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Brandon's Blog Page

Page history last edited by BrandonLesko 12 years, 11 months ago

A Bro lives his life as a dude who chills with other Bros.  A Bro studies what it means to live the good life and interact with others in a chill manner. He loves frisbee, GameCube, visors, Jack Johnson and Brohemian Rhapsody. I live my life as a student and a Bro. I write this Wiki to inform the world of the plight of the Bro. Bros are a breed of gods amongst men.  They elevate themselves to a status sought after by mere mortals, for they hold the ultimate wisdom in life.  The Bro represents the creme de la creme of any high school or university campus. Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008.


Descriptive words in purple--imagine what happens without them! You actually did well here with strong verbs. I didn't see too many "is" and "are" verbs employed.  Your choices of "loves" and inform" provide strong action verbs, and the phrase "gods amongst men" slays me!  It leverages that wimpy "are" into something memorable.


First Blog:

   I have never blogged before and I am not quite sure what to expect from it. I am aware that it is now becoming a more digital means to communicate with people. CNN has something called IReporting where they have digital reporters broadcast themselves from either webcams or via blog entries. Even famous athletes have taken to blogging including Gilbert Arenas, Kobe Bryant, Curt Schilling and even some weightlifters have their own blogs. Now it is my turn to enter the realm of cyberspace and to share my experiences with the world about the life of a freshman here at the University of Richmond. I will try to write as much as I can about what I see and do. I will also provide accounts of what goes on in English 103 and Second Life. Second Life is something else that I am unfamiliar with, but am looking forward to the challenge of operating in two lives instead of one. 


Choosing My Avatar: 9/11/08

I chose my avatar because to be honest it was the closest thing to myself that I could find. I tried to make him like me as much as I could, including height and build. I then gave him hair that is unlike mine. VinceGold's hair is long and stylist whereas mine in reality is not long but somewhat stylish I would like to think. I also decided to dress him in a black suit because as ZZ top said best "Every girl's crazy bout a sharp dressed man." He is also modeled off of one my favorite characters in the HBO hit television series "Entourage". Ari Gold played by Jeremy Piven is the agent of Hollywood star Vincent Chase, played by Adrian Grenier. Other than those reasons and simply wanting to look as cool as I could, there is no real explanation as to why I created my avatar to look the way he does. 


Blog on Scavenger Hunt 

 The Scavenger hunt has really helped introduce me to Second Life and al the intricate details with regards to being a resident. The most difficult part of Second Life so far are taking pictures. I had a picture of myself underneath the IBM sign at the Svarga Temple but it wont load. Fortunately a member of my group was able to send me a picture somewhat similar to the one that I originally took.  

Scavenger Hunt Blog Post Deux:


The scavenger hunt has concluded with my group being declared the winner. Unfortunately, I did not participate as much as I would have liked. Chris did a great job by himself completing the majority of the project. Although my contributions were small, it did teach me in more detail how to use Second Life. Im still not a big fan of the camera/snapshot system  or maybe I just am not very good with taking pictures, or just SL in general. My goal is to get better at being a resident in SL so I can fully integrate myself into the SL world. Im enjoying my time in SL and I hope my difficulties with the camera wont discourage any progress I hope to make. 


Wikipedia Smackdown 10/15/08


For this blog entry, the subject that I chose was the referendum passed for my High School in 2006. The original posting was as follows: 

The referendum passed by an overwhelming 2/3 majority, and renovations are set to take place in two phases.

I added information to the end of the wiki to say: "Prior to this, a first referendum was passed on November 7th, 2006 unanimously by the Lake Forest High School Board of Education. This referendum was later passed on to the rest of the community and appropriated $ 54 million to be paid back over the next 20 years."

 I felt that the information was somewhat incomplete and did not provide adequate detail that was necessary for a better understanding of Lake Forest High School. It is important that Wikipedia keeps itself current at all times, including even relatively minor changes in high school districts across America. 

