Monday, 15 June 2015

Carriages at 9.30

Big fluffy ballgowns owned in SL: numerous (good); Pet peacocks owned in SL: 1 (v. pink); RL dress code conundrums: 1 (bad)

In RL have gained university award for TEACHING EXCELLENCE which is obviously v.v. good. Various benefits including RL dosh (no lindens, although perhaps could CONVERT some to lindens) to spend on teaching and learning, which apparently can include swanning off to conferences to work v.v. hard and not do any lazing around AT ALL, ahem. Additionally get given certificate and shake hand of v. important university person on graduation day, plus go to DINNER with other awardees and get to shake hand of v. important university person again.

As is way nowadays all this communicated via email, and in particular emailed invite for dinner has been perplexing somewhat in that there is severe lack of instructions about how to dress, but however fulsome timetable which finishes "Carriages at 9.30".

Now "Carriages at 9.30" conjures up images of laughing Edwardian aristos sweeping out of mansions and saying "Home, James", somewhat in manner of Downton Abbey, or alternatively dramatisations of the complete works of Trollope with flighty young debutantes flicking their fans at their caddish suitors. Does not conjure up visions of senior lecturers earnestly debating merits of constructivist vs. construuctionist pedagogy whilst trying to pick the edible bits out of a dinner supplied by WeAreUniversityCatering.

Is difficult to tell whether the use of "Carriages at 9.30" is: a) Cut and paste hangover from previous invitation to rather more upmarket do for potential donors to university funds; b) Post-modernist sardonic jeu d'esprit, indicating that of course one will be departing on foot or on eco-friendly bicycles; c) indication that one is expected to come in white tie and tails (men) or full blown ball gown inc. tiara (women).

At any rate, as usual, is lot simpler in SL. If one finds oneself inappropriately garbed in SL (e.g. dressed as an elm tree, and it turns out that "smart casual" was in order), then one click and a few blurred glimpses of half-rezzed mesh and there you are changed into what's needful. Also, you can bring a choice of carriages folded up in your inventory, and add ornamental pets for added pezaz.
Therefore decided to exorcise worries about correct RL dress tomorrow at physical world dinner (and, incidently, procrastinate over marking**), by rehearsing in SL.

Thus you see
(1) Arriving at steps of venue - as usual am a little behind everyone else - but being early is SO unfashionable
(2) Adjusting pet peacock before entering the stately pile
(3) A pause in the festivities as we are encouraged to pose on the battlements
(4) Wandering round after dinner; am glad have left own peacock indoors as this one seems a little agressive
(5) Carriages at 9.30: appear to have to drive own carriage, my dear, one simply can't get the staff nowadays.

** marking, or dressing up in a ballgown and driving round in a carriage, no contest really.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Fragmentation; Devastating critique

Disquisitions on scholarly publishing: 1 (dull); Pictures of kittycats: 2 (cute).

Think is time to inject some Seriousness into blog again, so today's meditation is on changes in scholarly publishing. However, scholarly publishing not v. visually appealing, so will also include some pics of kittycats being cute as only kittycats can be.
Am venturing further into readings on autoethnography, and a week or two ago refound useful article called Analytical Ethnography (in folder helpfully labelled "articles"). Having read it and found it good, used, um, scarcely any information literacy skills at all to search on "analytic autoethongraphy" on Google Scholar and discovered article by another pair of autoethnographers in same journal issue as first article. This 2nd article was esentially doing a hatchet job of 1st article, but written in semi fictionalised narrative form i.e. was writing devasting critique in form of autoethnography.
This would have been neat ruse, were it not that 2nd article was:
a) in humourless, stilted prose and
b) framed with some exploitative stuff about watching live footage from a natural disaster and saying how dreadful it made the authors feel.
As side note, have been having serious concerns about whether autoethnography only counts as autoethnography if badly written. Hope not as in that case would immediately be disqualified from doing autoethnography because of sparkling style, ahem.
Anyway, 2nd article caused emotional reaction, as imagine authors wanted, but possibly not the emotions they might have hope to evoke when they put finger to keyboard. In fact can never remember being so incensed by article, and notes in margins had some rude words and lots of exclamation marks.
At this point decided to see whether were any other autoethnographic articles in same issue of journal: and lo, not only were there more articles, but one of then was by author of article A, responding to Article B's response to Article A.
This was all v. jolly and gave reading matter for weeks to come, but was useful evidence of way in which carefully crafted assemblage of interlocking articles (as in fact articles X, Y and Z were also responding to article A) is reduced to whatever you chance to hit on when you google.

