The Best Sentence of the Day

This blog is a cut-up of a dissertation in progress. Each day, I will post my favorite sentence that I have newly scribed. Everything out of context, but suggestive. I hope.

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Location: San Francisco, CA

I'm a game designer, a games researcher, and a future forecaster. I make games that give a damn. I study how games change lives. I spend a lot of my time figuring out how the games we play today shape our real-world future. And so I'm trying to make sure that a game developer wins a Nobel Prize by the year 2032. Learn more here in my bio or get my contact information on my contact page.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

I stand before you naked

Oh my. It is with great surprise that I awoke this morning to discover that this little introverted wisp of a blog is Blogger's Blog of Note for the day. I admit feeling overwhelmed and naked as many of you lay eyes on my experimental dissertation blog for the first time.

My other blog Avant Game, where I write for a more public audience about experimental game design and weird, emergent social network phenomena, was a Blog of Note last week, and that was a great experience. I loved meeting all the folk who wandered over from their own dashboards, and clicking back to all of their blogs as well.

But this blog is different. It's very... personal. Until today, the only people reading it, for the most part, were people who knew me.

I've been keeping this blog since I started racing toward an inflexible dissertation filing deadline. I'm a Ph.D. candidate at UC Berkeley, where I am earning my degree in performance studies and where I am also a member of the alpha lab for engineering. I am writing about the intersection of digital games culture, ubiquitous computing, and urban social networks. It's a humanities dissertation, but I'm working with a lot of scientific and technical literature as well.

What you should know before you read any further: This blog is the online manifestation of the knot in my stomach that has been tightening over the last 6 months. It is the one moment of each day where I lift my head from my work and attempt to see the world for a few minutes. I am coughing up one sentence that means something to me--and probably means little to anyone else. That's scary. Because I know dissertation writing out of context often appears convoluted, or overly academic, or just plain awful.

This blog has helped me get up every single day, Sundays, holidays, and keep writing, even when it feels like a Sisyphusean task. I am writing roughly from 8 AM to 10 PM every single day. Later when I am facing a chapter deadline. I have filed 240 pages with my committee and will file the final 160 later this month, I hope. Although that will probably entail writing until 1 AM instead of 10 PM.

I have been keeping this blog through pneumonia, two broken ribs, taking a leave of absence from my job as a lead game designer, and more. It has helped.

So be kind as you look at my naked, decontextualized body of dissertation writing. I know these aren't the best sentences you've ever seen. They certainly aren't the best sentences I've ever written. For some of those, check out my published articles and design manifestos.


P.S. Here's best sentence #70-whatever-I'm-up-to:

All built environments, computer-augmented or not, are symbolically encoded, and therefore possess a virtual aspect.


Blogger Ong said...

I applaud your efforts. I just finished my Master's degree only 2 weeks ago and I must say that a PhD seems particularly daunting at this juncture. Hang in there :)

9:29 AM  
Blogger hucpuc said...

What a great idea for a blog! I'm working on my Ph.D. in anthropology, and am interested in how technology changes the way people work, so the content of your sentences is of interest to me. It's great to see a motivation technique in action, too. Misery loves company. Congrats on the "Blog of Note" distinction!

9:42 AM  
Blogger Buffy said...

I need your writing ethic! :)

10:05 AM  
Blogger Melanie said...

Beautifully written. I can't imagine anyone being anything but gracious and kind over here after reading your well-chosen words. Kudos!

11:02 AM  
Blogger Daniel said...

Jane, you are an inspiration. On behalf of all the procrastinating grad students out there, thank you for doing this! I'll definitely be subscribing...

12:53 PM  
Anonymous mimi said...

Jane, wow! You are so focused! I don't know how it is humanly possible! My hat is off to you! I am writing my thesis in physiology (same deadlines as you, incidentally). We have (much) less writing per se but then some of those figures take forever to make! I like that your blog opens up a window onto something completely different for me. Keep up the good work! You'll make it!

8:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

as a writer who appreciates a good sentence, i'm glad i've stumbled across your blog.

i return the favor with a link to something that might make you smile as you struggle through your studies:

8:44 PM  
Blogger Román Luján said...

Inspiring, just as poetry

10:49 PM  
Blogger dimmi said...

This is such an interesting idea for a blog.

I hope I remember this idea and do something similar when my time comes.

10:51 PM  
Blogger one ben bir sey said...


11:12 PM  
Blogger NO_PANICO said...

