"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 BCA 332: Online Electronic Media (web design), BCA 533: Advanced Online Electronic Media, BCA 612: Electronic Media Seminar (currently an Audience Analysis course), serve as the Multi-Media Unit Head for my school, serve as the Internship Director, and I'm the faculty advisor for the local chapter of the National Broadcasting Society and the Alpha Epsilon Rho Professional Broadcasting Fraternity.
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 Telecommunications. 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 from the same School I currently teach at. Before that, I earned my Bachelor's Degree 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 2016 Convention is March 13th through the 17th in Los Angeles and the students are really excited about it!
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. It now exists in extensive archives, carefully preserved, as is AR's legacy.
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 Neverwinter Nights Online and Marvel Heroes Online as my primaries. 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). 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 new streaming radio station, which went live on March 1st, 2012, called SoR Radio. "SoR" stands for "School of Rock" which is the flagship program on the station (and was a Summer terrestrial broadcast program from 2005-2011). I am one of seven owners of the station, and currently do two weekly broadcasts. The first is The School of Rock Tuesday 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, 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.
I am also a retired reviewer of Films. I started Prof J's Movie Reviews in June of 1998, and retired it in May of 2006. The reviews are still there, however, and someday I may return to reviewing. For now, however, I only review films verbally when I talk to people.
This information is current as of March 11th, 2016. Thanks for your interest, but seriously... if you've read this far, you're either A) Me, B) delusional, or C) really, really bored (but thanks all the same :)." -Jeff