Thursday, February 28, 2002

I just received a copy of Anita Hammer's PhD thesis: Weaving Plots: Frames of theatre and ritual in simultaneous interactive digital communication. It's there on my desk, a solid reminder of the fact that I, too, will soon have to finish. I tried to imagine life beyond the defense today. I couldn't. Too much of what I used to like doing have been on hold too long waiting for me to finish, I hardly remember them.

I'll read Anita's work, and while I do, I'll try to remember that there is a life after the defense, also because I remember how she looked after having finished: happy, energetic, relaxed and full of the laughter so characteristic of her. Thank you, Anita.
True Story Time, inspired by francis and the comments to his Wednesday post:

You should be fullfilled as women...

The Setting: Cafe Opera in Bergen, a major University City in Norway.
The Cast: Me-the-student, Rebecca-the-student and two middle-aged men in expensive suits and coats; the surgeon and the lawyer.

Rebecca and I had left our men to look after our kids and gone out, to spend an evening drinking, looking at people and chatting. We had a table in a crowded cafe, and took turns fetching and paying for each other's drinks. I had just fetched Rebecca a beer and a glass of wine for myself, as two well-dressed men politely asked if they could please have a seat. We didn't mind, as the place was crowded and we expected a question like that sooner rather than later.

The men introduced themselves, and started chatting. We soon learned that we had a surgeon and a lawyer at our table, they had been friends since childhood, the surgeon was recently divorced and the lawyer happily married. We also learned that the laywer had obviously been the butt of the surgeon's jokes since childhood, as we were constantly being entertained with stories of how stupid the lawyer had been at a number of occasions 15-20 years ago, and we learned that the surgeon wasn't just that, but he had also specialised in psyciatry.

After the second beer, the surgeon started entertaining us with a story of having seen two women make out in an other bar. Rebecca shrugged, asked him what was so special about that, and then she went and fetched me a glass of wine and an other beer for herself. As she returned, the surgeons told us that since he had specialised in psyciatry, he understood why women would like other women. We were both very casual in our responses to that. We did however perk up when he told us that since he was also a psyciatrist, we could safely admit to him that we were lesbians and lovers.

By now the lawyer was desperately trying to change the subject. Rebecca and I though, were really getting interested. We denied his assumptions of course, but we had to admit that yes, we did live in a nice place, which had been given an architect award (aren't all homosexuals in urban myth obsessed with aesthetics?), we did have some areas in common yes, well, we did see quite a lot of each other, well, occasionally we might have breakfast together, when we had the time...

The surgeon was drooling. While his mind ran a loop where he saw me and Rebecca having hot lesbian sex in an elegant apartment where the only thing lacking was a real MAN, he argued that without men, we wouldn't know what it's like to be women. We wouldn't truly understand the purpose of womanhood unless we gave birth. We would never be fullfilled without the experience of being sated by a real MAN.

Rebecca and I were having the best night out in a long time by now. The lawyer had given up, and just sat there listening. He looked like he was enjoying this as much we did, fighting to stay serious with every little piece of information we fed to the over-active mind of the surgeon. This was when Rebecca decided that the surgeon deserved to learn the truth.

"Listen" she said, "you really deserve to learn the full extent of our relationship. I have two children and a male partner. Torill here is married and has two children. We live in student housing for students with children, the entire complex got an architect award in 1969. The area we have in common is the garden where the children play. We have breakfast together as often as we have time for it, the company at the table normally including at least four children, occasionally more, as well as several more adults."

The surgeon stared at us. The lawyer started laughing. The surgeon got up and went to the toilet. The lawyer laughed and laughed, unable to speak. The surgeon returned, took his coat and told his friend they were leaving. The lawyer shook our hands, gave us both his business card, told us to get in touch if we might need him for anything sometime, and thanked us for the most fun evening out he had ever had.

So far, that's the extent of my experience as an out-of-the-closet lesbian. I enjoyed it though!
jill/txt: archives of february 2002
Jill, I did a study which is somewhat in the same vein once: texual hierarchies - seeing how certain expressions would be repeated in certain documents in the process of tracing power-structures between local newspapers/public administration/local politics. I'll see if I can locate the report - should be here somewhere, it's one of the things I add to that box of publications when I try to convince others that I am a serious scholar...

