Geek Life Recap

The last couple months have been pretty full.  I finished up the school year, and as I was a co-advisor to the graduating class, I had a great deal of things to help plan and implement.  I’ve also been planning and implementing my wedding, which is in two and a half weeks.  We’re working on the details of getting me moved into Bard’s house, along with our three furbabies.

I also went to PortCon Maine, a 2,000-ish attended con in southern Maine at the end of June.  I presented on games and mythology: how games use old myths, and also create new ones.  It was really interesting to put together.  I got the idea from the mythology class I taught second semester.  I was fortunate to have many gamers in my class, all of whom began talking about how they saw their favorite games utilize elements of mythology.  Some inherited existing creatures and deities, while others used the tenets of mythology to create something new and original.  It was my first time going to PortCon, and hence also my first time presenting there.  I had some technical difficulties; for one, I made a Prezi, rather than the usual PowerPoint.  I’d seen Prezi in action at a PAX East presentation, and thought it would be more technological and visually appealing than PowerPoint.  Well, it is if you can access your Prezi on the internet, which I couldn’t do.  We were going to have our friend set up his phone as a hotspot, and then I found the Prezi app on my iPhone and presented from my iPhone.  It was not idea, but it did in a pinch.  And the crowd was pretty wonderful, adding a lot to the discussion that I will be able to file away and use in next year’s classes.

My bridal shower went very well, and I did a meadery tour and tasting for my bachelorette party.  There was also dinner, karaoke, and Cards Against Humanity!

This weekend coming up, I head down to Burlington, Massachusetts for ReaderCon.  ReaderCon has fast become one of my favorite points in the year.  It’s not quite up there with PAX East, but I definitely look forward to it.  It’s low-key in that there are no costumes, and the dealer’s floor is all books.  But it’s very intellectual, and I love going to panels and getting more insight into speculative fiction.  Last year I went to one about Frankenstein, and one about language acquisition and reading and how it affects the teaching and appreciation of speculative fiction.  This year’s schedule is looking very promising, and what’s more, Eden Paradox, my best friend, is joining this year!

In between these things I’ve been bringing my things over to Bard’s as we get things sorted for my move.  This week I’ll be doing some work to help prepare things for our new home together.  When I can’t do things there, I’m packing here, and when I can’t pack, I’m usually gaming.  I’m working on achievements in Skyrim, my AU Dragon Age fanfic, and browsing courses on coursera.org.  I took a class on gamification through them, and it’s going to really help my teaching strategies.  I did some experimentation at the end of last year, and while I didn’t collect hard data, I noticed a great improvement in achieving target behaviors from even my toughest students!  The next class I’m taking through there is about MMOs as a new form of narrative, and my homework is playing Lord of the Rings Online.  Ouch, not sure I can handle that! 😉

That’s the geek life recap for now… while I hang out I should blog more about more things.  Maybe some more about gamification, or what Eden Paradox calls “geek fallacies” in friend circles.  Or any requests.  So… any requests?  Put it in the comments, and prepare for a cynical response!

My Love/Hate Relationship with “Frankenstein”

I came to a literary epiphany yesterday.  I’m attending this year’s Readercon, which deals with science fiction and fantasy.  There are panels and discussions about the genre, looking at it from an academic and analytical perspective.  Now I love literature and particularly love analyzing it and seeing why it works the way it does.  It’s one of the reasons I love being an English teacher, and would love to be a professor someday.  In a sense, Readercon feels like a weekend of classes just on the literature I love.  Yesterday I went to a panel about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.  I’ve spent the last fifteen years of my life in a love/hate relationship with the novel.

I love the book; the story is interesting, the structure of the frame narrative is well-done, and the themes and motifs are timeless.  Shelley’s discussion of pushing scientific boundaries and the ethical issues that then arise are as pertinent today as they were in 1818, if not more so.  But I realized a few years back that I hate the characters with a fiery, burning passion.  This dichotomy of feeling doesn’t confuse or trouble me at all; I find it really interesting and a tad amusing that I can love a story so much, but hate its characters equally much.  I usually tend toward stories (in books, games, and movies alike) that are driven by characters.  Most of the characters who drive stories, I find I like.  But Frankenstein is driven by characters whom I intensely and profoundly dislike, which is why I think I enjoy the story so much.

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