Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Coffee in Cyberia on the Keweenaw

(*note about my use of first person: my earlier intentions to clarify and separate digital identity as Beeble from my organic identity as an academic explorer have become too cumbersome to continue...my lower case "i" to represent Beeble and my upper case "I" to represent my flesh have not been consistently applied, so from here on I'll use only the traditional capitalized "I" leaving readers to negotiate them)

It's been a while since my last posting, and even with my dismissals of the 'reality' of digital realms like Second Life, I've found myself feeling a bit guilty that I haven't been in more frequently, visiting established friends and making new ones. What can I say? I like my first life quite a bit!
Right now I am vacationing on the Keweenaw Peninsula, a small 'thumb' of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan that juts out into the middle of Lake Superior. Anyone who has sweltered through the suffocating hot & humid summers in Richmond will understand why I escape to the cooler climes of the UP. Though they have their hotter days (mid 80's to 90 max) most of the time, the weather here is breezy, sunny and in the mid 70's - a delightful contrast!

Above you can see the location of the peninsula and a typical view Lake Superior.

I'm writing from Cyberia Cafe in Houghton, Michigan run by Steve, and I have to say it's a connected coffee lounge! Though I can't seem to run Second Life on their PC's I hope to interest Steve in taking Cyberia into SL as well so past customers can check in and say hi in some visible form, from anywhere in the world.

I learned about Cyberia when I came up for the 2005 Computers InWriting Intensive Classrooms conference (CIWIC) at Michigan Tech hosted by Cynthia Selfe who now teaches at Ohio State University. In the interdisciplinary field of composition and computers, Selfe is a respected researcher who has advanced our understanding of digital tools, their application to teaching and their impact on us. If she has the time, perhaps Beeble will have to interview her about the pedagogical potential of SL.

I'm heading out on the peninsula for some camping in real life, complete with the soothing rhythms of Superior and the scintillating scents of the vast forests on the peninsula - but I'll be back to report and continue my explorations of SL.