Here's the reference:
1995: Torill Mortensen, Johann Roppen, Anne Karin Ødegård: Lokalpolitikk og media. Ein for-studie av media sin betydning for lokalpolitikken, Arbeidsrapport nr 8, Høgskulen i Volda og Møreforsking i Volda (Local Politics and Media: a pilot study for developing research design on the subject of the role of media in local politics.)

Monday, February 25, 2002

Young people really want to enter the media studies at Volda College. And I mean really. I mean the kind of want that's like an obsession, feeling that their lives will be ruined if they don't meet our very high demands for entrance.

What spurred this post was that I was just interrupted by a mother who called to ask about what books her daughter should refer to, writing a high-school paper on children and advertising. She wanted me to find the books in question, copy the relevant pages and fax them home to the girl, because the girl has to write her paper this afternoon. She felt I should be interested in this, because her daughter really wants to meet the demands for studying at our department in Volda.

I am not sure yet if I am offended (What do they think I am, their personal secretary?) or flattered that people think a lecturer at a College would have such perfect control of everything in the body of academic literature that I can just reach out and grab the nearest book (which of course is always on my bookshelf) and then generously spread my knowledge to the world.

What I did was almost as much fun as having such perfect control. I reached out and typed "children youths advertising" into google, hit search, and had page on page of good hits. At least hits good enough to satisfy most high-school teachers. Why did I spend even that much time on a request like this? Norway is a small country, there are places here with no libraries and no bookshops, where young people grow up without the option which my daughter has of using the generous, spacious and modern library of our college doing research for her homework.

But youths in the far corners of Norway have access to the net. Teaching them and particularly their parents to use the net as a way to search for information is a small thing to do for the pay-check I am picking up.
Blogging: Tune Out and Switch On
"The only asset we all own and value is time."
One of the real questions on chat-groups is how to determine if the other person is real, if he or she is your friend, if they care. The only way to answer at least some of these questions is looking at how people spend their time. Time is the real commodity. since the industrial revolution, time has been limited: there's no longer a cyclic time: the time for harvest will no longer return - time spent is time lost. And time spent online makes a real life impact, an online or "Virtual Time" friendship means some human being, at the other end of that computer, spends real time on you.

Saturday, February 23, 2002

This morning I spent pretending to be asleep, while there was hectic activity in the kitchen. It's an old tradition, dating back to when we would get up really early to give the birthday child a treat before the day started. These days it's more rough on the birthday child - so I snuck out of bed unauthorised, and tried to get past the kitchen and to the bathroom undetected. The door to the kitchen slammed while I was busy, and I hurried straight back to bed, aknowledging the role by mimicking the illusion of sleep.

When I think about it, we are developing traditions. The kids don't need cakes and big parties on their birthdays (as long as they get to have them in the week-end), but nobody gets out of the breakfast in bed, no matter how old we are getting. And it was my turn today.

What did I get? My favourite gift was a DVD with War of the Worlds and a tin box of elegant chocolats, carried home from Berlin by my husband (I have this thing about tin boxes - there's a shelf full of them in the basement). Tomorrow, I am eating chocolate and watching sci-fi movies. Tonight I get the second present I wanted from the kids: they'll submit to going to the theatre with us, and be polite and quiet through a play by Jon Fosse, a modern Norwegian dramatist, supposedly the new Ibsen. (Yes, we do get visits by a travelling theatre even in this far corner of civilisation. It's Riksteateret.)

Friday, February 22, 2002

Today's topic with Lisbeth and Tinka.

Lisbeth is looking at the evolving clusters and trying to find a pattern, while Tinka points out that there are far more clusters than Lisbeth identifies, and that they are formed less by interest or plan and more by chance.

Personally I am somewhere in between.
1) the longer you blog, the greater is your chance of being found by others and added to their "to read" lists, and the more "clusters" do you appear to be part of - the chance of being blogged increases.

2) depending on what you work with, you will make searches which gives you hits within your own topic, and the people you find and link to this way will find you when they search for something useful - and suddenly you're mutually blogging each other and defined "friends" by definition of the social mapping software being developed for blogs.

