klastrup AT it-c.dk

This is the research diary of Lisbeth Klastrup. Here I share some of my thoughts on life, universe, virtual worlds, interactive stories and internet oddities with you.

I'm a ph.d. scholar at DIAC at the IT University at Copenhagen (ITU). I also host & work in a world called StoryMOO. At this ITU homepage you can read more about my research project and miscellaneus activities. List of publications is here.

Current month

Fellow researchers
Jesper Juul
Susana Tosca
Troels Degn Johansson
Estrid Soerensen
Lars Konzack
Kenneth Hansen
Gabriel Hansen
Joergen Callesen
Soeren Pold

Jill Walker's blog
Torill Mortensen's blog
Ragnhild Tronstad
Hilde Corneliussen's blog
Carsten Jopp's blog
Anders Fagerjord's blog

Anna Gunder
Jenny Sunden
Mikael Jacobsson

Aki Jarvinen
Markku Eskelinen
Raine Koskimaa

-The World
Gonzalo Frasca's blog (URU, US)
Anja Rau's blog (DE)
Elin Sjursen's blog (NO, US)
Frank Schaap's blog (NL)
Adrian Miles' Vog blog (AUSTR.)
Mark Bernstein's blog (US.)

Related Reads
Dust from a Distant Sun (DK)
Cykelkokken (DK, in Danish)
Two Years in Denmark (DK,US)
Future Dr. Karlsbjerg (DK)
Laurel.blog (US)
Texturl (US)

©Lisbeth Klastrup 2002

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Oh, Yes, and regarding gender and EverQuest, almost 65% of the female players say they have upgraded their computer to be able to play EverQuest!! Yours truly, too...

I have finally gotten around to reading Nicolas Yee's report on players of EverQuest, "The Norrathian Scrolls". He has some interesting statistics (have gotten responses from 4000 individuals which is pretty impressive). Based on the responses, in my random interest summary, he tentatively concludes that:
- Approx. 16% of the EverQuest players are female. 70% of these play with a romantic partner.
- 80% of all players think that female characters are treated better.
- The average level of the characters is 33 (max level is currently 60, as far as I know) and the most popular race is the Wood Elf and the most popular class is Druid.
- The most popular reason for playing is to "explore a fantasy world", next comes the satisfaction of seeing "goals achieved" and third the possibility of social interaction.
-On a more general level and also based on the qualitative answers, he has been given, Yee can conclude that male players are achievers and female character socialisers.

Sigh. Not much new under the sun, I guess.

I for one definitely dont fit the description and characteristics of the most common female player (I'm a Paladin and currently I'd rather kill than socialise, honestly. And I have only been given stuff by a male player once). But then again, I'm a researcher and he hasnt really researched on those ;)...

Time on the web
Jill recently wrote a post on time and spatiality on the web. And then shortly after reading her post, I tripped over this: Uno Memento, a spoof on the movie Memento which I liked a lot. There are not a lot of films that have time itself has a major theme, but this is one of them and it made me wonder more in relation to Jill's wondering that the time of the web (writing) is unfamilar and perhaps belonging to the present?? It made me think of another disturbing film on time, the classic "Last Year in Marienbad", which I happend to write an essay on some years ago. In the preface to manuscript of the film, written by Alain Robbe-Grillet, Robbe-Grillet writes that the time of the cinema is exactly the present. I cant remember if it was also him, that wrote or thought this, perhaps it is a conglemerate of a lot of stuff I have read but the argument of the now in film goes: temporality is not inherent in the image itself, like it is in language (we can _write_ in the past or present tense, imparfait or future perfect, but never express these tenses directly in the image), rather time in film arises from the combination of images, the editing - or the emergence of pictorial conventions which signals time (like the use of black/white to signal that this is going on in the past etc). When it comes to the temporality of the web, since much of what we absorb on the net is still verbal writing, the sense of time is still very much at close hand since language is. Yet, the webpage or website itself could be likened to an image - when we come across a page we havent seen before, we suppose that the time of it is "now" (i.e. it is recently updated and present current-day reality), until we, through the process of moving around it, discover whether it should be understood and interpreted in the past or present tense. Hence, using and following links could be likened to the process of editing for yourself; it is establishing the connection between links that makes us understand which time "tense" the nodes of the links belong too.
It is interesting how some sites refuse us to let us know when they are from, and how you will then go looking for a "last updated..." phrase somewhere to understand the site's timeliness correctly. What weblogs do is exactly to move this datestamp to the forefront, sparing us the worry (or the exitement) of wondering when something has been written, and hence how it should be understood (is this past or present?). So I would argue, I guess, that as a phenomena, weblogs are a symptom of our need to be situated in time, to understand the world around us in temporal, rather than spatial, terms.
When this is said, I remember Genette for saying somewhere in Narrative Discourse, that the only true temporality of the text is what we lend to it from the process of our reading (per memory, havent got the book here). Whether we read a book, watch a film, listen to a piece of music or read a weblog, we always do it in a moment of "now", which we can never escape.

