Monday, June 29, 2015

Authenticity, Normal, and Gamer Girls - Which One of These Words is a Unicorn?

It doesn't happen too often, considering my group of friends, but every once in a while something like this picture pops up on my Facebook feed. I generally ignore these posts because I know they don't pertain to me personally. I know this for reasons I won't list here because 1. I feel no need to justify myself and to do so would undermine what I will be discussing after the jump and 2. if you are reading this you probably know me, but if you don't you can find a link to my homepage to the right. 

Now maybe that all sounded a little cocky, probably because it is. I am very confident in my identity. For many years I have strolled through life without being directly questioned on this. Yes, I get the same initial "kid gloves" when some new guy meets me, and I once had a very awkward moment when a girlfriend-who-got-dragged-along tried to make an ice-breaking joke, but these types of behavior never last long. Besides, I don't expect strangers to know anything about me when I'm not actively cosplaying. That would be unfair.

Of course this was too good to be true. I am splashed all over the intertubes just enough that someday someone was going to say something ignorant about me. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Shared Experiences in Gaming - Getting to Know Others while Roleplaying

This post was triggered by an interesting post to my Pathfinder game group. Although this question was not asked within the conversation - I'm the only anthro nerd after all - my brain jumped to all the theoretical implications about what had triggered the conversation. The question is: How do shared experiences in role playing differ from shared experiences when playing oneself in regards to getting to know others and social bonding?
Screenshot of my game group, Ladies, Lairs, and Lager, by Erik Landru

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Geek Class Cometh!

After months of work and waiting it is finally here - The Geek Class! Continue past the jump to find out why I am so excited and for a copy of the syllabus.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Higher Education in America: Or Why I Love it When My Students Surprise Me

I love higher education (go figure) but I do still have some problems with it. My love affair with higher education is based on my love of learning. This is also my root problem with higher ed - for most, it has become about getting a job and not about learning... Or so I had assumed.

I got this impression due to the proliferation of employers that now require a degree despite the jobs not needing one, and the seeming focus of universities on career training. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that career training is bad or that no jobs need college, but I feel that learning has taken a backseat to other concerns. I had assumed this was employer/ student driven due to requiring degrees for jobs and the students reacting to this. 

Furthermore, the trend towards universities working on a business model, with students as the customer, I saw as exacerbating this downfall of higher education. Certainly, some students do buy into this bullshit, as when they try to sharply remind my coworkers and I that they pay our salaries, or when they talk about deserving a degree based on how much money they've spent (as opposed to, I don't know, say, how much work they have put towards it).

Of course I knew that not all people see higher education in this way, but nor did I think many held as nostalgic or idealistic view as I hold... And then I did a section on education for my culture class. We were looking at cross cultural perceptions of intelligence and learning. I asked my students how many of them were in college because they wanted a good job. Everyone raised their hand - no surprises there. Then some explanations started to roll in. A few students told me they like learning, but with the cost of school they couldn't afford to go if it wasn't for the hope of a better job. So I asked a follow up question - how many of you would continue in school if money were no object, if you won the lottery or something like that? 

Almost everyone raised their hands. Now this surprised me. Perhaps I've been misreading this quiet group. 

And the class ended with an exercise in the zombie apocalypse.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Food, Sleep, Sex, & Play

Welcome to my latest thought experiment. Play is natural, work is not.

I have decided that play is a natural positive activity for humans and this can be shown in part by comparing it with the other natural positive activities of humans, of which I have come up with four. These four are based on what I can think of as the only things humans want to do and enjoy doing - beyond the fact that they contribute to a healthy life. These four are eating, sleeping, having sex, and playing. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Geek Awkwardness - It's All in the Context

Here are some definitions I found of the word geek from the magically wise Intertubes:

"part of what makes someone a geek/nerd is having poor social skills..."*

"It's kind of the defining characteristic - being into a particular thing to the exclusion of social intercourse."*

"a peculiar or otherwise dislikable person, especially one who is perceived to be overly intellectual."**

"The people you pick on in high school and wind up working for as an adult"***

The cliche of the socially awkward gamer is well known and old by now. In my own experiences with geeks (which is quite a bit) some of the stereotypes are truer than others for some people and not so for others. In my experiences with "normal" people or non-geeks, however, it is the same. Some people are just socially awkward and others are not. Is there a higher proportion of this phenomenon with geeks? Maybe, but maybe not. The issue is really about context.