3) There will be social networks - such as Jill, Hilde, Elin, who are friends from Bergen, but with Elin in Boston at the moment.

4) There will be "wannabees", people who link to those they consider to be on some A-list, and try to appear to be in a cluster.

Is there a problem with any of these? I am normally the one pulling conspiracy theories out of my muddy social sciences past, but here I don't see anything but quite interesting and natural rhizomic growth.
Sometimes I am almost tempted to click some of those insane spam-mails, just to see what happened. Such as this one:

It goes on to tell me that there may be charges filed against me, and that my spouse might find out about the adult content of the files on my computer and my email-box. But they can save me. If I just click the link below, I need not suffer this social expulsion.

What if I clicked the link? What would I give them? Would I start downloading a worm that ate all my files? Would I admit to my bad conscience and be registered in a file of people who use porn? Would I invite a Trojan Horse and give over the power of my computer to others? Would I be sold a 12-step program to get out of my self-admitted porn addiction?

I hate spam, and delete it as quickly as possible, but sometimes, just sometimes, I find myself wondering, with an odd, sick little thrill.... what if.

jazz history @ a great day in harlem : art kane photos and more!
by way of Tinka blogsitting Two Years in Denmark, a link I want to know where to find: a picture used as a portal to Jazz History.

Thursday, February 21, 2002

Blah, Blah, Blah and Blog
An other attempt at finding out what's good an bad in/about blogging - an article by Farhad Manjoo in Wired.

Wednesday, February 20, 2002

: : : VoldaCam : : :
Volda - every day. Sunny and snowy today.
Self-cencorship and authorial power
Technology Review - Blog This
Henry Jenkins has had the word "cockroach" removed from his article on blogging, and according to Elin he claims it was put in there by an editor:

The one thing that bums me is that many of them seem to have picked up on the short summary of the essay, written by an unsympathetic editor, who refers to bloggers as "cockroaches" rather than reading the essay itself, which is much much more supportive.

This is very interesting. Henry Jenkins has exercised the power to edit the article after it has been published, which the net gives him. Rather than having to pull in 5000 copies, he can have the editor in question (who has most likely been told what Jenkins feels about editors taking liberties with his writing, a classic struggle of authorial and editorial power) wipe every trace of the offending cockroaches - digital pest-control in a miniature way.

Now it looks like the insects only existed in our imagination. This creates a neat little dilemma for Jill and me. Since we used the text as it was originally published in our article, some of the edge of the quote is gone, and we might even be accused of misquoting Henry Jenkins, who has attempted to change history. He has changed the column in which he writes this: "Once this column appears, my authorial control ends and theirs begins. As these words move through various contexts, they assume new associations and face direct challenges, but they also gain broader circulation."

Henry Jenkins works very hard at keeping authorial control beyond the appearance of the column. The problem is that he wants to do so in a medium which is supposed to be reliable. A weblog is fluid, changing, active - an online journal or magazine is supposed to be reliable and retain the constant nature of print in the fluid medium of pixels. I do what Henry Jenkins did several times a day, it's the nature of blogging that it's easy to modify the text. Or perhaps not...

Monday, February 18, 2002

Reviews, Blogdex, Bloggies, Anti-Bloggies - the rant of Peter at Naked Blog is self-censored, in the best traditions of the free press, but he didn't manage to do that before I had started to think about quality, popularity and ambition.

I have never installed a hit-counter on this blog. I don't have comments here. This blog doesn't stick at blogdex, probably the bug Cameron Marlow discovered when he tried to see if his own blog made blogdex and found that it didn't. I didn't know until recently what the A-list was, so it doesn't bother me that it's impossible to get on the A-list for those of us not born to it. I don't know if these measures of popularity makes my writing better or worse. What I keep thinking of is that all these ways of measuring and displaying popularity (I am not talking quality, the aesthetics of blogging are at the moment way behind the documentation of the social capital to be gained by blogging) is a new expression of the net as a social arena. It's the domain of the amateurs, the lovers of silly buttons and fancy graphics, the fans of romantic short stories and sticker long stories, the hunters and gatherers of erotic and not so erotic descriptions of a fanciful selection of sexual positions.