Ola muito legal o seu blog você esta de parabéns, passa la no meu e deixa seu comentario também kiss

11:44 PM  
Blogger Over My Head said...

You're too cool for school, even.

12:43 AM  
Blogger PanzerPope said...

Sounds like you have been through a lot recenly, other than hte stress of writing your thesis. Everything with a grain of salt. Sometimes having your life on the web can suck. But it sounds like you have a lot of support too. Good luck.

2:22 AM  
Blogger Antonia said...

That's a very interesting field you're describing as your research interest! And a tricky one to do a PhD for... I had taken an undergrad class some years ago that sound remotely similar to what you wrote. While I loved it, I must applaud your discipline tackling a dissertation leading to PhD! All the best to you.

4:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw your blog this morning, but haven't had a chance to really read through it all... However, as I was just catching up on reading through many comments on several of the Lost Experience boards and picked up a link regarding ARGs from one of the posts.

Just thought you'd be interested to know that you were mentioned in this particular article:

7:13 AM  
Blogger chumly said...

Thanks for keeping those sentences alive and well. I wish I had a spell check, sentence check, paragraph check and puncuation check when I write. The prozac takes care of the other checks I need. Keep writing please, it is a noted blog of note.

7:34 AM  
Blogger Jane Lake said...

Good luck. You have an interesting concept!

7:51 AM  
Blogger h2 said...

nice stuff, you should check out William Gibson if you haven't read him yet.

8:00 AM  
Blogger wan a. rafar said...

I just discovered your blog. It interesting, I appreciate it. Congrats on the "Blog of Note" distinction.

9:10 AM  
Blogger said...

I find your absolute devotion to blogging to be pretty inspirational. I struggle to post something everyday, and often end up squeeking something out a few times a week. But now I"ll be reminding myself that at least I don't have broken ribs.

10:46 AM  
Blogger PatentPrincess said...

I just finished writing my PhD dissertation (for chemistry) and am now facing my defense in a couple of weeks. I can definitely relate to the long days in front of the computer screen trying to piece chapters together and wondering how my committee would take them. Best of luck as you complete the dissertation writing process.


1:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you sound as though you enjoy writing. does it ever frustrate you not to be writing from yourself?

just wondering.

5:00 PM  
Blogger Inexplicably Yours, M. said...

I like your writing! Your interesting. I had a Possibly Made up word of the day in my blog. Haha my sister told it to me over the phone today. It was so random. It's at the bottom of my last blog. Go check it out!

5:29 PM  
Blogger The One and Only said...

Very cool. I enjoyed reading your post and your perspective is serious and funny at the same time. I followed some of your links and I ended up discovering your sister who also has a Ph.D. Your parents must be proud :)

8:49 PM  
Blogger thewritegirl said...

Congrats on being a BoN!

9:52 PM  
Blogger Soulfull said...

Hey! Great concept you have here. Congrats on being a "Blog of Note" for the second time around and I wish you much success on your journey! :)

7:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

whow that's good lookin out
great job.

12:45 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

You are quite an interesting person - I'll have to be sure to come back often!

2:31 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

I had to meet with a career counsellor to keep me going on my Master's project - I can relate to your struggles! Keep it going - there's only light at the end of that tunnel.

2:41 PM  
Blogger somethingpaulasaid said...

I liked this.

8:54 PM  
Blogger Marty said...

So, it sounds like this is a study in textualizing the inner metaphysical thought of someone who's theorizing a dissertation.
I don't know what any of those big words I just used mean.

haha (I am Kidding.)

Good luck with the diss. I personally would get sidetracked a lot by wanting to throw in pop culture references, kick-ass action sequences, and just
general goofiness. ;)

2:34 PM  
Blogger Trevor said...

Congratulations on the Note, and on getting so close so quickly. That's some work ethic you've got. Wow!

4:45 PM  
Blogger Torien said...

I just wandered here from my dashboard as you say, and I was astounded to find such an insightfully crafted blog, with a focus on something very dear to my heart :-) Keep up the good work

5:31 PM  
Blogger Luthia said...

it really moved me...i dont know how to express what your sincerity made me feel...thanks

6:51 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

I'm new to Blogger, but was surprised to click on the Blog of Note and see a somewhat familiar face! I've checked the Avant Game blog a time or two.

I'm so glad that people like you are analyzing games from an anthropological, academic standpoint. I've always felt like many video games are like modern myths. Wrote a term paper on the idea last year, but it needs more work.... I'll be checking back here for more inspiration!

2:00 PM  

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