Now with many journal issues this is not real problem, as issue basically consists of whatever stuff happens to have turned up at roughly the same time. However, journals do have themed issues and books also have chapters, and in now increasing chance that you stumble across one disconnected part of whole, possibly never realising that there was a whole it was part of.
This is not exactly new observation, but this particular instance made me think how in particular it becomes more difficult to see the links and tensions between different ideas, from people in the same field, particularly if you can't find the connections through citation searching. Finding connections and contradictions for yourself is enjoyable. However, don't always have time to browse at will, and also is particularly difficult if trying to get to grip with a new field.

Response to this has been to buy an actual book on autoethnography, rather than looking at snippets of books on google books, not that the latter is something I would normally do, obviously, absolutely not.

Meanwhile, the kittycats sleep.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Gacha, gacha

Yardsales browsed: 3 (good); Gacha items bought: about 35 (bad)

Madness that is the quarterly Arcade gacha is upon us again. As reminder, gachas are money sinks: will contain supercute selection of items, you throw in your 50 Linden or whatever, and out comes the randomly selected item that you least wanted to own. Arcade is king of gacha events, with all top names in cute stuff designing items to extract lindens from purse.

Is pointless trying to get into Arcade itself in first week or so, so have been browsing yardsales. Yardsales are places where can offload gacha duplicates, or can at least hope that having 18 Apple Fall "side tables with plant" will sound v. appealing to some random shopaholic.
Thus zillions of Zaara's fishermans pants and Dustbunny's vintage towel rolls (the stall with the huge pile of boxes is Dustbunny one), and v. few rare Zaara chill tents or Dustbunny cute houses. Shown in pic is The Pea yardsale, which is at least organised i.e. the plots are in alphabetical order of designer. This is improvement on most of them, where principle is that people hire booths and shove in whatever they like, so e.g. if searching for the Truth hair in Colours, have to go round all the booths with fine tooth (or should that be truth) (well perhaps not) comb.

Most attractive yardsale is at la Venta (or is it Las Ventas? can't be bothered to check) where not only in alphabetical order but display vendor pic showing what all the items are. This is v. useful as since can be seen in 1st pic, above, box containing items generally gives no clue as to what is within.
Will not list all gacha items bought, as would be too embarrassing/tedious, but may be able to see one purchase in 1st pic, viz unicorn companion which is standing beside me.

Is definite vogue for attachable companions, already have wombat, pig, and various other creatures the species of which escapes me, but this is first unicorn. Has leopard patterned skin, which was not something that I though RL mythical unicorns normally had. Was only about 49 Lindens and is cute (it walks when I walk, it gallops when I run etc.)  although is no use when one sits down as simply then have unicorn body parts poking out of the cushions.
2nd pic shows another creature, namely a jackalope, which had completely foregotten about but found in SL pics folder when searched on word "gatcha". Think was meant to be cross between rabbit and red nosed reindeer. Pic was taken Christmas 2012, so likely this rare breed is extinct by now.
Have attracted COMMENTS for last post which is doubtless why have bothered to do another blog post so quickly.  Feel obliged therefore to put some utility into post, namely:
a) link to yardsale list on the Seraphim site:
b) SLURLS for the cat cafes:
- Juicy Cat Cafe (one kittycat):  (this is a rather minamalist cat cafe as only have 25 prims to play with, but have selection of coffees and cute cat themed sofa, as well as the kittycat)
- Eagle rise cat cafe: (one kittycat; she's on the main decking):
- Shore Thing Cafe: (5 kittycats):
- Sakura Cat Cafe, Noyo: (lots of kittycats):
Kittycats spend good deal of time asleep: can try waking them up but do not always respond. If awake they will roll, and run around, chase butterflies etc. Is possible for anyone to pet them and they may possibly come up to you and make personal remarks which are meant to be be cute. All can say was, it wasn't me that programmed them.

The blog of Sheila Yoshikawa on her adventures in Second Life. This may be very thrilling. Or possibly not.