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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Game studies. Issue 2 is now officially online.
As a review editor, I wish I could say I'd contributed to this issue, but I have to admit I have been an absolute bystander this time... It looks good :)

This had to happen: Plan B -- a blognovel which is something different from a hypertext fiction, of course. Judging from the FAQ, it is fiction, and there is some interesting points to it. However, it seems that the author hasn't really considered that what he is doing is pretty close to the "old-fashioned" newspaper feuilleton, as far as I can see. Several 18th century novels started out as newspaper feuilletons...Balzac was the first to give it a go as early as 1836, according to amongst others this site(in French)...Dickens and Tolstoy did it as well.

Salon's ranking of most read Salon blogs, estimated per page view.

I thought that by finally going to the dentist, I would eliminate another source of procrastination (obsessing about tooth aches and dentists).
But it just got worse. You cant concentrate on Anything when it feels like someone just took a good long leisurely stroll in your mouth with a tamping bar.
Definitely NOT going to watch this film.

Also via Frank, article related to the origins of multi-player games:SPACEWAR - Fanatic Life and Symbolic Death Among the Computer Bums., by Stephen Brand.

Via Frank, an article on cheating in online games and the future of online games. Also reveals that EverQuest is supported by a live staff of 120 people making sure the game runs smoothly and that people don't cheat....

Everybody is afraid of something, isn't it so? Here is a list of phobias. Mine is in there too.
And here is a phobia-quiz.

Via Jesper Juul, an absolutely "authentic" article on how theory can change your life.....

Ok, I nicked this straight from Hildegards Blog. - Loved the movie, though.

Collaborative net.art project which has just begun.

Building Stories, Telling Games (via Tinka, thanx)

Copenhagen Summer Festival 2002 - classical music in beautiful room in centre Copenhagen - for free or very cheap!

Gamasutra article on game where "We still wanted to have the concept of levels, but we wanted them to be seamlessly connected together, with nonobvious boundaries and no load times between them."
"Postmortem: Naughty Dog's Jak and Daxter: the Precurser Legacy"

Assorted Goodies
Tidying up my old computer before passing it on to friend (trying now to have ALL files on one computer), brief list of various bookmarks, I want to remember:

E-literature bibliography
Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About (blog of a kind)
Professor Stephen Toulmin: The Inwardness of Mental Life
Snakeskin Poetry Webzine
History of Hypertext
Interactive Education: Impact of the Internet on Learning & Teaching
Mots Pluriels (journal of sorts)
Web Research - huge list of various sites
Crossing into cinema and real life - article on Majestic
Janice Walker: Bibliography of Electronically Available Sources: MOOs, MUDs, MUCKs, and MUSHs
"Moo in Your Face: Researching, Designing, and Programming a User-friendly Interface"
Computer Games Online - "The Only Independant PC Game Magazine.." (??)
Games YOU can play on the WWW
Danish Art Group www project with sound (Hurrah endelig en ordentlig lyd)
The Hunger Site
Hypertext Translation of Deleuze and Guattari's Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature, Chapter 3
The Heist, a hypertext novel by Walter Sorrell
Hyperfiction - liste der Listen


Back to the annotated URLs
One of the good thing about a blog is that you can actually make a contract for real with your readers, agreed? Regular readers will remember what you have promised or argued here, and hold you to it, if you stray too much, unlike in print writing. At least I hope so.

So here is the deal: I have a t h e s i s to finish. Official deadline is in 138 days. And blogging as a way of procrastinating is not going to help me. Especially when Im prone to get problems with my arms when I type too much.

I do no want to discontinue the blog - it still serves as a good link-holder and memory-board for me. So I will most likely continue to post URLs and brief descriptions of them. But that is it and for that reason this blog might not necessarily be a good Read in the next months to come. And should I stray, and start writing too much, let me know, ok? Tell me to get back to work.

Which is where Im headed now. See ya!

Birth of a medium - interview with Henry Jenkins on computer games in the Guardian. Via Tinka :)

Klastrup's Cataclysms just had visitor no 11111 at this site...similar number to go before I reach the next number with only the same cipher in!

At Gamasutra's Education section you can now find a graduate dissertation by James Davies on the Male Dominance of Videogame Production and Consumption.

BOYKOT DANMARK - a new initiative, in a humourous way trying to question our concept of Danishness and how we use it to repress the UnDanish aspects of our culture. If you click on and wait and then follow the "Action" menu link, you will get to see some rather interesting pictures of the little mermaid.

