Timing and the American Gun Show

After announcing and opening the American Gun Show at Works SJ this weekend I have heard a few comments regarding the timing of the event. To explain this for those not up on the 24 hour news cycle in the US this is in response to the mass shooting that took place in Oregon on a community college campus on October 1st.

This is not a coincidence. That is not to say that we anticipated this heartbreaking event, but that there have been as many mass shootings in the US as there have been weeks this year. This is a tragedy, there is no time to talk about gun culture and gun violence without the specter of a mass killing to provide context. This is a national tragedy, and something needs to be done about this, but somehow I doubt the American people have the political will to do so. I would have expected swift action after the Sandy Hook tragedy, but there was none, and now with the tragedy of the week I am afraid that this has become the new normal. By normal I do not mean acceptable, but rather predictable. Watch the headlines and wait.

When we curated this show it was to talk about the deep cultural roots and representation of the gun in the American psyche, and in fact it seems that everyone has a gun story, good or bad. The sad truth is that both sides of the debate agree that we don’t want another massacre but because we are fighting what amounts to the other half of the population we can never figure out how to move forward. In the process of bringing this show together with my co-curator, I have experienced some of the most reasonable conversations with enthusiasts, and this makes the demonization that I am seeing in social media hard to deal with. If we don’t talk, this will never be addressed. If we fight each other and keep repeating “There is no reasoning with ‘them'” then there will be no conversation and the country will move on just like it did after 20 children were shot dead in 2012.

I have been paying attention too, which is to say that there sure are some steps that we might take, but this post is not about my opinions on that. We will not move forward if it is us against them, we have not moved forward.

Though this is an election year, all the noise is about hunkering down and getting the other side to give. I won’t even wish you luck with that one, you are however welcome to come to the table and have a conversation with other reasonable people.

I have been accused of being naive on this, that there is no way to make a change with talking (because “they” won’t listen), but my other option is to do nothing, and I opt for action and conversation.


What have I been up to this last year?

The annual review process is upon us at SJSU,  and part of that is reflecting on what we did in the previous two semesters.  This is an excerpt from that information, with some added narrative and some handy links that can be followed.  (The information I turned in was printed from an electronic copy, as a reviewer I would not retype any of these horrible links, and as an author I cannot bring myself to make nice links for all of these.  I do plan to use the blog a little more in the future as it makes simple, type able links.

I need to be very clear on this, I am not claiming to be the intellectual light behind these projects, occasionally I am following along, but frequently there is a deep pedagogic intent and the event represents a culmination of weeks or months of work.


Instructure Con (June 17-21) – Attended national Learning Management System conference for Canvas LMS (SJSU’s LMS) in Park City Utah. Networked with administration and made contacts with internal developers and vendors. This happens at the tail end of my work with faculty and Academic Technology, and is amazingly helpful in terms of understanding both the technology and connect with people both inside the

ATM MOOC — Created free public online Massive Open Online Course with Elizabeth Tu of the Center for Faculty Development. Ran the course Sept 8 – Oct 19 on Canvas Network. research https://learn.canvas.net/courses/391 This is not very visible to the outside world, I thought it would be simple to open it up so it is becoming more of a basic rewrite.  The MOOC ran 6 weeks with over 800 participating accounts. We offered no badges and no certificates, in the beginning it was hugely intimidating and we distanced ourselves lest we be overwhelmed.

Service to Students

Game Development Club at SJSU faculty advisor.

Circle K International faculty advisor.

Scholarly, Creative or Professional Achievements

Faculty Exhibition, Peacecraft, SJSU, CA, created a new LLC and exhibition of parody of World of Warcraft encouraging individuals to “choose peace”

AVAIR, Irina Kotyurgina, Alexander Kiryutin, Nikita Rokotyan, Regina Muftakhova, & Zhenya Chaika, Minecraft. Administered Artist Residency in Minecraft environment, placed call charged jury and conducted winners thru work and class presentations with Art 74.

Futur en Seine, customized machine based on arcade cabinet software with five games and launcher to represent SJSU game development at Futur en Seine.

7th Annual SubZERO Street Festival, Arcade Cabinets, Games and Art Exchange. Represented game development by presenting two arcade cabinets with games made by students and sponsored Art Alliance a multidisciplinary art club.

Maker Faire, Litewall and Interactive Projects, Best in Class & 2 Editors Choice awards.

Rockage 3.0, Arcade Cabinets and Development Presentation, San José, CA. Presented student games in cabinets and as a destination booth in main space, led panel of SJSU Game Development including student developers and games.


Applying Gamification to College Student Retention and Graduation:
Play Test and Pilot Study, Stephanie J. Coopman, Ge Gao, James Morgan, Ted M. Coopman.

Morgan, J., Mungan R. Y. 2104. Fine Arts, Culture and Creativity in Minecraft. In Understanding Minecraft: Essays on Play, Community and Possibilities, N. Garrelts, Ed. McFarland & Company, Jefferson, NC.  “an engrossing and thorough read for gamers…exhaustively researched and thoroughly cited…the reading is lively and active with an approachable tone and style”–Library Journal.

participation in professional associations and meetings

Game Developers Conference March 20, 2014 attended and participated in Lost Levels.

Instructure Con (June 17-21) – Attended national Learning Management System conference for Canvas LMS (SJSU’s LMS). Networked with administration and made contacts with internal developers and vendors.