Is this a bad thing? Why should it be? The net is about to become something other than the playground of academics and a gallery of nerdiness and cultural arrogance. I still don't have to adapt to more than what I like to, even if I might be a fairly early adaptor at the areas I am interested in.
They didn't think there would be room for me. I was the donkey and the pregnant woman in one, carrying the weight of the paper about to be delivered, and I was the father who was not, searching for a small space where I could finish my labour. From door to door I walked, tiredly, until several key-holders agreed to let me in - not into the humble room I asked for, certainly not to a private office, but up a stair, around a corner, into the almost forgotten laboratory, still not certain this would be an acceptable place.

Trembling with exhaustion, I sank down, unloaded the weight of my luggage and supported myself as deliverance approached.

Problem is - this empty lab which they had all forgotten about has 20 live computers and not a single user, and I just can't decide where I want to sit and write. Do I want a view? Do I want to be able to see the door? Do I want to avoid the cool draft from the window? Imagine the choices reduced to one manger and a pile of straw - so much easier than having to actually make up my mind.

Sunday, February 17, 2002

Just done with the article. We are so good! Jill and I - such a team! Just wait, world...

OK, that was the release of all that energy we have been building up to be able to finish a week late.

Friday, February 15, 2002

naked blog blogger googles celebrities
And just to see if getting my name on his site would give me my name with naked after it on his blog I tried "torill naked".

It does turn up, but not until the second page and there are a lot more tempting naked torills before that, most of whom are not me nor blogged by people who also link to me.
Change of the guard tonight: My husband comes home from Berlin where he's been with his students, I am packing to go to Bergen early tomorrow morning to finish the Article on blogging with Jill.

It's amusing, I noticed it again Monday when I took Jill to the tiny airport of Ørsta-Volda called Hovden where Widerøe lands a few times a day: Business travellers are men. Very often, I and the flight-attendant are the only women in the dash-8. Normally earns me a special smile and an extra piece of chocolate when the weather is calm enough for her to serve tea or coffee though.

In other companies this has caused more concern. Jill told me that her mother stopped using what for a while was called "Braathen's best", an attempt at introducing first/second class to domestic flights. It failed miserably, and made women like Jill's mother very upset, because first, her ticket would be checked over and over again by flight-attendants who assumed she was in the wrong seat, and second there would often be 20 men in Braathen's best and one woman all on her own in Braathen's back - and this woman would get no attention, no coffe, nothing. The divide was supposed to be based on the ability to pay, but it visualised what's actually fairly well hidden in Norwegian society: that men are still the privileged gender economically.

This being super-social-democratic-welfare-equality Norway we couldn't abide such a clear reminder of the real state of affairs, so Braathen's best and back is no longer. The women may sit where they like and will be served the same as the men, without having to prove that their money is as good as that of men.

Thursday, February 14, 2002

Norsk medieforskerlag : : Norsk medietidsskrift
Norwegian group of Media Researchers - Norwegian Media Journal Mileage Giveaway
Do you have a good plan for how to spend some frequent flyer miles? Let Justin Hall know before the end of February!
Granddad in the Boondocks discovers Grand Theft Auto III. Several days of stripes giving a delightful little commentary on video games and responsible parenting.

"You always have to challenge the social norms, don't you?"
Nicked from The Six Chix series occasionally has really good points. I haven't seen it in print in Norway yet.
Hate Speech
"Radio is the only serious soap box the racists have. Our advertisers are aware that hate sells their products."
Sometimes I get this urge for literary greatness. Problem is - the words which are good - perhaps even really good - don't accompany that urge. But I know what the work I want to create looks like.

1) It's fantasy. I love fantasy, because you can play around with everything and make subtle or obvious comments on society, the universe and your childhood without having to be a "serious" writer with all the duties of political corectness/controversy that entails.

2) It's written: no pictures, no movies, no music. I love the written word. I love to wrap up in a warm woolen blanket, stretch out on the couch and be lost in a new book. I am waiting for a package from Amazon as I write, Oh, such delightful anticipation.

