, fathers and sons. Freud would certainly have wanted to know about this, but do we really need to look for Oedipus every time we reach for a joystick?

Noah Wardrip-Fruin comments in GTA that "Mark's query is a dead end. Rather than trying to drum up interest in this old question, I think he'd offer us more by exploring what's wrong with it", and in response to this Andrew Stern asks: "So I suppose I'm interpreting Mark's question as a version of your first newly-posed question — why have human-condition issues, which get addressed in all other media (literature, theater, cinema, TV, music), not yet been successfully addressed in the most popular form of interactive media, namely games?"

I am with Noah on this. The question isn't all that interesting. And the reason I think it's not interesting is expressed by Steve: "I guess I would have to come at Mark's question with another question: which games? Then come the choices." We don't even know the limitations and the potential in this new genre, how can we make sweeping statements about what they say about nothing less than the human condition? At the time when this question was first asked, I offered two quick examples of games that address sexuality and fathers and sons. There are more, the entire Baldur's Gate series is for instance an epic of how the sins of fathers come back to pursue the son - or the daughter. It's equal opportunity evil, unlike Bernstein's questions.

The problem is that Bernstein's questions presuppose that any medium has to, in all its different incarnations, address a very narrow aspect of the human condition in order to be valuable. This narrow aspect of the human condition happens to overlap the interests of a layer of society where it is part of the culture to analyse such things as sexuality and the relationships between fathers and sons. Games are more likely to address different aspects of the human condition, such as the relationship between series of expected events, the response time given a certain interface, the surprise element versus reassurance, the abject, the liminal and order: all of these are very much related to what humans are, how we think, how we feel, how we act, but they are not easily fitted within literature criticism or even film criticism (although the introduction of time and speed makes film theory more directly applicable to games than literature theory).

After the rerun of this question, I am tempted to ask: Why do we have to look for the same things in games as we look for in books? I thought we had agreed that they are different media? I don't expect pens to be used for the same things as balls, so why should games be books?

And to Mark Bernstein's comment at the end: "Scholarship proceeds through dialogue, by finding questions and then finding answers. We're waiting, folks."

Mark: How about listening for a change, and not just asking? A lot of people have answered a lot of questions about games. That they don't answer these questions does not mean there is no dialogue, progress and answers.

Friday, October 03, 2003

Hard Lessons
Lisbeth is frustrated with the way work is organised at itu. Her frustrations are too familiar. But Lisbeth is a quick learner. It took me five years to realise what she has learned: that there is no reward in Academia for saving somebody else's face.

But to the defense of Universities and Colleges as a workplace, and hopefully to give Lisbeth some hope, I want to point out that lessons once learned are not easily forgotten. Once people have learned to rely on Lisbeth, they will go on doing so, no matter how she behaves. Once the idea of Dr Klastrup as reliable is established, she can committ serious offenses, and still be reliable.

It's permitted to be sick, to be angry, to be stressed, to be frustrated - and to let your colleagues know about this - once your image as a hard worker who solve more problems than you create has been accepted. This gives you a slack that you would not have without that established faith.

That is when aggression is revealed as fear, manipulation as the last desperate attempt to save face vis á vis a competent and good looking young woman, disregard as wishful thinking. It just takes a while. And, young woman new to academic responsibility and intrigue, until you reach that point, maintain a good, positive and friendly network on your own. Take that extra little luxury of working with people who like you. That is where we can receive as much as we give.
Gunnar Skirbekk, a Norwegian Philosopher, is part of a debate on common sense at the College today. I am on a 15 minutes break, after two breathless hours of modernism, post-modernism and post post-modernism. He introduced a concept my flawed schooling in philosophy has avoided: Praxeology. Look at it, think about it, and then think about the question of how to study games. I know that's what I'll be doing for a while.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

It will not end. The Cyber Ladies, who know perfectly well who they are, are keeping me entertained with a flow of packages from I think I need to update my wishlist there now, it is most likely cleaned out! I got an other C.J. Cherryh book today: Defender, the last published book (so far) in a series I have liked for years. I can't wait to get home and settle down with it - I need this kind of reading now! It's the same author as for Paladin, which I received a while ago. And then there was the book that made me want to arrange a seminar or a workshop right away. There needs to be a workshop soon on female academics in cyberspace: their research interests, their academic opportunities and their plans for the future. It needs to be somewhere nice and physically and aesthetically pleasing, it needs to include publishing fantastic articles by fantastic writers, inspired blogging on elegant websites and active network building in many a social event.