I found the relevant information from an issue of the Lake Forest High School Newsletter which can be found here



 Dennis Baron Claim 10/16/08

The major claim made by Dennis Baron in his article " From Pencils to Pixels" is: That the way we communicate through technology has evolved significantly of the course of human history, starting with the pencil and ending with the computer, but that this evolution will surely continue in the future. These adaptations are initially met with skepticism but eventually are accepted and over time become the status quo with some hostility looking back on past methods.

 Baron does digress however, in the paragraph entitled "Humanists and Technology" with regards to the Unabomber targeting computer scientists and technological engineers.


 Academic Article Analysis of a Dennis Baron Source 10/21/08


 Eisenstein, Elizabeth L. The Printing Press as an Agent of Change. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press. 1979. 


  Dennis Baron cited Elizabeth Eisenstein's work The Printing Press as an Agent of Change as one of his sources. This is a source that I am familiar with and have actually used for a paper on the Printing Press during my freshman year of high school. The main argument that Eisenstein makes is that the printing press served as a new and fast means for a dissemination of ideas. No longer would a person need to have their ideas re copied by hand, instead it gave that individual the power to mass produce their idea for much cheaper then it would be to have someone recopy it. She further argues that the evolution of the printing press was a critical tool for the Reformation as well as the discoveries made by Nicholas Copernicus and Galileo as well as by Martin Luther in the from of the Reformation. He included it as a source because of the evidence that it gives with regards to how technology evolves and the impact that it can have on a society. More specifically about how it gave the individual the power to seemingly change the world and how the technology at first was not embraced widely, but soon the usefulness of the technology was seen and widely accepted as well as used. 


 Final Topic Focus Blog 10/28/08

 For the Final Topic, my main focus will be the subject of addiction. When most people hear the word addiction they think of primarily drugs or cigarettes or even in some rare cases sex. (Who knew you could become addicted to sex?). Narrowing my point down further, I will focus on what causes someone to continually be addicted to SL even after they have become successful in world, or after their goals (whatever they may be) have been met.  The focus will also be at what point is someone said to be addicted?  Days, months even years are spent in SL and I want to know what what point is someone a Second Life addict, compared to World of Warcraft where there are definite end goals. 

 My first source


Sun, De-Lin, et al. "Computer Games: A Double-Edged Sword?." CyberPsychology & Behavior 11.5 (Oct. 2008): 545-548.Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. . 30 Oct. 2008 <http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=34477174&site=ehost-live>.

 This source appears to be the most informative at first glance because it details how internet gaming can be both informative but at the same time how they can also lead to an addiciton amongst children and teens in their formative years.


 Second Source

 Meenan, Anna L. "Internet Gaming: A Hidden Addiction". American Family Physician; 10/15/2007, Vol. 76 Issue 8, p1116-1117, 2p. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. 29 October 2009. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=27084078&site=ehost-live


This source most clearly addresses what subject I am trying to explore, internet gaming addiction and how it impacts idnviduals who play.


Third Source


Lo, Shao-Kang, Chih-Chien Wang, and Wenchang Fang. "Physical Interpersonal Relationships and Social Anxiety among Online Game Players." CyberPsychology & Behavior 8.1 (Feb. 2005):  15-20. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. . 28 Oct. 2008 <http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=16278545&site=ehost-live>. 

 I chose this for my third source because it details another reason why people decide to immerse themselves in gaming, mainly because they feel frustrated with their real life or face external pressures and resort to internet gaming to relieve their emotions.


For my final source, I chose this publication because it deals with a major focal point of my final project: anxiety and social issues and how being unable to handle social situations can cause people to seek refuge in alternate worlds.

Caplan, Scott E. "Relations Among Loneliness, Social Anxiety, and Problematic Internet Use." CyberPsychology & Behavior10.2 (Apr. 2007): 234-242. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO 3 Nov. 2008 <http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=25963249&site=ehost-live>.