EverQuest number stat info - a page in the EQBestiary lists these numbers:
Total NPCs: 8,608
Zones: 149
Factions: 273

I will have to do some maths on the relation NPC to Player, based on the fact that the zones I have been in rarely have more than 100 players (Verant claims they have 400.000+ RL players all in all). If I could get hold of the number of objects too..... and then calculate the number of possible events in this world... Just for the fun of it! Could be nice to have in the thesis too.

This should actually have been posted yesterday, but Blogger cheated me (luckily I hade made a copy-paste before):
Charles Ess, an American Philospher, with a special interest in Internet Ethics, has been visiting the IT University today. He is moving on to Trondheim in Norway, and coming from a French conference, so apparently doing the big European tour, poor man...(he also gave lecture at another Danish University yesterday, so understandably seemed a bit tired). He gave a good lecture on the relation between philosofical traditions of thinking mind/body, continued in the tradition of embodiment/disembodiment thinking in cyberstudies literature, and finally connected it all in a perspective on how to think or not think about ethics on the internet. I like philosophers for the ridigity in the way they make arguments - other humanists (and my students!) could learn a lot from that!
- I also had a chance to speak with Ess eye to eye and got some interesting references to recent works on internet ethics that I want to look into. And talking to him after the lecture in a small group learned more about the difficulties of being an interdisciplinary researcher in the US. So good day all in all; I'm currently supervising a student who is writing about philosophy and the concept of cyberspace and now am able to give him some more qualified feedback. Also, btw, Italked to another group I'm supervising: they are doing a project on "faction" games on the internet (like A.I and Majestic) and they have found out a lot about these games. So even if I havent gotten around to READING or WRITING one word myself, I have gotten a lot of valuable input - stuff to think with. [Tuesday]

An old link from Susana, I found in my mailbox: The Act of Writing - a Media Theory approach by D. Chandler at the University of Wales. There is an interesting chapter on academic writing, with a section on academic tribes and territories, which from what I have read so far, has some shrewd points to consider.

Should also note work-in-progress and collaborative Murder Mystery in relation to the Incubation2 conference on Writing on the Internet. It is titled M is for Nottingham?, you can join by following the clues laid out on the site (we are looking for "the corpse of the corpus" - is the book really dead? etc) and making up your own character. It all concludes at the conference where people are asked to show up in costumes. Seems like a fun idea, but perhaps not so fun if you, like me, are not participating in the conference and thus, deprived of the climax. Btw, the idea is conceived by Marjorie Luesebrink, aka M.D. Coverly one of the webwriters, I like a lot.

Haven't been posting much this week, which is due to the fact that I have actually tried to take the week off, because I needed a break. I've finally managed to find a replacement (3 people in fact) for me in the ph.d.studyboard - and am working on withdrawing from the ITU Research Strategy Seminar Taskforce group, I have been involved in to. Now, in the coming weeks, I plan to withdraw/unsubscribe from various mailinglists so I can focus more narrowly on my thesis, which is due approx 6 months and 1 week from now (argh!!)

However, as part of my empirical research and as preperation for the Tampere conference, I have been playing quite a lot of EverQuest this past week, and am rather proud I made it to level 5 this afternoon (after killing a lot of rats, orc pawns etc. Hmmh). For the time being, rather than solving quests (which seem hard to come by for a Paladin), I have decided to walk the lands. For this, I hope the EQ Atlas will come in handy. Everlore is useful too. And I should look closer at the Paladins of EverQuest site in near future. And visit Casters Realm for further info on various races, quests etc. All along I will need to consult the EQ Glossary to help explain all those wyrd abbreviations.
Hope to be able to report back from my adventures soon!

Newgrounds.com a site which has published a game called K A B O O M which has apparently caused quite some distress with American Politicians and Jewish organisation Defence League because the protagonist is a terrorist on a suicide action (source Politiken). The site says it is a (satirical) comment on the situation in the Middleeast. Same old, it seems, people cannot distinguish between a representation (which cannot be a replica of reality but always is a mediation of it), and the act itself - though they are perfectly able to distinguish between reality and construction when it comes to film and television where actually occasionally happens that you see the world from the bad guys pov....

A Picture of Weblogs - an applet that shows the connection between a big number of weblogs - you can add your own. Pretty impressive, but I dont know how representative it is? Definitely you can pinpoint peripheri and centre here...