3) It's a book on paper. And it's a game. And it's a hypertext. This is where I get problems. My many loves don't overlap. I can't snuggle and play a computer game at the same time. I can't take a hypertext with me in the bath-tub or use it on an airplane. I want the ease and accessability of the book, the complexity of a text with layers and paths such as I can have with the computer - the distractions, the detours, I love to be able to choose that. Last, but not least I want the game, I want to be able to have different experiences in the same fictitous universe, I want to win or lose, I want to feel that I take part in - not the story, but the fiction.

I don't think I can ever create this perfect work of writing. My skills of writing fiction have been neglected, the poems were never published (I did send them to a publisher and did get good feed-back - they were even talking of publishing them, but I finished at the University, got a job and supported my family instead of reworking and returning them. Yes, I chose bread over poetry, and I rarely regret it.) and academic writing quietly pushed the adventures out of my life. Still, at times, I re-encounter the feeling of delight when words fall into place, stack themselves up neatly and express exactly what I want, and then some.

Wednesday, February 13, 2002

jill/txt: archives of february 2002
Jill is worried about what to do when she's finished, her future salary and a chance at a job. What she describes is a very real situation in Norway. At the same time Norway has very low unemployment, and with the restructuring of the Colleges currently being implemented, the market for Ph.D.'s will increase immensely. However, she may have to leave Bergen, for some place like the "throbbing methropol" of Volda.

Hmmm - when are you done? I'll start including a position for you in the long-term plans of the department...
Pierre Bourdieu: Distinction, A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste:
The contradictions or paradoxes to which ordinary language classifications lead do not derive, as all forms of positivism suppose, from some essential inadequacy of ordinary language, but from the fact that these socio-logical acts are not directed towards the pursuit of logical coherence and that, unlike philological, logical or linguistic use of language - which ought really to be called scholastic, since they all presuppose schole, i.e, leisure, distance from urgency and necessity, the absence of vital stakes, and the scholastic institution which in most social universes is the only institution capable of providing all these - they obey the logic of the parti pris...... (page 476)

A scholar is a person with leisure? Then I am a Lady of Leisure - I can live with that.

Tuesday, February 12, 2002

Proof that games are definitely a mainstream medium: Even my colleagues start thinking that games might be useful - and that they can ask me about them. I have just spent the afternoon explaining that it's better to have a small, fun game than a big, bad game - and it's cheaper. So now I have been honoured with the task of finding sites where I can find examples of different types of games and game-engines. Luckily I don't have to understand the details, I just have to find the sample pages. Oh, well, Google here I .com....
naked blog
Wish I knew if the caption line of this blog was changed this week: "More Energetic than Enron! More lively than Princess Margaret!!. Looks likely though...
By way of Laurel, a link to Anna Pickard's blog containing a story that made me feel good - about mothers who protest against nuclear weapons, using tea, cookies and blankets.
hei Lisbeth, The Norwegian version:

Du søkte på kvinnenavnet: Lisbeth Klastrup
Det er 6015 kvinner som har Lisbeth som første fornavn.
Det er 4738 kvinner som har Lisbeth som eneste fornavn.
Det er tre eller færre kvinner som har Lisbeth som første fornavn, og Klastrup som etternavn.
Det er tre eller færre kvinner som har Lisbeth som eneste fornavn, og Klastrup som etternavn.
Det er tre eller færre som har Klastrup som etternavn.

Du søkte på kvinnenavnet: Torill Elvira Mortensen
Det er 6863 kvinner som har Torill som første fornavn.
Det er tre eller færre kvinner som har Torill Elvira som fornavn.
Det er 4 kvinner som har Torill som første fornavn, og Mortensen som etternavn.
Det er tre eller færre kvinner som har Torill Elvira som fornavn, og Mortensen som etternavn.
Det er 3526 som har Mortensen som etternavn.

Interestingly enough: if there are less than three Torill Mortensen or Lisbeth Klastrup, this search-engine will not let you know, it just says: "Three or less with the name...."
Statistikk på folketelling
Want to know statistics of Norwegian families? Grab a Norwegian-English dictionary and visit this site from a national cencus between 1865 and 1900.

Monday, February 11, 2002

Isn't this claim slightly anglo-centric?