An African Narrative
Another find while moving was a small, white book from my childhood, titled Myths and Legends from Malawi. It is edited and illustrated by a E.E. Singano and published in Blantyre, year unknown. It contains a number of Aesop-like fables about village life and relations between animals, and animals and humans like "Saved by a sick girl" and "Why the dog lives with us". Here is one of the shorter stories, directly copied from the book. I suspect it has been translated into English from the local language, Chichewa. It puzzled me quite a bit and I wanted to share it here, thinking that is not very likely than any of my regular readers have access to this book.

Once, there was a chicken. She had three little chickens. She used to wonder about in the bush to look for food.

One day, she was with her little chickens.She was scratching on the ground with her toes trying to uncover any food that was buried in the ground. As she was doing so, she scratched the back of a toad that was buried in the soil. The toad also had young toads with her. Indeed, the poor toad was furious. The toad shouted to the hen that she should not have scratched her back like that. The toad shouted and shouted until the hen got angry. After sometime they started fighting. The hen bit the toad on the back. Poor toad could not bit the hen because his arms and legs were very short.

While they were fighting, the hen told the young toads, to go home and tell their father that thier mother was dying. The toad replied that the hen should not have said that because they did not know who would die. So the young toads waited to see who would win the fight. Alas! the hen could not breathe because the mucus like stuff that the toad excreted blocked her nose and mouth. Immediately she fell on the ground and died.


There is a certain computer-generated story-like quality to it, isn't there? I had to read it a few times to discover who is who (a slight problem of gender) and what the alledged point of the story might be. And the ending is cruel and leaves you wondering what happens to the three poor motherless chicks...All in all, it got me started thinking about a lot of things:
Could a story like this have been written in Europe? There are certain local traits which you would not find in European countries (I think), like the poisonous toad and the wandering about in the bush. But the morale: that you should not sell the pelt, before the bear is shot (as we say in Danish) is universal, I guess, though the exact way the story told might vary between geographical regions. Is this then proof that content can be international, but form is always local? How would it be to listen to this story, if it was told in Chichewa, for instance? Is there many subleties we loose in the translation? And would it make sense to translate into a complete other language: like trying to convey the morale through the playing of a computer game, for instance? Have to think more about that.

Here is a link to a native Malawian who uses the myths and legends in his dance work
There is actually a little portal with links to various African legends and fables here.

Who says, ends don't meet?Clerkenwell Literary Festival, inspired by Playstation 2.

Karlsbjerg kindly drew my attention to an interesting post on Realistic wargames.

In Bonn this autumn, there is a one day workshop on Storytelling in Virtual Environments. It looks quite interesting, but surprisingly I don't know any of the organisers. Do you? I have the nagging feeling that at least I should have come across some of the names before...

Bloggerne kommer / Arrival of The Bloggers.
The Danish online mag Søndag Aften, published once a month, has an entire section on the blogging phenomena this month. A bit late, one might think, but a positive sign that even the cultural elite is beginning to take blogging seriously.

Double nerd event: the virtual world Cybertown announces the first virtual Star Trek convention. Of course you have to pay for an "Event Pass" to participate in the numerous chat events with a number of Star Trek actors...

One of the more entertaining aspects of moving to a new place and packing/unpacking your books and other stuff, is that you come across books you did not know you owned in the first place. Hence, I have been amusing myself by reading an old Danish translation of quotes from Samuel Butler's notebooks. Judging from this translation, Butler was a blogger, before the term was even coined - these are long and short musings on all kind of aspects of life; Im sure he would have blogged, had he lived in this century :). Here is one of his punchlines (in a crude translation back to English):
It is not nice been married to anybody, not even a theory.

I'll try to keep that in mind in the months to come...I have been known to fall in love with theories in my earlier life, you know.

Oh, and there is another well-turned quote at the Logophilia.com website which describes itself as the "Web Site for Word Lovers".

A group of volunteers at A.o.I. R (Association of Internet Researchers) have amassed a very nice List of Lists (i.e. mailing lists) related to cyberstudies, online research, game studies etc.

A lot of paint and 73 moving boxes later and now in my new apartment, doing the "analog" thing again (read: connecting via modem). Yesterday I swore I would NEVER buy a book again (going on box no XX) - let's see how long I can keep this promise...What is it about books that makes you buy them, if even you know that chances are remote that you will actually get around to reading it? Why is it so immensely satisfying to look at a shelf of books, pick out a volume randomly and browse through it? Why is it this satisfaction doesnt work with games? Once out of their nifty boxes, games seem to disappear into anonymity in their CD-covers; living a forlorn life til someone by chance digs them out from oblivion - at least in my shelves. I never (rarely) pick up a game, gazing longingly at the cover, wondering when and whether to play it or not. Is it because Im not a gamer?