In other words: I am sad, really sad that I don't know when I can be with you ladies again. I miss you!
Warning: angry frustrated post. Might have limited interest.

Last year around this time I was frantically trying to do three things: develop a bachelor degree in public information, finish my PhD and write an application and put together a group of researchers willing to cooperate within the KIM program of research. I should have dropped at least one of those activities, and it wasn't the education or the PhD.

In Matt. 25, 14-30 is told the story of how the wealthy man gives three of his servants money to look after and keep safe until he returns. Two of them, who get the larger sums, put the money to work and increase the funds. The one who didn't really get much just keeps them safe. When the wealthy man returns he rewards the two who increased the sum, and punishes the one who just kept the money safe. He is also told to give the money to the two who managed to make money.

This is "matteus-effekten", a good expression of how resources become skewed in society. Now we have a new word for the matthew-effect, the KIM-effect. The lastest research program from the Norwegian board of research catches the smaller research institutions and the regional colleges in a neat catch 22. In order to receive grants, we need to have experienced researchers to lead well integrated research organisations. Could somebody please explain to us how we can find experienced researchers and integrated research organisation within an environment that does not qualify for receiving grants, and so develop individuals and organisations?

I just wondered. Any good ideas are welcome. And yes, I have considered giving up on the regional college and get a job in Oslo. But I have spent too much time developing an education and teaching in a regional college rather than doing research and publishing reports within an established research unit in Oslo to do that.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

At least, it's pretty
Volda by night
Research strategies
Another glimpse from the life of a college prof: I am off to discuss research strategies for the College. There's quite a bit of tension related to that, because I have done all of my research, writing and publishing, despite the official strategies, not supported by them. And now I have to sit down and make a rational and sensible argument for how to plan for free research and the liberty of the individual, while I know that the central policy of research is to build centres and concentrate on certain topics. If that goes through, I can just forget about any further research at this college. My future here is an endless succession of years teaching a subject I grew out of five years ago. Yes, there's a touch of gloom and doom on my mind at present.
Computer games and the state
Lisbeth has a post on the discussion of public support for Danish computer games. In Norway this has already been suggested for the budget of 2004. There will be 8 million (1,1 million $) for the development of non-violent or less violent computer games in Norway. Remo Caprino, the developer of Flåklypa Grand Prix as a computer game, has already received two millions which come on top of the 8 millions suggested for 2004 - which means Norway will spend 10 million N kr on the planning of non-violent computer games.

I do, however, have more sympathy for the idea of developing a Danish Dogme Game than for the idea of developing a Norwegian Nice Game. The one is about creating something unique, the other is about denying something undesired. But at least the money is there, and that opens the window for future creativity.
The ease of the net
This is why I love the internet. This morning I got an email from Brad King, one of the authors of Dungeons and Dreamers, blogger and teacher of New Media History at University of Texas in Austin. He had read my blogpost, and didn't quite understand how I could read the book the way I did.

I'll not get into all of the letter as I think disagreements are just fine. It would be horrible if we all wanted, liked and understood the same things - I think that's pretty close to hell on earth for me. But he asked me something which I cannot contribute to, but which really should be researched. Are there any significant women they have missed? Is there a history of women's computing culture which should have been written?

I am of the opinion that if there isn't, well, that should be properly documentet. We all hear from the mythmakers that no, there were no women. Where is the study that explains why? The work that discusses the connections between priviledge, power, gender and technology? The critical view on a formative period of the development of a dominant technology, while that development is still in our near past?

That doesn't mean I think Brad King needs to write it. Dungeons and Dreamers does an exellent job as it is, exposing the need to ask different questions.