(link by way of laurel)
Mother's day (Yes, I know it was yesterday here in Norway)

Grandma: "You never call, you never visit, all the other Red Riding Hoods...."
Little Red Riding Hood: "Where's the wolf when you need it?."
nicked from here
Gonzalo at / Videogame Theory asks where The Sims' clones are.
The most important difference between a first person shooter and something like "the Sims" is in the attention to detail and the resources going into developing it. A fps is just the good old target practice in an other scenery. The Sims are a simulation of a society, where first you have to plan the society, then you have to plan the reactions. then you have to keep developing the game in depth, and then you have to be sufficiently original that you won't be accused to stealing from The Sims. More effort in the development means more danger of something going wrong. In today's economic climate, game-developers don't take that kind of risks.
How to learn Swedish in 1000 difficult lessons - word of the day: min stora kærlek.
Francis can be sweet and sticky anytime he likes, if this is the kind of writing that comes from it.
Monday morning, and Jill's safely on the plane. Working through the week-end, morning-to-night writing and editing, with endless discussions over dinner reminded me why I do this at all. It's not just because I like cooking, the fresh koriander seduced both of us into spending time over the meals instead of getting back to the writing. It's not just because we're both "gamers", game-scholars with a practical and a theoretical approach to games who thoroughly enjoyed having our armies beaten to pulp by my 13-year-old Risk-playing son. It's not just because we didn't want to be outsmarted by the 15-year-old girl who kept reading through the bits and pieces of the article, ask complicated questions and generally had a critical, but constructive view on the ideas being thrown around over the various meals and snacks.

It's because thinking, writing and figuring things out is plain fun.

But don't tell my boss, the pay is bad enough as it is, if she isn't going to start taking advantage of the fact that scholars might like what we do.

Saturday, February 09, 2002

I think it's interesting and a little scary that Jill's visiting... and I still checked her weblog first when I turned on the computer this morning, to see what she's up to. Took me a split second before I remembered that I had just seen her walk into the bathroom in her pyjamas.

Friday, February 08, 2002

By Johnny Bravo

There was angry thunder in his voice
and a lightning fire in his eyes
as he stood and pounded the lecturn,
calling out for all to hear his opinon-
No others were to be heard-
no other could be heard
over the droning ire that consumed him.
And the louder he spoke,
and the longer he ranted,
the less the audiance was likely to hear
as they grew adapted to the venom
that dripped from his tongue.
I would really like to update to and support Pyra - but I work from too many computers with too many different browsers, and a program which restricts my access from different browsers doesn't work for me. I'll do what I always do when I want a new electronic "thing" (duppeditt - Norwegian word of the day - means a thing which doesn't really have a name or any real significance and mostly lies around waiting for the moment in three years time when you really need it), wait and reassure myself that getting it later means I'll get better quality for the same price.

Thursday, February 07, 2002

Pure Capitalism:
BlackSnow Interactive (BSI) is a group of individuals that play, buy, and sell in various Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG). Growing from only one person nearly two years ago, to seven full-time people, this group has successfully developed a market in which they are able to supply players with gaming currency, items, or characters at competitive prices. Mythic wants BSI to cease all sales immediately.

Pay real money for items which give you nothing but status and entertainment in a make-believe world - The Norwegian law of spiritual works (åndsverksloven) aside... Money is an abstraction, the exchange of one abstraction for an other is pretty close to an economy of exchange of goods. But isn't this the high-point of industrialism? Getting paid for the time it takes to earn items which are nothing but symbols? It makes it clear that the only thing of real vaue is that which we cannot stop, cannot earn, cannot hoard: time.
Very few typical Norwegian names among the most popular names in Norway 2001.

