April 2013

Henley-on-Thames
April 29, 2013

Walking along the Thames River (Reading to Henley-on-Thames)

The Thames River Trail is a national walking path that opened in 1996 and stretches 294 km (184 miles) from the source of the Thames in the Cotwolds, through London, and out to the sea. The trail is fairly well-marked and passes through numerous rolling meadows, rural villages and historical sites. Many sections of the trail use the original old towpath as well. I am an avid hiker and jumped at the opportunity to walk a small stretch of the longest river in England (someday I would love to hike the entire trail!)

Thames River Trail

Thames River Trail

 

I began in Reading and walked to Henley-on-Thames, exploring the villages of Sonning and Shiplake along the way, and returned via rail. This section of the trail is quite rural. I only saw a few other people on the trail (many of which were near Henley-on-Thames).

2 feet. 6 hours. 26 kilometres. 380 photographs. 38420 steps. Here we go!

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Jack Russell Terrier playing with a ball, image from Wikimedia Commons
April 26, 2013

Do Animals Play Games?

I recently received comments on a piece of writing I had submitted that, like all good peer reviewer feedback, has enabled me to re-examine some of my assumptions (about game culture in particular). Two questions the reviewer raised were: “What is particular about the relation of games to culture?”  and“Could we say that games are designed to resist attributions of significance?”

For me, the keywords here are culture and designed. While the questions themselves lay outside the scope of the work, I believe they nevertheless sit at the heart of many curiosities about games; they not only question the cultural relevance of games, but also their very fabrication. Game scholars oftentimes state that games are products of cultural expression, for this belief stems from an understanding of games as meaning-making systems, which inherently incorporate strict behavioural models. Do games truly stem from culture? Do they portray signs of signification?

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Trinity College, Cambridge
April 15, 2013

Cambridge in 26 photographs

As I am getting ready to head out tomorrow, I wanted to share some of the pictures I’ve taken while wandering around Cambridge and Cambridgeshire. I have spent the last ten days here working in the archives at various colleges and exploring this lovely little town.

One trend in Cambridge that I saw immediately was the near ubiquity of wicker baskets on bicycles:

The lone bicycle

The lone bicycle

 

All in a row

All in a row

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My workstation at the Cambridge University Library
April 8, 2013

#DayofDH: A Day in the Life of a Digital Medievalist

‘Day of DH’ is an annual online event celebrating the projects, work, groups and people involved in digital humanities (DH). Members, for the most part, tweet and blog about their daily activities as digital humanists, which provides insight in the DH field, elicits discussions among researchers, and creates a sense of community. If you are wondering what ‘Digital Humanities’ is, the term is difficult to define and responses vary widely among researchers. This ambiguity, I believe, adds to the appeal of the event since you can explore various ideas, responses, and definitions from every member here. This year the event is hosted by MSU’s own DH center: MATRIX: The Center for the Digital Humanities & Social Sciences.

You can also follow along today by visiting dayofdh2013.matrix.msu.edu or through Twitter with the hashtag #dayofdh.

I’ve been following the ‘Day of DH’ for a few years now, but was always a bit shy to participate. This year I decided to send in my post (now that my life is a little more interesting!) I’ve written the original post here, and have copied it below for your reading pleasure. I am not usually the sort of person to write about what I had for lunch (etc), but it seems relevant to discuss these types of things in a post about one’s daily activities. So here goes:

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London College of Arms
April 2, 2013

An Afternoon in the Archives at London’s College of Arms

One of the remarkable things about gaming texts is that they tend to show up in seemingly random places. Whether they are hastily scratched onto the back of some poor parchment wrapper or carefully scripted in a lovely illuminated manuscript, the range of manuscripts in which game texts appear attest to their popularity and variegated audience. But this variation also often means that one must tread to unlikely places to find them (and they sometimes take a scholar on quite a journey as well). One such chess treatise in London, which I had the pleasure of consulting, resides in a very unlikely place: the London College of Arms.

College of Arms engraving, c. 1756

College of Arms engraving, c. 1756

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