Sunday, December 31, 2006

Tagged! - 5 things

I am not such a great fan of these chain-mail-type games (unless they involve sword and sorcery), but I am a great fan of Luca Rossi, so when he tagged me, I will play along.

Five things you didn't know about me
1) I used to be great at maths, physics, chemistry and biology. All straight A's, and I planned to become a veterinarian. At High school I picked the science classes, full load of all the hard sciences - and then I got a maths teacher who really didn't make things easier for the class. I managed to keep a fair grade in chemistry and biology, passed physics, but maths went really wrong. I went from A to fail in three years of intense struggle to understand what was going on up at that blackboard. I managed to pass a few months late after tuition from a great person I met at the next school. Petter Stigar, THANKS!

2) When I daydream, I am a dancer, or an acrobat. I can make my body leap and fly in my head.

3) I have a set of handpainted china plates that I painted myself.

4) I made a comic strip with a penguin who wanted to fly when I was 19. It was published in a school paper. (25 years later one of the students at our college made an animated movie over the same topic. Same topic, same kind of bird, very different way of getting there.)

5) I have written two books which I have never, and probably never will, publish. One it's pretty sure is gone for ever, because it was stolen with my laptop in 2005. The other is a joint project with my kids, and perhaps I'll revise it when the grandkids are the right age. I don't think it's a great loss to the world if I never become a literary author, though.


OK, that was five things about me that nobody knows. Who to challenge next?

I think I go for Hilde, Jill and thomas

Go go go!

And yes, you all know I am evil enough to tag you, which is why I didn't count that into the five things you never knew...

Thursday, December 28, 2006

German game studies?

I have this impression that German game studies is mainly hard-data sociology. This may be an error of mine, from a traumatic experience at a conference in New York a couple of years ago, but when I look for computer game studies in Germany I don't find it. This is probably due to my bad German skills, it's hard to find the right keyword in a language I write badly. So please, dear knowledgeable and skilled readers: what do you know about German game studies? Can you please tell me?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Game Studies for Christmas!

Just in time for your holiday reading: Game Studies 2006 is out! Rejoice, hark, the angels sing etc - we of the editors team are delighted, you have no idea how much. Now, enjoy!

Friday, December 22, 2006

"We were wrong"

That's not really what they said, the Norwegian television company TV2, but I just saw something I rarely see: a news provider spending valuable space on admitting to unethical behaviour.

PFU is the Norwegian press (which means all news media) board for ethics and professional integrity in journalism. They have no real power, but their power is in the threat about what can happen if the Norwegian press stops listening to them. There is not a lot of legislation in Norway really regulating the content of the media, except what counts for everybody about slander. In order to keep this kind of legislation unnecessary, the press censors themselves, through such boards as PFU.

Recently TV2 and Nettavisen lost against a complaint to PFU. Perhaps not the kind of case I really worry about, producers of diet pills are not my idea of a sympathetic victim, but still... they deserve fair and honest coverage in the media as much as anybody else.

Putting in a news item in a net paper doesn't cost much, but TV2 had a poster (EXTREMELY dull looking) with the text stating that PFU is of the opinion that TV2 and the net paper did not follow good news procedures when they indicated that the death of the mother of an anonymous source was caused by the diet pill in question in best commercial time. That one must have cost them, even if the voice reading the statement from PFU and the poster was about as dull as it gets.

Things to count

Bjarte Arneson counts the men he has met since his birth. At the moment there are 1350 persons on his list.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Ginger Cookies

On request, my ginger cookie batter. Note: This is not a low-glycemic cookie, quite the contrary, and I don’t eat these any more. The family members who don’t have messed up metabolisms are happily chewing away, although we normally reduce this amount by at least 50%. This makes a LOT of cookies.

Christmas ginger cookies
About 250 cookies

300g butter
5 deciliters (400grams) sugar
1 dl syrup or molasses
2 tablespoons ginger
2 tablespoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons cloves
1 tablespoon cardamom
2 deciliters water
1 tablespoon “natron” (NaHCO3 ) also known as baking soda
1,6 liters (ca 800 grams) fine wheat flour

Stove temperature: 200 degrees Celcius
Baking time: 5 minutes

Mix butter, sugar and syrup intil it’s soft. Add water, spices and baking soda and work the flour in well. Let the batter rest somewhere cool at least 12 hours or 1-2 days under some kind of wrapping. Use a rolling pin and make the dough into thin sheets, use flour to keep it from sticking. With cookie cutters, make cookies of different sizes and shapes and transfer them carefully to baking sheets.

Bake the cookies for 5 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius, and cool them on the sheet. Decorate with icing.

2 deciliters powder sugar
½ eggwhite
Some drops of vinegar

Mix all ingredients until smooth and shiny. Make a cone out of paper and fill with icing, use this to decorate the cooled cookies. Have fun!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Touching the past

I started working at Volda College 15 years ago, when the study of public information and public relations was newly formed as a two-year study. To the green new employee was given the task of kicking it off - basically I was given the keys to my office, a room and a bunch of students. Nobody bothered to give me the carefully developed curriculum and reading list until I had been asking for it for three months... By then I had done all the work for the first semester from scratch, too inexperienced to realise that I should not have had to work like that, and that I should have asked more often, louder, and from more people for the information which was lacking.

