on boundaries, fieldwork, and tags in letters
It is sunday and I am at home. That means going online is only possible on 56k—a slight difference to the 100Mbit/s at the office; I shy away from going online so slow and am working offline. Working means reviewing and sorting the fieldnotes, -downloads, and logs of the last days into their appropriate daily folders. Apart from this I try to finish the begun weblog-entries, and try to bring them into an online-publishable format. By format I do not mean technicalities like inserting html-tags, but the texts themselves. Writing for immediate publication, and being conscious of that, is quite different from writing inside the considerable security and privacy of your HDD. ↑Alex Golub ↑recently wrote that over time he learned where to draw the boundaries, and that he now is quite embarrassed by the privacy of many of his own early blog-entries. That means that, not surprisingly, blog-entry-writing-know-how follows experience. Well, with the ↑ethno::log I already have more than two years blogging-experience, but with xirdalium it seems to be another story again. From all the people I know face-to-face ↑KerLeone has by far the longest experience in blogging. And he indeed has a strategy for maintaining boundaries. But his strategy is hilarious, completely crazy, customized to the max, therefore uncopyable, and in itself too private to tell here.
Today I remembered my two articles on the first Matrix-movie which were published in ↑Magische Welt-magazine (print, in German). I really should translate them and publish them here, as they are connected to maxmod in certain ways. This led me to the question if, by publishing all the stuff of that kind here, in the end the reader knows more about me and my way of thinking and feeling about gamemodding, and less about the gamemodders’ culture. On the other hand you have to know about my imagination of gamemodding, in order to be able to evaluate my interpretation of modding-culture.
Again an old problem of anthropology, already discussed many times. The latter in turn confirms that with my attempt of ‘transposing sociocultural anthropology’s methods into the cyberfield’ I am on a not-too-wrong path.
Speaking of transpositions, and earlier of boundaries which sometimes have something to do with enculturation and maybe going-native: Last week in the office I had to write some formal letter. So I fired up a word-processor (StarOffice Write in my case), and started typing. On the screen I reread what I had written and was satisfied; hitting ‘print’, taking the sheet from the printer. Not before reading the hardcopy-version of the letter I noticed that I had used—obviously out of habit—html-tags throughout the letter, break- and italics-tags mostly. What amazes me is that I didn’t recognize this when rereading the letter on the screen.
Once upon a time jim broke into IRC and greeted us all with the words: “Last night I crossed the line-of-no-return to absolute geekdom.” jim, I am here now, too.
Being there sometimes one can’t resist to wander astray, although one still believes to be very well on topic. The core of my project is the culture of gamemodding, respectively the culture of the modders—in my view a sound anthropological topic. But today it struck me, that a lot of my reading and recherche clearly falls into the domain of gamestudies. A twig to be cut off? On the other hand, in one way or another, everything I dig up in this respect somehow is related to the project’s core. *sigh* The Hermetics of old have been right: Everything is connected with everything (that’s why Dirk Gentry always found his way). Especially when doing anthropology, and still harbouring a holistic stance.
Then there was the usual wandering astray in the web’s vast valleys. E.g. I found out that the girl “↑Alice” on the posters plastered all over the city is 17-year old (which I can hardly believe) italo-american supermodel ↑Vanessa Hessler. Temptations to resist—the time-eating wandering astray, I mean. In some entries at random blogs it is stated that Ms Hessler is of ‘mediocre attractivity’. Which lets me wonder about the looks of those bloggers. Sometimes one can’t resist to fall back on nerd-clichés.