Monday, August 30, 2004

Speeches, shoes that go "klop-klop" and a pointing stick

Yesterday I had this idea that I should wear teaching clothes when I teach. It's such a specific role to do it, and it would feel really strange if that role somehow got internalised in my identity. I can't seem to get over this feeling of that it's really weird that I'm teaching. Speaking at conferences is one thing but. Well. Anyway I dug deep into the wardrobe this morning and found a skirt my mother gave me, an official looking black one with thin white stripes. So I was wearing that, and a pair of pointy shoes that very distinctively go "klop-klop" when I walk. And in the lecture hall I found a long white pointing-stick! I used it all the time with a continuous inner giggle. A skirt from my mother! Hair in a bun! Glasses! Pointing-stick! I'd better not get too deep into it :)

It's a pretty intense week this. Today I gave this three-hour lecture, on narrative. And tomorrow ill give another 3hour lecture on interactive narrative. Day after I’ll present the research that our group does at a research symposium "Spelakademin". Then a day for travelling, and next presenting at a conference. (linguistic department at sthlm uni organizes)

I'll try to get a chance to go shopping while i'm away, I thought I could get one of those blouses which has parts of the textile which are supposed to be tied in a kind of ribbon. Then I'd be able to go klop-klop seriously. I'm thinking of adding a sound of clattering keys as well, but I’m afraid that would be to over do it.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

More Than Human and Natural History

Sci-fi is a wonderful resource for mapping out ideas that push the borders of what identity, consciousness and self might be. I went to the sci-fi bookstore to get Justina Robeson’s Natural History and rulebooks for GURP a cpl of weeks ago and ended up with a bigger catch than I had planned. Oh the joy of having a whole pile of unread books. I remember how sad I was at the age of fifteen when I had gone through the whole shelf of sci-fi books at the local library. From A to Ö, nothing more to read. I used to go there once or twice a week ant bring home a catch of six to ten books. I can’t remember what I did then; I think I started training my social skills instead, and exploring males. Hih, I must be regressing now then.

Day before yesterday I read Theodore Sturgeons More Than Human from 1953, about the gestalt human. A group of persons, an idiot, two teleporters (twins), a girl who can move things by will and a retarded baby who functions like a computer, forms bleshes (blesh = mesh + blend) their minds into one entity, the gestalt human. Yesterday I started reading Ted Chiang's collection of short stories, Stories of Your Life and Others, but I fell asleep in the middle, this morning; house lit up, cats paw on my cheek. A female math professor who gets into an existential crisis when she proves all number to be equal, the connection between the world and the mathematics to not be there. There were short stories before that, The Tower of Babylon and Understand. Chiang had gotten the Sturgeon prize. In the short Understand a man gets a medication, “hormone K” which increases the amount and performance of neurons in his brain. He is able to understand his own mental processes. I thought of Marvin Minski’s writing on the mind, of how little we know about it. That we can see, in tests, the activity of neural transmissions, but we only see the mechanical proof. I went to an exhibition at the Nobel Museum, about what technology have inspired sci-fi writers; nano tech etc. There was a very nice section there called the brain pavilion mapping out the history of research, with all the beautiful illustrations from the fifteenth century and forth.
Alistair Reynolds described in Revelation Space alpha and beta simulations of dead persons. The neural networks in their brains scanned in, the physical body dead, and eternal life in simulation. Important to not lose the master tape, heh, and no copies allowed. I would like all my friends to read Justina Robson's Natural History, but it’s impossible for me to lend my copy to anyone. I must have it close. The forged humans, Isol who is a spacecraft, her mind made autistic, self-sufficient for long travels.

I’m trying to get together the paper I'm presenting next weekend in the cross-disiplinary conference in Stockholm. The limit is fifteen pages, and I have written that, but it means that the content so concentrated it becomes almost painful to read. And the abstract promises something interesting, almost entertaining, but instead its minimalist structuralist stuff I seem to have put in there. I sent it to a friend to look at, and now I feel guilty and sorry for him to have to read my clumsy language. Aw.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Resident in Paper Land

I live in Paper Land at the moment. By the desk i have pictures taken under water, when i was diving in tunisa a couple of weeks ago, reminding me that Paper Land is not the Only Land. Managed to send off a full paper today, that feels good. Now i need tow write two more, then i should be done paper writing for this year (my abstract for the Games Cultures Reader was accepted, that made me very glad). 3 papers must be enough to quiet down the "publish or perish" voice.

I look forward to implementing again. So i have already made an application for residency in Code Land. I need to find out more about specifications for different codebases for text based virtual worlds. Hope to get advice from the mud dev list about what code base is best for someone who likes modularised systems with interfaces that are described in detail. Something that would be quick to get started with if one is used to c++ or java. But i havent asked yet. Ill take my module which talks to the NEL engine and adapt it. Will be quicker to test. No graphic pipeline to worry about. Then i can snap back again. Oh yes, easy. Right. We'll see.

Im off to Stockholm tonight, ill sit there without broadband and write another paper. I'm bringing a Zelda and a Broken Sword for my GBA, so ill have some company. And book stores! oh yes! The wonders of a capital. Im hungering for good sci fi and modesty blaise albums.