Update: April 2018

At one point this semester, I think I slept maybe? Here’s some of the big stuff that’s been happening in my life lately:

At the end of March, I presented my paper “Selling Nostalgia: Transmedia Storytelling in Video Game-Inspired Films” in the games studies division of the Pop Culture Association’s (PCA) National Conference in Indianapolis. I don’t have time to play many video games, so the only game series I know much about are Kingdom Hearts (my favorite), Final Fantasy, Pokemon, and Fire Emblem (such diversity in style!). Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy both have movie entries in their transmedia stories, so this paper interrogates how these series commodify nostalgia to encourage consumption of the peripheral transmedia texts. I presented to an audience of around 40 people and received GREAT feedback. I’m planning on incorporating some of that feedback and submitting the paper to a journal this summer.

When I got back into town, my 2018 ICA research team worked to finish our second manuscript and submitted it to a conference and journal. I submitted a book review to another journal around the same time, and I should have another article out to a journal in a few weeks. I also found out that I was awarded the John F. Murray Outstanding Doctoral Student—Teaching award, which honors a graduate student for their excellent work in teaching. Continue reading “Update: April 2018”

Reading “Infinite Jest”

Reading Infinite Jest feels like running a race. Sometimes it’s painful, frustrating, and hard to get through. Other times it’s a breeze. There were days I wanted to throw the book across the room and days I couldn’t put it down. Endurance is a large part of the process of reading it. I can’t say that it’s a book for everyone or that it’s an entirely enjoyable process. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read though. Continue reading “Reading “Infinite Jest””

Update: February 2018

This winter has been busy. Much busier than any other time in grad school. I’m working a lot of 17 hour days, but I’m really loving it. I’m enrolled in 11 hours of courses that focus on the cultural industries, using Twitter as a research tool, and pedagogy. All of these topics directly speak to my research interests or my career, so they’ve been fruitful. I have a few papers I’m writing for these classes that I’m really stoked about, so I’ll hopefully share more news about those papers going to conferences soon.

Before really diving in to those papers, I’m refining four papers for publication. Most of these essays address how new media workers or businesses manage risk. Anyone that follows my research knows that I’m particularly interested in how digital television portals approach business decisions and manage their subscription models. I’m increasingly becoming interested in how independent symbol makers (musicians not on labels, filmmakers outside of major studios, etc) address these same sorts of issues surrounding risk and labor though.

Outside of writing for school/work, most of my free time lately has been spent preparing for marriage and trying to write a new Twin Cities album. Amanda and I started moving some of her stuff up to Iowa City in January. It’s been wild. I watched the size of my vinyl collection triple and my library double in size in the past month, which was especially great because it cost me $0. As I was lazily reading all her books and listening to all her records, Amanda started creating her vision of how she wants to redecorate the apartment. So far, there hasn’t been too much we’ve disagreed on—mostly fashion vs. function arguments. Her move might actually go smoothly, which makes me even more excited for June 23 to get here.

Twin Cities has been working on new material since the release of “Missing Out On Nothing,” but I think we really starting to hit our stride with some new songs we wrote in December. As of right now, we have six or seven songs that are mostly written musically and partially written lyrically. We’re hoping to record these songs this summer and release a new album later this year. I’m also really hoping to go on tour again, but who knows if or when that’ll happen.

Perhaps the craziest thing I’ve done lately is commit to reading Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. I made a 13-week plan to finish the book between January and April using Infinite Summer‘s reading schedule as a starting place. I’m about one third of the way through the book, and it’s been one of the most challenging and rewarding reading experiences I’ve had. Wallace’s writing balances humor and humanity in a beautiful way, and I’d encourage anyone to take the time to work their way through the book. Let me know if you want my reading schedule, and I’ll happily share it.

To close off this update, I’d like to share a few other things I’ve read, watched, or listened to recently that impacted me in some way or another: Continue reading “Update: February 2018”

Reading Beyond Class Requirements During Your Ph.D.

Reading takes up the majority of your time as a Ph.D. student. There is a seemingly endless amount to read for class, for research projects, and for building the general knowledge needed to succeed in the field. Throughout the first year of my Ph.D. program, I felt overwhelmed by the idea that I should be doing more reading (at least academic material) and writing outside of my courses. As I’ve adjusted to the strains of the program, I’ve found a reading schedule that works well for me.

Continue reading “Reading Beyond Class Requirements During Your Ph.D.”

2017 Media Diet

I decided to track a Steven Soderbergh-esque media diet that focused on the books, televisions, movies, video games, and podcasts that I consumed over the past year. I chose these media because they contained a full story or an important section of a story. This lists only contains media I finished consuming and doesn’t have any media I quit partway through. The “S” at the end of each television show stands for a complete season consumed. The podcasts on this list are self-contained stories. This doesn’t include the many podcasts I listen to weekly. Overall, I watched 41 films, 51 seasons/arcs of television series, and read 62 books. Continue reading “2017 Media Diet”