Virtual Home

This may perhaps be a post better suited for my other blog, but for some reason, I felt it better suited to talk in this one about the notion of virtual spaces as a home, which is a topic recently touched upon over at Terra Nova in Bonnie Ruberg’s recent post: Grounded in Virtual Spaces. Her post broaches the topic that in many ways, blogs serve as a surrogate home on the internet.

But what exactly is “home”? Several Native American tribes believe that home is where you are born (in a geographical sense — I somehow doubt they were referring to the hospital room specifically), and that there is a spiritual connection tied to that area from then onward. This doesn’t mean you have to live there your whole life, but it will still have an effect on you in often subtle ways. Personally, I’m a big fan of this idea, and feel it works well to define a virtual home as well. Blogs (whether it’s a myspace page, friendster, facebook, blogger, or a stand alone site like this one) are often our first real forays into being a creator or participant in the virtual arena. It provides an anchor point where they are free to express themselves however they want (to let their guards down, figuratively speaking). People may move on or away from these blogs or pages, but their time spent with their own space to create and express themselves will continue to have an effect on them throughout their other endeavors.

Forums, however, serve a complementary but separate role, more similar to third spaces (Bowling alleys, pubs, places people gather that are neither home nor work), where it is a peer gathering of people collaborating to form a dialogue. It does not qualify as a home, per se, in that no matter how freeform the structure of the forum is, it is still ultimately governed by someone else. We may even end up spending more time in that third space than we do in our homes (even more true on the internet, where “home” serves as a place to toss links and thoughts before heading back out into browsing, with only the occasional extended period spent cleaning up or redesigning the site), but that does not alter the distinction between the two spaces.

I’m not really going anywhere with this in revelatory terms, but I did want to share. I may expand it later.

Announcements and General Updates

First off: i’d like to announce my new “learning programming” blog, Critical Code. I’d also like to announce that I’ve migrated to a shared user table across my three blogs (Critical Games, Critical Code, and this blog), so if you have an account on one blog, you have an account on them all (there might be a temporary delay while user privileges transfer, but they’re all there). So please, by all means, comment! Kibbutz! Let me know my meager site traffic isn’t just bots! (For those playing the RSS game, I also have tentative plans to make a unified RSS feed that combines posts and comments for those that want such a thing, like me. I wish there was a way to send comments left on the Livejournal feed to the actual blog, but there doesn’t appear to be a way. I will reiterate, though: it’s best to leave a comment on the blog, not the LJ feed — the feed was created by a friend of mine, not me, and as such I don’t get notified of comments on there… also, they disappear as the posts drop off the feed.)

That’s it for announcements for now. As far as general updates, I’m doing alright. I’m skirting the very hairy edge of being broke, but I’m trying to stay optimistic that I’ll find some sort of employment before I hit that line. It’s stressing me the hell out, though, in a way that being broke in the past did not: previously when I was in these sorts of situations, I either had work lined up for the near future, or a new semester (and subsequent education stipend) coming up. Right now I have neither, and it’s nervous-making. I’ll simply need to continue to send out resumes and hope for the best (any suggested leads would be appreciated, and YES, I’m willing to relocate damn near anywhere including out of the country).

I have a lot of things to say, but I don’t really know where to begin. I’ve been incredibly frustrated nearly the entire time I’ve been living in Montpelier, and am frankly looking forward to moving out of here, even if it means temporarily moving back in with my parents. It has been extremely hard to spark any sort of motivation to DO anything, let alone retain that motivation. (To make something perfectly clear, I don’t blame my roommates for that. For lack of a better way to describe it, the vibe of the house and I simply don’t seem to get along — I’ve felt like an interloper from day one.) I’ve been really distracted, tired, and in a brain fog for most of my time here, and have consistently had to LEAVE the premises to get any work done (like my schoolwork during the semester). This is arguably the least productive or capable of being productive that I’ve felt, ever, and that’s a really disheartening feeling to have when I more than anything need to start DOING.

So, little steps. Here is my goal, please poke me to stick to it: at least one new post in each blog each week. That’s three posts a week: one personal/creative, one professional/design/gaming related, one programming. It’s worth noting that at least two of those need at least a little forethought or additional work, so just whipping something up half-assedly 15 minutes before the end of the week really is out of the question. Here’s to resolutions and goals: may these last and blossom!