March 31, 2003


Forthcoming Radiohead album hits the net early. Titled "Hail to the Thief" (no cultural critic needed to decipher that one), I give it a 8/10 on the rhody-rad-o-meter. But that's a first impression, as I sit sipping a cup of tea, surfing my rounds, and listening. No holding me to it.

If you need a news link, it follows. Or check the press release, which lists the song titles.

Posted by Jason at 11:45 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 30, 2003

Snow Crash

Yep. You read correctly. Once again, DC is getting sloshed by the white stuff. I'd write more about it but, quite frankly, I'd rather close my blinds, turn up the heat, and pretend that spring break wasn't about to end.

Posted by Jason at 11:55 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 26, 2003

Cyberculture/Cyberpunk Conference

1st Global Conference Visions of Humanity in Cyberculture,
Cyberpunk and Science Fiction
11 to 13 August 2003, Prague, Czech Republic
Call for Papers
(Please cross post where appropriate)
Marking the launch of a new annual conference, research
and publication series, this inter-disciplinary and
multi-disciplinary project aims to explore what it is to be
human and the nature of human community in
cyberculture, cyberspace and science fiction. In
particular, the project will explore the possibilities
offered by these contexts for creative thinking about
persons and the challenges posed to the nature and
future of national, international, and global communities.

Papers, short papers, and workshops are invited on
issues related to any of the following themes:
* the relationship between cyberculture, cyberspace and
science fiction
* science fiction and cyberpunk as a medium for
exploring the nature of persons
* humans and cyborgs; the synergy of humans and
technology; changing views of the body
* human and post-human politics; cyborg citizenship and
rights; influence of political technologies
* bodies in cyberculture; from apes to androids -
electronic evolution; biotechnical advances and the
impact of life, death, and social existence; the impact on
* gender and cyberspace: new feminisms, new
* electronic persons, community and identity;
cyberspace, cybercommunities, virtual worlds,
and home worlds
* nature, enhancing nature, and artificial intelligence;
artificial life, life and information systems, networked
* Cyberpolitics, cyberdemocracy, cyberterror; old
conflicts, new spaces: elections, protest and war in
cyberspace; nationality and nationalism in cyberculture;
the state and cyberspace: repression vs. resistance
* cybercultures: the transnational and the local
* boundaries, frontiers and taboos in cyberculture
* cyberculture and orientalism
* religion and spirituality in cyberculture, science
fiction and cyberpunk
* old messages, new medium: cyberspace and mass
* cyberculture, cyberpunk and the near future:
utopias vs. dystopias
* technology vs. the natural? cyberculture and the green
Papers will be considered on any related theme. 300
word abstracts should be submitted to the Joint
Organising Chairs by Friday 9th May 2003. Full draft
papers should be submitted by Friday 11th July 2003.
Send proposals to:
Christopher Macallister, University of Kent at Canterbury
Rob Fisher,

Papers should be sent as an email attachment in Word,
WordPerfect or RTF; abstracts can also be submitted in
the body of the email text rather than as an attachment.
All papers accepted for and presented at the conference
will be published in an ISBN e-Book. Selected papers
will be developed and published in a themed hard copy
Further details and information about the Cyberworlds,
Virtual Reality series of projects can be found at
For specific information about the conference, please go

Posted by Jason at 1:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 25, 2003

War and Silence

I started this blog to supplement my daily dissertation writing, feeling that if I couldn't spill something brilliant into m$ Word, I would just drop by and prattle on until something came to me. What I've found myself doing instead is either spending time with my wife and reading -or- watching CNN/MSNBC/ONN (Other News Networks) in the 7-click spectrum they occupy on my television set. I've dodged Misc. because, in some fashion, I feel like I have to say something about this war (to myself, if not the 3 people who are part of Misc.'s haphazard readership).

Unfortunately, I just don't know what to say, much less how to feel. Disappointment that diplomacy went unaided by a careless and antagonistic "for us or against us" rhetoric. Fear and support for friends and strangers in the armed services. Disgust when I watched the ticker-tock of Wall Street approval in the form of a green arrow at the same moment that I saw a bomb hit a building for the first time - "live" on CNN. Disapproval of the policy that strikes me as arrogant. Hope that something humanitarian may evolve out of the destruction. Sorrow for the loss of life, on all sides.

I was relieved to see that even the media (at least, part of it) seemed to understand that someone could protest the policy and still support the troops. I'm intrigued by non-traditional media 'outlets' like The Agonist and the Bagdad blogger, Salam Pax. I find myself worried that important domestic policy is being decided upon but not really reported on - issues like the tax cut and drilling in Alaska. I feel heartened that an old friend (who served in the US Air Force and retired with 20+ years) and I could have an open, honest conversation about such a complex topic without raised tempers or hurt feelings.

I don't plan to make this a forum for conversation about the war - there are plenty of those. And I'm not sure I really have anything terribly insightful to say about it. So, my writing goes back to narrative, games, and literature, which I hope to understand a little better than history.

Posted by Jason at 7:45 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 18, 2003

Pattern Recognition

Finished William Gibson's latest novelPattern Recognition yesterday (kindly loaned to me by Matt). Overall, I enjoyed it - I find contemporary "sci-fi" fascinating. I've read several novels in the past year more interested in contemporary and historical technology than in projecting futures. Gibson's PR is set in the aftermath of September 11th, although he had started writing the novel prior to that date. Already, aspects of the novel strike me as dated, obsolete in a quickly changing world. On the other hand, I read novels like this, or something like Power's Plowing the Dark (set around the fall of the Wall), or Stephenson's Crytonomicon and they feel an odd blend of being paradoxically historical and futuristic. Even something like Delillo's White Noise strikes as so fundamentally apocalyptic in some senses so as to see like it's a projection rather than (now) a throwback. A shift in the gernsback continuum.

In any case, PR is a good read, although I'd suggest waiting for paperback (or a friend's copy).

Posted by Jason at 10:54 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 17, 2003

Distilled my previous website into

Distilled my previous website into a few pages [look to the right ---> ] detailing research interests, classes I've taught, etc. I'm still sorting out the role for this blog - part advertisement for occasional freelance jobs, part musing space, part confessional, part playground. I've enjoyed finding the tools that have built up around the blogging community - not disimilar in context to gaming mods/plug-ins, like the decal projects for Asheron's Call, a MMoRPG I've played for 3+ years.

A few of the blogging tools I've found useful thus far:

All Consuming, which lets you list books you are reading.

BlogRolling, which helps you maintain link lists.

Of course, the paranoid side of me thinks maybe I should just disconnect my cable modem while I'm still ahead...

Posted by Jason at 12:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 16, 2003

Pressing On

My dissertation director, Matt Kirschenbaum, just announced his book contract with MIT Press. Congratulations to Matt!

Posted by Jason at 8:40 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 14, 2003


Continue to add to the website, including reformatting my other old web pages to fit with the new look. Coming soon!

Other web design products in the pipeline include the new website for the Graduate English Organization (GEO) at UMD.

Posted by Jason at 3:12 PM | Comments (0)

Fleshing Out

Though I have been doing work on the web for over five years now, I'm still find myself amazed when I explore the design of another person. The simplicity and elegance of movabletype is astonishing. The beginning page lays empty, wordless, flat like a deflated balloon. The standard html template is made colorful by stylesheets, yet lies empty and awkward without the requisite words to flesh the body, fill the style's skin, forcing the organs and bones into proper alignment.

All of which to say, I need to flesh out my blog. The skin sags.

[what is he talking about you wonder? see the deflated site ]

Posted by Jason at 12:34 AM | Comments (2)