Category: Blog

Bye, Twitter

Welp, looks like the apartheid emerald heir is going to buy Twitter. I’ve barely been on it in the past few years and ever since I stopped tweeting positive things about the “games for education” movement, I’ve lost a lot of followers on my personal account. Quitting it for good will be easy for me.

But, what’s next? Mastodon? Going back to blogging all the time here — on a site no one visits? Diving into the (also dying) Zuckverse with more aplomb? Segmenting ourselves off into small Mastodon instances, private Discords/Slacks? Making IRC a thing again? Ooh, reviving USENET maybe?

I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m fairly eager to find out. I have been so bored with social media for so long, and yet I miss the glory days of the proto-social media of two decades ago. I want a Friendster-like site back. I want to blog again, and have a usable RSS reader (RIP Google Reader, many years on). Musk buying Twitter is a net bad in every possible way, but personally I hope it’s finally the push that gets me to give up Twitter for good.

I’m old, and as such, I yearn for those powerful internet experiences of my youth. My internet experiences from 1985-2005 were qualitatively different from the experiences after that, and while it’s certainly naïve to say it quite like this: I wish we could get back to simpler times.

It’s Been A While…

Okay, I guess I forgot to blog for half a year. Again.

It’s amazing how much teaching three courses a term plus taking care of two small children during a never-ending lockdown eats into your time to write very long blog posts about the things you’re into. So, I’ll keep this one short, just as a way to kick off what will hopefully be a much less verbose and much sloppier regular blogging practice.

Since I last posted, I have:

• Become enamored with Netrunner yet again, and then fell out of love with it yet again. It’s still a beautiful game, but one that I’m finding myself uncomfortable playing with the current community, so I think my days with it are finally largely over. I still have a paper or two on it I might get out in the next year or so, but otherwise, I think I’m moving on to other interests…

• Continued participating in a weekly “goth club” with strangers over the Shudder Discord, watching countless old and new gothic horror movies, ranging from — The Long Hair of Death to The Voice from the Stone to The Whip and the Body to Tales of Terror to Viy. If you would have told me a year ago that I’d have watched dozens of 1960s, predominantly Italian, horror movies, I’d be pleasantly surprised and proud of myself.

• Started rethinking my teaching accordingly — I’m offering a new version of my comics course in the fall, this time focusing on “Monsters.” Trying something different with it this time — looking at horror and “monsters” as a through-line that has permeated comics history from its earliest days to, well, just this year. I’ve also decided to break off any superheroic content from that course and put it into its own, industry-focused “Superhero Media” course, which I’m also going to teach in the fall. I’m having a lot of fun thinking about these classes and how they’ll evolve — the Superhero class in particular will be my first time teaching something film-adjacent, as well as something that focuses heavily on media industries. Should be fun, I hope!

• I’ve found myself wholly uninterested in teaching about games in the ways I have in the past, and am ramping down my existing games-centric courses, with a few exceptions. While I’m finding I don’t have as much interest in teaching about commercial digital games as I once did, I’ve been having an absolute blast teaching my Interactive Storytelling course this year, and having students creatively engage with these media and stories they’re interested in telling with them. I’ve upped the RPG and “story game” content in that class, and I think to good effect — I’m now flirting with the idea of teaching a course entirely on the rise of non-digital games as a focus for media studies (using the Analog Game Studies journal and Paul Booth’s new Board Games as Media book as central readings). I’m rethinking my games instruction in the next academic year, and hope to have a few new, more exciting courses on the slate.

So, y’know, the usual. Lots about games and media in my life, much of it crossing over into my teaching. I’m fully vaccinated now and have been venturing out into the wilds of town a little more with the kids, but other than that, I’m content to stay in my little hole full of comics, books, Blu-Rays, and board games for a while longer.

Why don’t we blog anymore?


Good question. I think we know what’s replaced blogging — 95% social media, 3% Medium, 2% newsletters. And yes, yes, RSS being killed by Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, Facebook, Twitter, etc. was the technical death knell of blogging. But blogging software is… still here, installed all over the place. And there’s nothing stopping me from using WordPress for its original intent; I’ve had this domain and WordPress installed on it for about 15 years, even though I haven’t blogged for about a decade.

During the ongoing pandemic, watching the USA slide deeper into fascism, and all the resultant social unrest, I’ve found myself getting pretty exhausted by social media. I can’t handle the doomscrolling, the incessant need to post pictures of my kids, the nonstop “hot takes,” and the constant shaving of new memes off of the endlessly rotating döner kebab of Twitter.

For the sake of my sanity, I backed away from social media. I’m just not going to do that bullshit anymore. But, I’m replacing them with two things — a Discord to chat with like-minded folks (post a comment if you’d like an invite) and a new blog! Or is it an old blog? I don’t know anymore, but this is it.

Long ago in internet time, blogs were really fun, loose, and easy. My very first blog from almost two decades ago is somehow still up!? Blogs weren’t about a writer trying to get a book deal, they weren’t about trying to improve one’s academic standing or (god forbid) become “an influencer.” To my eyes, they were just ways to connect with others and to find a way to share one’s self with the world (or at least that’s what it was about to me). Blogs were mixtures of public/personal journals, solipsistic spaces to bash out silly ideas, and opportunities to rant on something that bugged you without breaking them up into 140- or 280-tweet threads.

I miss the world that gave rise to these things, and even if it’ll just be me posting into the void for a while, I’m going to try to start blogging again. I will write about my academic interests occasionally, but I’ll largely be putting down my thoughts about whatever I feel like — this may end up being longer-form writing at times and newslettery style lists of links at other times. I dunno! I hope it’ll be fun?

I might post about a game I’m playing, or why I’m obsessed with a particular kind of fiction, what I think about the dumpster fire that is American politics, or maybe just a series of recipes for soups. To start, I’ll be writing about the things that have come across my mind while in perpetual lockdown: Role-playing games of various sorts; Netrunner and Arkham Horror living card games; my sudden obsession with the Gothic horror revival of the 1960s; the comics of the (sadly late) Richard Sala; my reread of the Sherlock Holmes Canon and my dive into online Sherlockiana; the joys of slowly watching The Rockford Files; my new, weird interest in old, weird pulp magazines; why What We Do in the Shadows is the only tolerable TV comedy right now; trying to make new comics, inspired by Edward Gorey, Eddie Campbell, and Julia Gfrörer; my expectations and fears for Denis Villeneuve’s Dune; my conflicted feelings about being an Alamo Drafthouse fanboy given the awful revelations about it as a workplace; cooking shows, the Bon Appétit YouTube channel, and why YouTube instructional cooking video drama still holds an appeal for me as an aging adult; and, well, other stuff I’m sure.

In sum, there’s no real theme here other than writing about whatever I’m into at the moment. While I’ll restructure the site to keep my professional info on here in some fashion, it’s time to bring WordPress back from the dead — away from the cold, static death of a “professional website” and into something a little more sloppy, genuine, and me.

I’ll start by doing just that tomorrow — I’ll begin by discussing some games I’ve been interested in lately, and how they’re both reflective of what I love about game design, what I dislike about writing, and how fiction is useful for coping during trying times. I hope you’ll come back and read it!

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