"This is life inside the Panopticon. It's changed a lot since I started this site, but it's still interesting, it's still diverse, and most importantly... it's still mine. Mostly. Professor, governor, musician, virtual caretaker, station owner, radio DJ... it's been an interesting ride so far. Since you're here, allow me to explain.
Business first. I'm an Assistant Professor in the School of Broadcast and Cinematic Arts at Central Michigan University. I currently teach our introductory and advanced Online Electronic Media courses (social media and web design) as well as our graduate seminar course. I'm also the faculty advisor for our local chapter of NBS-AERho, the National Electronic Media Association. Starting in the fall of 2018, I'll be taking on Film criticism as my primary focus, which I've wanted since I started teaching! It's very exciting!
In November of 2009 I successfully defended my Doctoral Dissertation, and in March of 2010 I officially graduated from Ohio University with my Ph.D. in Electronic Media Arts. My dissertation focused on the formation of identity, community, and culture in online text-based role-playing games, which is linked to my long-time association with Aurealan Realms MUD (more on that below). Prior to my Ph.D., I received my Master's Degree in Broadcast and Cinematic Arts from the same school I teach for currently. Before that, I earned my Bachelor's Degree in Mass-Mediated Communication from Adrian College.
In 2013, I completed a multi-year project, a 30-minute news-style documentary on the current state of gamer culture called The Gamer Evolution. This documentary, which branches off my dissertation, looks (briefly) at the history of gaming and gamer culture, addresses one of the biggest negative (and false) legends about gaming and gamers, and then looks at the four dominant myths still believed about gamers in the 21st century. The documentary contains interviews with experts in various related fields, as well as interviews with several gamers/. The documentary received two Communicator awards, and both the trailer and the full documentary can now be viewed on the website.
In March of 2012, I was elected to the Board of Governors for the National Broadcasting Society, for which I am currently the faculty advisor of the Central Michigan University chapter. I am also the webmaster for the NBS national organization. Our 2018 Convention is February 27th through March 3rd in Washington DC!
Outside of school, I am a home-studio musician, and have been active in vocal performance since the elementary school. Since then, I've done one opera, many comic operas, musicals, the occasional dramatic stageplay, and have been fortunate enough to be part of two different bands. Most recently, I was as a vocalist with a folk/rock band, "Bob Stewart and Friends" down in Athens, Ohio. I also run my own small weblishing company, called The CyberSinger's Cafe' (or CSC for short), and have since 1995. Originally specializing in non-profit arts organizations, CSC now handles web-design for a wide variety of small, local businesses and organizations.
For many years, I ran a MUD called Aurealan Realms, which I inherited from its creator (James Rhone, aka Vall) in November of 1997. The MUD was shut down in January of 2012. By and large, the world has moved on from text-based online roleplaying to graphic roleplaying, so there was no reason to leave it running any longer. The MUD was the laboratory (or sorts) for my dissertation, and it will always have a warm spot in my heart, thanks to the many friends I made during its active years. Additionally, the writing on the MUD, done by a wide variety of very talented artists over the years, was some of the best I'd ever seen in this venue. In Fall of 2017, as a test site to help a former player start up his own ARMUD, I places Aurealan Realms back online, this time under its original name of Realms of Aurealis. The website is www.realmsofaurealis.com and the MUD itself is online at realmsofaurealis.com:4000
My friend Jamie Breckenridge and I created a virtual memorial to one of the best friends either of us have ever had, Michael "Big Daddy Pi" Pyorala. I visit the site every day to make sure no one has defaced it, polluted the guestbook with spam ads, and to otherwise ensure it is as pristine and peaceful as it was the day we created it. Rest in peace, Pi. We still miss you, every single day.
My primary area of study is Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games. I am currently playing both Diablo III and Secret World: Legends on my own, as well as a weekly gaming session with my friend Dark Lu on Final Fantasy XIV. My first MMO love, City of Heroes, was closed down at the end of November, 2012. I am looking forward to one of the "spiritual successors" of CoH, City of Titans, which is currently scheduled to open in November of 2015. I have also joined a research co-hort studying Second Life, and have built a virtual lounge for SoR Radio (below), although we broadcast live from Club Carnage every Thursday night. One of the continuing draws of these MMOs (for me) is that I am able, through the marvel of modern technology, to play with many old friends, as well as many new friends made through the game, all across the continent.
From 2007 to 2010, I was a part of a streaming radio station, now closed down, called w00t Radio which catered to the players of MMORPGs. I started as a DJ, doing two shows there, and eventually rising to become the Station Manager, working with my good friend Michael "DJ Jester" Theis. My primary show was the Theatre of the Mind, which featured a wide variety of film and television soundtracks and scores, spanning several decades. As with all things, however, Michael decided to call it quits, and as much as I miss the station, I agree that it was time.
This, however, and other hazelnut-related incidents (feel free to ask, but I've chosen not to speak of it publicly), led to the creation of a streaming radio station, which went live on March 1st, 2012, called SoR Radio. "SoR" stands for Spirit of Resistance" and it's the flagship program on the station (and was a Summer terrestrial broadcast program from 2005-2011). I am one of eight owners of the station, and currently do two weekly broadcasts. The first is The School of Rock Thursday nights from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. Eastern.
The second requires a little explanation. I was very moved by the Supreme Court's decision to make gay marriage legal in all 50 states. Realizing that, even with the ruling, same-sex couples would be facing an uphill battle finding someone to officiate at their weddings, I joined the Univesal Life Church and became ordained as a reverend. A friend mentioned that, as far as his recollection went, to be seen as "official" in the eyes of the Michigan state government, one had to be ordained *and* have a congregation. So, I transformed my second weekly show into the Church of Classic Rock. As I say at the beginning of every show, "No religion but what you bring with you, just an expression of love for the greatest music ever written and the semi-decadent lifestyle that goes along with it." I try to bring history and a positive message to every broadcast, which airs Sunday mornings from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. The program is also released as a weekly podcast from its website at www.churchofclassicrock.org. You can subscribe on iTunes and stitcher.com as well!
In June of 1998, I started Prof J's Movie Reviews, but retired it in May of 2006. The reviews are still there, however, and someday I may return to reviewing. In 2016, however, with two friends, I restarted my foray into reviewing as a podcast entitled "Two Geeks and a G.I.T." (the G.I.T. stands for "Geek-in-Training"), which lives at www.twogeeksandagit.com. We're currently headed for our 100th film reviewed since we began (in May of this year) and have established a growing, loyal subscriber base. You can also subscribe to this podcast on iTunes and stitcher.com as well!
This information is current as of February 3rd, 2018. Thanks for your interest, but seriously... if you've read this far, you're either A) me, B) lost, or C) really, really bored (but thanks all the same :)." -Jeff