Today I have been revisiting the one, great thing about those first years in Volda. I love all my students, but can there ever be another group like the first? A handbook with pictures and names, and google, and I have spent the afternoon tracking them slowly through publications and jobs, to send them emails with greetings in the hope that yes, that's the right person.

I am doing this for two reasons: I am generally curious about where they all are now, what do they do, how did they use the knowledge we tried to share with them? But I would also like to use their knowledge about the information profession and the education in order to create a better, stronger and more updated education. And a third reason, which is the one the PR department at the college loves - I want to show them off to new students: "Look, these were my students once! Now they are there - and there - and there."

An afternoon with Google shows me I can do this, safely. I am feeling all warm and fuzzy with pride. And I have only gotten through the first two years. I am going to enjoy this!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Henry Jenkins and the bloggers

He has gotten himself an official blog, so he doesn't need to ask Elin for help to talk to bloggers any more. But Henry Jenkins today uses the authorial power of an established and well-respected scholar to frame history correctly.

The article is no longer at the end of the link, but if you want to read it - well, you got to buy the book: Fans, Bloggers and Gamers. Here Jenkins repeats the story about the editor making an unfortunate analogy calling the bloggers "cockroaches", and how he had the editor do something to his article which has since been dubbed "Doing a Dave" - changing the content after it has been blogged, hence making a lot of very angry and outspoken bloggers look stupid.

In the introduction Henry Jenkins claims that the bloggers never got past the "cockroach" phrase to understand what he was saying. However, this is from his article: "Once this column appears, my authorial control ends and theirs begin." First - if it really was the editor who wrote that unfortunate intro (and editors can be blamed for any number of things , several which are true), Jenkins' control ended long before the column was online. Second - the bloggers understood that perfectly. No need to tell them - it's why they reacted. Third - by changing the column it was clear that Jenkins' authorial control DID NOT end once the article was online. "Doing a Dave" took authorial control away from the bloggers and placed it firmly in the hands of the man with the advantage.

And while we're talking about framing... Henry Jenkins may have asked the blogging community to "blog this", but that's not why they responded. The "pretentious ass" he claims he may be called by bloggers is not deserved for his more well-considered scholarly writing, but for sentences like this: '"Blog this" I said, and not unexpectedly, the blogging community followed the instructions.' What redeems his framing of the incident is the next sentence: 'I simply wasn't prepared for the consequences.'

Water under the bridge 5 years ago, old stuff, yada yada, but I am still happy there is a reprint of Jenkins' "Blog this" article now that the links are no longer correct. Sadly Jill and I can't change the reference in our article, as it's in print and not online, but it should be Jenkins, Henry (2006): "Blog This!", in Fans, Bloggers and gamers, Ecploring Participatory Culture, New York University Press, New York, p. 178-181.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


I haven't even thought about it. But today I realised that I have gotten the plans for next semester off earlier than at any other time, I have a small stack only of papers to read still, and I have my daughter home to help with baking and cleaning. I can go home and make plans and expect to be able to follow them up!

Oh joy!

I may get into that Christmas thing for real this year!

Friday, December 08, 2006


I am one-eyed for three days, due to an upcoming eye check. A stylish white band-aid covers the left eye, and I am muddling through with one ye.

I had no idea how much I relied on that left eye. I also didn't know my right eye had become this nearsighted, as the left has compensated. After an hour I have a headache, and the right eye is tearing from the strain. 10 minutes online is more than enough already. I guess reading, writing, surfing and gaming is pretty much out of the question until Tuesday. See you all then!

Update: For those who were worried - eyes are fine, really, it was just an test in order to see how much they need to adjust my eyesight in order to make the eyes cooperate without prisms in the glasses. I am going to have an operation to adjust the muscles around the eye some time in March -07. After that I might be able to wear lenses! I am trying to imagine my face without glasses, and it's scary. But until then life goes on as usual, which is pretty good, although I found it was easier to read books and papers with only one eye! Everything else was pretty frustrating though. Suddenly getting a blind side was quite stressful.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Theory? Huh?

I am currently reading student papers, preparing for oral assessments tomorrow and Friday. Before I meet my students, I want to give them (and not just the ones who are to face me, but all students writing papers all over the world) a free tip which may make paper writing in academia easier.

Figure out what "Theory" means.

Here are some free definitions:

A bit more challenging:
Jonathan Culler, What is Theory, chapter one in his book Literary Theory, a very short introduction.

The Wikipedias don't entirely agree:
Wikipedia has a long and quite informative article about it, discussing the meaning of "theory" in different contexts.

This is opposed to the Norwegian Wikipedia article, where theory is presented as applicable to the natural sciences only.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Nick Yee on Addiction

Thank you Nick Yee, for this very thoughtful article on gaming addiction! There is still a lot more to the discussion and why it exists at all, but this is one of the most consistent treatments of this topic I have seen so far.

And thank you Jill, for emailing the link while I am up to my ears in reading student papers, unable to look out in the wide world without help!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Norwegian media statistics

Another couple of useful links, this mostly for Norwegian language users. The media use reports by the Norwegian statistical office, and a long list of European sites with an emphasis on Scandinavian by Nordicom/Norway.

And while we're at it: The Eurobarometer, a test which keeps being repeated - the quality of the questions has been discussed, but they are the same in all ov europe, and have been repeated at intervals for 20 years.


Machinima is movie making through games, and if you want to see what that can look like, have a look at, where you can pick your favourite game for a scene for all kinds of adventures.