Lord of The Ring lego site is here. Not only are there mugshots of the cast, but the builder has also constructed several chapters from the book, including the horrible bridge scene in Moria...

Just came back from watching Attack of the Clones. Of course, there is a online lego series to go with the films:Star Wars LEGO. LOTR Lego will be coming up tomorrow...


More stats on the distribution of male and female internet users. After Norway (thanks for the correction, Lars!), Denmark is the country where almost as many women as men use the internet (compared to France, UK, Germany, Sweden, Spain and Italy).

From NetValues own site, more stats about online gaming (Jan. 2002). For instance, 68 percent of the UK users were men, i.e. approx. 2/3 of the online gamers are men and 1/3 women. Not too bad a statistics, I guess, all things considered.

At Ananova.com there is little piece of news about a survey which finds that online gaming is on the increase in Europe. Brits play the most (3.5 mill players visited online gaming sites in March), Denmark is fourth. Survey made by compagny NetValue. Would be interesting to look further into, but probably costs money!

Tank 20 another e-mail story by Rob Wittig.

More Danish weblogs and a blogwatch tool at Blogbot.dk.

Finally finished the final version of my paper for the Tampere conference. Last Wednesday saw the end of Susana's and my paper on autobiography on the internet, so feeling relatively productive for once, 2 articles in less than one month isnt that bad!

Updated my link list with some more related URLs. See bottom left of this page.

As another act of procrastination I'm considering buying a certain internet domain...Here is a List of Danish Domain registrators and webhotel providers. Freepaq.dk seems to be the cheapest webhotel on the block (if you can live with an add-bar) and buydomains.dk the one who offers one of the cheapest domaine registrations (incl. mail adresses).

A Field Trip
Yesterday, I was cordially invited (thanks, Kim) to meet some of the other Copenhagen Bloggers and I spent a very "hyggelig" (cosy) afternoon with them (and Tinka, I always enjoy discussing academia :)). These bloggers, also in real life, are fun, intelligent and nice people to be with. This experience was just another proof of the fact, that people who spend a lot of time online and like publishing and writing online, are not necessarily "geeks" or socially malfunctioning introverts, rather the opposite. Most of the people whom I have gotten to know online and later met in RL DO have a life, ARE able to interact socially, and do know the DIFFERENCE between pizza and steak au poivre. Rather, they are more open and extrovert than many academics I have met who never spend time online...We have come a long way since Sherry Turkle's Life on the Screen back in the early nineties; spending time online is not a way of making up for a life, which doesn't work, it is a way of expanding and enriching it.

Ingen elge på vejen den dag - Danish digital drama following the week days at the Denmarks Radio site. Recommended by student of mine, looks interesting! Too little new media "literature" in Danish, IMHO.

Damn it! I really should have made a move on that guy from Navision I did a course with some 2 years ago!

Article on the new Danish Proust translation with the famous quote in both old and new version.

I was actually just looking for a Danish translation of a quote by Marcel Proust, when I landed on this webpage. It contains an autobiographical essay on the experience of and recovery from serious mental illness. It is an extraordinary piece of writing. It should be read by more people. Natten og Gryet (Night and Dawn).

Thank you, Anders! Thanks to his link on permalinks in Blogger, I was finally able to figure out what piece of code to use to make my permanent link referrers work. That's been bugging me for a while, and I hadn't found this page myself.
I agree with Anders that perhaps the current layout of blogs is not ideal. I for one have been thinking a lot about just having headlines, pointing to subpages with the entire post (at least when they are fairly long) instead of all posts written out on the frontpage, presenting the unsuspecting reader with a lot of text to deal with. But "headlining" is just too timeconsuming to do with Blogger. - Looking forward to that PC-version of Tinderbox, Mark!

Bookshops on the net, old and new, for Danes, maintained by Det Kongelige Bibliotek (The National Library).

Ibsen revisited
Ibsen konkordans - a site which lets you search through 630.000 of the words Ibsen used in his plays and poems to discover in which context, they were used, the frequency of their use etc.(in Norwegian).
Would have loved to have a tool like this when back in 94 (?), I was writing a paper on Ibsen and Joyce and their view on the calling of the artist..."For jeg er *født til kunstner, sér du. - Og blir så aldrig andet end kunstner alligevel" - says Rubek in "Når vi døde vågner" (When We Dead Awaken). It came up in the search on the word "Kunstner" (artist) immediately.
Perhaps this quote also summarises Ibsen's view on his own life and career. "Når vi døde vågner" was his last play, and could in many ways be read as an old man's replay of the pros and cons of a life devoted blindly to career and personal merit. Should be compulsory reading for artists and academics alike!