ARGFest (July 31-Aug 2) – Attended national conference on Alternate Reality Gaming and networked with educators, vendors and organizers.

IndieCade, October 9-12, attended national conference of independent game developers, scholars and researchers.

other scholarly, creative or professional achievements

Global Game Jam 2014 – Organized and led SJSU participation in international game development event, mentored students and facilitated continued development afterwards.

Art of Innovation event at San Jose Convention Center, presented arcade cabinet, student developers and games Feb 19

Rikoshe Hackathon Friday Feb 21 – facilitated interdisciplinary game development hackathon with local company Rikoshe focused on their HTML5 based technology and startup.

Los Gatos Museums of Art Annual High School Show 2014 – Juror.

Downtown Doors 2014 -Juror.

PS I & II March 6; DW Mar 18 – Led technology workshops for faculty focused on Photoshop and Dreamweaver.

Special reading group (March 2014) for Ready Player One. Worked with Scott Guenter to create and facilitate as special reading program of the book Ready Player One aimed at game players and designers on campus. Facilitated three on campus conversations about the book.

Lunch Bytes: Gamification and Online Teaching and Advising March 11 with Ted and Stephanie Coopman.

Saga of Erik the Viking – Guided individual study for Tim Huynh, Arturo Mireamontes and James Jones to create mobile game. Guided production and served as “product owner.” Team was most concerned with finishing the project so they could move on, succeded shortly after semester.

Summer Independent Project to buildout new arcade cabinet with SJSU students at TechShop. Secured funding and donations, organized team and built new platform for presentation of SJSU games at local TechShop.

Sponsored students to submit work to IndieCade. Mentored and coached John & Glenn Pham to submit work to festival and attend IndieXchange (Pre Event Developer Summit).

Mentored graduate student Ricardo Cortez for Graduate Equity fellowship, recommended and mentored for one year across TAing his first course as teacher of record and Advancement to Candidacy.  (Spr 14 / Fall 15)

Intel / SJSU rapid prototyping faculty mentor. Mentored student groups in cross disciplinary collaboration between humanities and engineering.

My Political Feminist BS

I had the pleasure of co-authoring a chapter over break with Yagiz Mungan about our work in Minecraft as it relates to the arts and gaming.

Yagiz was such a pleasure to work with, and as far as I can tell our writing styles and working schedules combine well. I hope the chapter ends up being successful though I have to give up all rights to it in order to get it published (another rant perhaps).

Anyhow we were dividing, organizing and writing and I ended up dropping an inspirational quote into one of the areas.  I think it was Scott Adams, and I have to confess I was just trying to see if I liked the format or if it would be a distraction.  I rolled this around for a few days and it occured to me to ask myself: “what exactly are we doing with these quotes?”  It didn’t feel right. Upon further reflection (and especially after screening Anita Sarkeesian’s videos for my game studies class) that I should be using quotes by a woman.

“This shouldn’t be difficult…” I remember thinking. Boy was I wrong.  I ended up fishing around on the internet and consulting our librarian before I was able to fine significant quotes BY women rather than ABOUT women. About has a nice list of Quotes by Women and I located a great book in the library.

In the end I think we had four quotes, and now we wait to see if the editor notices our little subversion or if the style even matches with the rest of the work. It is the least I could do.

I realized sometime during the break that I am part of the problem, and this is a tiny step to create a shift in MY thinking.


money buys happiness

Maybe I should rephrase that, but on First Friday I bought a moment of happiness with money. And nothing illegal took place and it only cost me a dollar.

Someone was feeling down and feeling the economic pinch. I remembered reading that giving away money actually made people happier so I decided to do some guerrilla philanthropy.

We argued  about the single dollar, and eventually pushed it off and I walked away with a smile. The caveat was that this person also had to give it away and their report was that giving away a buck made them happy too. Unfortunately it sorta stopped there as it went promptly into a tip jar.


Boxing Day Projects

front door

Classes finished and grades were due on December 21st. In the span of four days since then I have picked up a few projects and have started fishing through previous requests that came in which I was unable to fully deal with because of the semester.

I realized that I have exactly a week this year to play around, to tweek and toy with things until I have to get serious again. With that in mind I am working hard during the xmas – NYE time to get as much done as possible because after that it is really about deadlines again.



Old Phone – New Phone

I lost my phone at the beginning of May. This was a bit annoying as it really is difficult to stay connected without a phone, especially while traveling.

I made it through the month with only a few minor hiccups (sorry if you were one), and I have come to the realization that I need to let my old phone number go. So goodbye 408-421-1588 the years were good, but it is time to move on, especially with the breaking up of the area code (no longer to be the 408).  It doesn’t look like 669 is available yet, so I will either roll the dice or pick a word for an alternate phone number.

This idea comes from a colleague at UCSD who routinely changes his phone number every couple of years.  I suppose that people who want to get in touch will find me, but I also expect a little drop off of people who only have the one number. To those folks I am sorry.

There is a lot of change taking place this summer, and at this point I am really looking forward to it.  I have been stuck in a rut this last year trying to please people who don’t give a shit about what I am doing. It is time to move on, and this is an example of change.

So if you have my Google Number 864——- that is where I can be reached and it will eventually forward to my new phone when I manage to replace it.


the month of may and the semester

I think this is the best description of the spring 2012 semester:

It seems like a bit of an omen too after a few conversations around the school.  Perhaps less so.