Novemeber 5th Blog Entry


 In class, we had a classmate identify what they interpreted to be a major claim in the Gender and Race Switch. She identified my major claim, (which was what I had designated as the major claim as well) and gave me 10 implications that could me be insinuated from my major claim and this caused me to go back and edit certain parts of my major claim. I realized that words might have a different meaning online than they do on person because it is obvious that a person's inner reading voice is much different than that of their actual speaking/listening voice. This could lead to some confusion if the context of the words are different. To eliminate this confusion, I edited my major claim to clearly reflect the idea that i was trying to show, and for that I thank Bridget immensely. 


Wikipedia SmackDown Part Deux Entry November 13th 2008

I scoured the Wikipedia article about Lake Forest High School including clicking the history tab at the top of the page. There were no actual notable changes that had been made. However there were no changes, except for one regarding the Girls Field Hockey team, but that was not germane to what I had posted.  The reason for the lack of changes may be because the topic is so narrow and it would require someone with experience and knowledge of the recent changes to Lake Forest High School, to make alterations to the article or to make any additions. Just for fun I will continue to check if anyone had made any alterations to the article. 



Response to I, Avatar 


 I recently bought Mark Meadows's book I, Avatar, seemingly on a whim. Well actually I bought it based on the cover and the fact that I had heard so much about it in class that I thought it might be a good idea to buy it and possibly incorporate it with my final project. In the readings that I have done "Virtual Work", "Autonomous Avatars and the Very Near Future" and "The Children of New Migration" I felt that Meadows makes several valid and interesting points.  I found the chapter on "Virtual Work" to be fascinating where he talks about buying and selling his products and how he knew someone who paid over $26,000 for an island and was able to recoup that money within one year. I also found the chapter "The Children of a New Migration" to be very poignant, especially when he talks about the amount of traffic that new avatars called and how that correlates with the lag time for seemingly basic functions in SL.  Also in "The Children of a New Migration" I found several points regarding internet addiction that are relevant to my final project including statistics from China that state "14% of its citizens were vulnerable to internet addiction" as reported by the China Digital Times. That makes me wonder how prevalent internet addiction is in our country, which is exactly why I chose it as my topic for the final project. 




Comments (5)

Joe Essid said

at 8:02 pm on Sep 21, 2008

I like the ZZ Top reference, but beware the implications of that statement! Do you really want those "smoking hot" female avatars to flirt with you?

Otherwise, you "unpack" the references well here in the avatar entry (a picture of VinceGold would be nice, however :) Note that I ran one of him in my blog at the Times Dispatch (link to the right).

Joe Essid said

at 8:03 pm on Sep 21, 2008

Please put a link on this page back to your main page :)

Chris Forhan said

at 4:39 pm on Oct 2, 2008

hey brandon. i read your blog post about creating your avatar and i could completely relate. i tried to make my avatar look just like me at first. but it didn't work at all. he ended up looking nothing like me and i don't know how to change him, nor do i feel like changing him at the moment

Bridget Kinealy said

at 7:52 pm on Nov 1, 2008

Brandon, I really liked your blog about Baron's article "From Pencils to Pixels." I really enjoyed reading this article, and therefore I like to hear out others have to say about it. I liked the claim you picked out. Your supported your reasoning of why this was a claim very clearly. Good work!

Joe Essid said

at 9:16 pm on Nov 2, 2008

Good start with the final project. Both Kate and Peter are pursuing similar topics and you will want to share sources with them.

SL may have a key difference for some who become addicted (here, Meadows' book, I, Avatar, will help you). It's linked directly from our sidebar. He has a sort of "builder's addiction" to making something from nothing. This is quite different from games in which competing with others in a company-made world takes center stage. You may be able to get a claim or two about special reasons why THIS virtual world is addictive to some residents (and isolate some conditions that provoke that).

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