99099 - Reality not found

One of the better Quiz results, which to me secretly confirms what I have always suspected: that Really I'm the woman supposed to marry the Royal Prince Frederik...(seriously, I _did_ dream of that some 20 years ago...;))

You are a Queen!
You are the beautiful and compassionate Queen. You are the epitomy of what every woman should be. You are confident, bold, aggressive, smart, womanly and feminine. You know the right thing to do and do it. You command respect and earn praise. You are moral and loving. In times of trouble, you draw strength from within, and are a source of strength for others.

Which Royalty Are You? - a test for those with delusions of grandeur??

Personality Disorder Test - yet another test. Haven taken it, but not sure I will come out as "healty" with these type of questions.

CIA --World Factbook -- Denmark - so this is what the Americans think of the country "slightly less than twice the size of Massachusetts"...

Diaryland! - diary tool with the ugliest colourscheme in late web history!

diarist.net | registry - currently listing 5505 online diaries, personal weblogs etc. Listed by country.

For a long time I have wanted to join the masses of people who adorn their webpage with a cat ;).Via another blog (sorry, can't remember which one) I came across a site partly dedicated to listing library cats all over the world. Personally, I wouldnt mind being this cat; perhaps if you sleep on the books long enough you also end up ingesting their content...

The Dark Nile - a new email-narrative by author Jesse Kornbluth (you sign up and get a new episode in your mail every day). It is free but sponsored, and the sponsors get banners on site and access to send fictitious e-mail to readers, according to Danish culture mag online, Søndag Aften.

Childbooks.dk - name says it all.

Thomas Aquinas: Pulchra enim dicuntur quae visa placent (We call beautiful those things which give pleasure when they are seen).

Actually, I'm currently working on an article on biography and autobiography on the net (for Danish Mag Standart) with Susana, so browsing the net for all sorts of related stuff on this. And perusing a book called "Biographers and the Art of Biography" by Ulick O'Connor. Just came across this quote which could be used also for my work in general (??):
"It is evident, however, that life outside categories is less likely to lend itself to plot".

Re Ethics, this paper appears to be relevant to my research:
Research Ethics in a Virtual World: Some Guidelines and Illustrations

So, finally I got a link to it (through the air-l mailing list). The Association of Internet Researchers Ethics Committee report on Internet Research Ethics. The report contains presentation of the group, generel considerations, suggestions, and links to other resources on ethics. They also have a website!

There are so many ways to use the "world"-noun.BODY WORLDS is the title of an exhibition, currently in London, where a number of real corpses are exhibited, their state of after deathliness preserved by a technique called plastination, developped by the doctor behind the exhibit, Gunther von Hagens. Exhibit also contains samples of tumors, smoker's lungs and other "do-we-really-want-to-see-that" bodily items. Oh, and the webpresence includes a constant tracking of how many visitors are currently on site, visiting the exhibition....

LoveBytes - Web Gallery - interactive art stuff on the web, curated in connection to the LoveBytes exhibition in 98.

Rhizome.org: Report from Numer.02 - a conference on Interaction design. Report gives overview and includes lots of links to people not thinking about interactivity in theoretical terms (or maybe they are doing that too), but mainly just constructing it.

Tinka over at Distant Sun has finished and handed in her MA Thesis (DK:speciale). Congrats to her! And you know, Tinka, if I was to decide, you'd be welcome to stop by ITU (IT-højskolen) and do a workshop on blogging anytime :)

By way of The Real Jesper, an article on blogophilia by another bloggerista (a whole new language here...): My blog, my self.

Supporting women in tech careers - how to do that. Article is about women in chemistry, but might apply to other "science" areas as well, I guess!
It emphasises the importance of mentors, which I fully support; however, there always has to be one woman who is the first and who is to mentor her?

Information wants to be free?
www.buyathesis.com is actually a Danish website, run by students I think. They have had the interesting idea of serving as a link between students and industry - selling BA and MA theses' to interested buyers from private compagnies, government institution s etc. It is not up and running yet, but at some point you can search through the uploaded abstracts. Could be fun to check out how many theses on hypertext literature, interactive narratives and computer games you would find, if any.
Thinking back on how desperate I was to get my hands on related writings when I was doing my MA and how they were always on loan on the library, I wonder if a site like this would also (unintentionally) serve as a place where you would end up buying the knowledge, you couldn't get for free?

Something completely different: now listening to Buddha Bar: Party, which came in my by far coolest CD-Box ever...I heard the music in a shop and asked for the title, then was lucky to find it in a record store yesterday. Turns out Buddha Bar is this hot bar in Paris, where film stars cruise by to listen to the music, so now I'm imagining my 39m2 apartment is a chillout bar and I'm a film star with a major hangover (and not the aftereffects of a migraine attack); a fantasy which gives me a perfectly good reason not to work ;). A Votre Santé!