Tag Archive for science

Getting Gritty

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any busier, they did! More projects, more panels, more academic pursuits. I’m very happy to be so connected with so many wonderful people.

So let’s start with some bad news/good news. The panel I was hoping to get in on at the American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting didn’t form. Just not enough people putting forward abstracts for that particular subject (which was the relational space between ARGs/LARPs and religion/myth). I think a Gothic Monsters panel formed instead. Alas. I got a pat on the head for my proposal, but ultimately it had nowhere to go, so it’s getting shelved for now. This is actually the first time I have ever been turned down on a proposal. It looks like my long running lucky streak is finally over. In a way, this is actually good. As an academic it’s important for me to be able to respond resiliently to critique and setbacks, and the best way to do that is through practice. Well, not too much practice : p

The good news is that I was offered a summer research position at Carnegie Mellon, working out of the brand new games lab under the amazing leadership of games scholar Jessica Hammer. I’ll be doing research on larpers, specifically. Hurrah! I’m very honored and incredibly excited for this opportunity. Good research is going to come out of this that will hopefully benefit the community in the long run.

Other good news: I found out just today that my proposal for an academic paper in the upcoming peer reviewed section of the Wyrd Con Companion Book has been accepted. I’m starting to feel a little old hat, as this will be my third year publishing in this journal in a row. However, I’m excited that I have managed to lay the foundation for the type of scholarship being approached so that now we can really delve into it. The Wyrd Con Companion Book has always selected a variety of excellently research papers, and I am proud to be in good company.

Backing up a little bit, I was also recently a speaker at Maelstrom, an innovative new gaming convention on the East Cost whose panel series focused heavily on minority issues. I basically talked until a dropped, sitting on two round tables and an additional three panels. It was awesome and I would definitely consider going back next year. Mad props to Avonelle Wing for making the entire thing possible and helping foster an environment where minorities can have a voice.

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I am also participating in an Indie + miniseries called Gaming As Other. This should probably be familiar to a few people by now, as I’ve participated in a series of Gaming As Other panels and speaking events already. They’re short little clips that boil down to a few key ideas each time. I believe we are running a series of three. The first one has already been completed, and you can watch it here!

Other than that I’m still slaving away at my current projects in both Hollywood and the gaming sphere. I made a brief appearance at WonderCon, and I’m now gearing up for Wyrd Con in May. And yep, still doing the Ph.D. thing. Life is good. See you around!

That’s No Moon!

I wanted to share a couple of things I’ve come across on the web over the past month.

First, there’s a New York Times article about two of Pluto’s moons getting named after Greek mythical figures, both from the underworld. Pluto is one of the many incarnations of the god of the underworld that most of us know as Hades. Hades is arguably one of my favorites from the Greek pantheon, and I was very pleased to see that these scientists chose to stick with this chthonic theme. The first moon is Kerberos (or Cerberus), the three-headed guard dog of the underworld. He’s had pretty recent incarnations in storytelling such as Fluffy in the Harry Potter series. The second is Styx (sometimes spelled as Stix, not to be confused with Strix, two totally separate myths), which is the name of the river of the dead. Pluto already had a moon named after the ferryman that paddled through the Styx–Charon. Pluto also possesses Hydra and Nyx. Please remind me never to visit.

The second thing is this amazing non-profit I came across called the Traditional Cultures Project. They work in indigenous cultural preservation, a subject close to my own heart. I did a lot of preservational work during my time in Ecuador, mostly recording myths and trying to get my head around the Kichwa language well enough to help preserve some of it before it goes extinct. I would love to go back out and do more fieldwork like this in the future, and I’m glad others are taking the initiative as well. Please consider supporting these guys and projects like them.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with a picture I took at Comic-Con of a giant LEGO drow:

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Yeah, I guess it was kind of fun.

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