What I was looking for here was an easy rule for foreigners: why Toril/Torild/Torhild/Torill can't be anything but a female name. I made a search for male names ending on -il, to see if I could use the rule that -il comes from -hild and as such must be a female name (Hild was one of the Valkyrie, and the meaning of the name is valkyrie or shield-maiden, warrior woman). The problem is that Arild, Egil, Eskil, Kjetil and Torkil would all be annoyed if I said anything like that. However: you can safely assume that names ending with -ar are male. Reidar, Gunnar, Bjørnar, Runar, Oddvar - they are all names which mean some kind of guardian. Runar = guard of the mystery (Rune+ar).
The Teddy-bear is travelling on. I occasionally drop by to see how it's doing, but linking to it induced familiarity I was not quite prepared for. First the owner of the site tracked my email down, which is OK, I don't mind an email with a comment or two. But subsequently I was on a mailing list, where I was notified of the travels of the teddy-bear. Blogger Pro has the option of getting updates to blogs by email. Somehow that feels intrusive to me and is one option I will not use. Emails are like telephone-calls: not quite that urgent, but the medium I use when I want the attention of an other person (one reason why I am at very few email lists). Bloggs are like radio, or the lunch-room: some place I go or tune in when I want to catch news or gossip at my own leisure.

I still like the travelling teddy bear, and I think it can become a fun little diary - I just feel protective about my mail-box. Oh, and for those out there who might not know: Torill is a name made from the names Tor and Hild. In Nordic languages it would never be mistaken for a male name. I know the English-speaking do so, I have more than once been treated as my own secretary by american men who want to talk to Professor Mortensen. That's why I have my middle name on my business-card; my full name is Torill Elvira Mortensen. And I am female. Definitely.

Wednesday, February 06, 2002

I received two sample pages from a proof-reader. He had been going through my language to see what he'd have to ask for proof-reading my thesis. I think it will be a while before I feel confident about writing in English again. Yes, I need him. No, the price indicated that cleaning up the language in my thesis isn't more work than writing a new one.

Tuesday, February 05, 2002

Tuesday and Wednesday - I'll be in a hotel with the rest of the department, trying to figure out how to adjust a two year study to a three year course without increasing the amount of resources in terms of money, teaching and administration spent on it, but giving the students 20 more credits (vekttall). If it's important, you probably already know my cell-phone number.

Monday, February 04, 2002

PLogger - a typo when looking for blogger... but such a good idea!
BBC News | DOT LIFE | Games by players, for players
Some call it agency. It's a type of power: the power to adjust your own entertainment.
Your Reading
Yes, this looks genuine: an answer open to interpretation, ruthlessly exploiting cliches of popular mythology and steeped in double-talk. Will I ever finish? Remember: you can never step twice into the same river.
The Silicon Valley Tarot

Sea of Cubicles
An expanse of workers' cells touches the horizon in all directions, a parking lot of lost souls. Only the murmur of tapping keys betrays any life. You wander aimlessly, looking for J-347. But there are no numbers or markings anywhere. You are marooned. Loss of direction, inability to move or concentrate, necrosis, dissolution. Reversed: hazard and adversity, a great adventure.

UFD - Do your duty - Demand your rights
I have written about the "quality reform of higher education" in Norway before, but at the time in Norwegian. This is an English summary of the report which comprises the base of the reform. 11 years ago, green out of the University, I created the structure for a two-year study which has proved to be inspirational both for other Colleges and for the people working in it today. Now I have to take it all apart and recreate it - luckily together with experienced and highly competent colleagues this time.. Bittersweet, somehow... The card Death in the tarot-deck: the end of something is also the birth of something new.
Three academic practices
1) Cultural Studies, the Birmingham School (Today: department of Cultural Studies and Sociology). My main inspiration from this area is the eclectic relationship to methodology, and the choice of more than one, and the interest in the commonplace and the non-glamourous.

2) Reader-response theory: I view the user's activity as meaningful, and study how the players relate to the gameand how the game relates to the players. Perhaps decontructivism is of the past, but there are still useful points here for me.

3) Ethnographic studies: This is more about methodology than about theory. but I still need to relate to Ethnography as well as Action Research, to understand the pitfalls in my approach to information-gathering.
Done teaching for a while. Not so bad. I had forgotten all about students. I had forgotten about making them laugh - somehow there's enough of the entertainer in me that I don't mind them giggling at either planned or inadvertent humour. I don't mind them asking me complicated questions - I have been thinking alone or together with people who know my field for so long I really need a refresher course in explaining things clearly. I loved telling them about my own research. After almost six hours of talking about the development of the field of media influence, I could position my own research there, at the end of the last lecture, and tell them that here, this little spot here kind of in between these three academic practices, that's me. Best thing about my job always was students. I am looking forwards to getting back to them.