Bookmarked Semiotic social spaces and affinity spaces: From the age of mythology to today’s schools by James Paul GeeJames Paul Gee (Google Books)
Gee, J. (2005). Semiotic social spaces and affinity spaces: From the age of mythology to today’s schools. In D. Barton & K. Tusting (Eds.), Beyond communities of practice: Language, power, and social context (pp. 214–232).

Much of what Gee has to say here is similar to what he said in his book in 2004. He adds here the designation “semiotic social space” to name the types of spaces he described in his book. He emphasizes that generators create signs that make up the content of the game. These signs can be viewed as internal, the original content itself and its design, or external, the individual and social practices surrounding the content and how people “organise their thoughts, beliefs, values, actions and social interactions in relation to the signs made available” in the content (p. 219).

Who will I be this year?

My friend Little Willow doesn’t make New Year’s Resolutions in January. She makes them on her birthday, which is not in January.

I like to set intentions lots of different times: in January. In March, when the astrological year begins. At the start of the school year. With each new moon. And, yes, on my birthday.

My birthday was yesterday, and I spent it packing up the last stuff from my brother and Mom’s apartment to move them back into the closest thing I have to a childhood home (where I lived from ages 13 – 18), having lunch, playing video games, and having a much better day than I feared I would, but I didn’t have the oomph to set intentions.

Today I’m asking myself who I want to be this year.

I want to be someone who takes care of herself, unapologetically, and who understands that there is no one in her immediate environment who would deny her the ability to take care of herself. (It’s easy for me to think that self-care needs to fall by the wayside because I’m a mom, but I’m at a point where that’s just not true anymore, so I need to not let it be an excuse for neglecting my own needs.)

I want to be someone who simultaneously understands that she is a person of value just by virtue of existing, but also contributes to keeping her family and household going.

I want to be someone who is invested in her community. (My family gave me a membership to the Durham Co-op Market for my birthday and shopping there and participating in the Co-op is one way in which I can really support my community.)

I want to be someone who makes things for pleasure.

I want to be someone who continues to live a life that is more for living than for documenting, but also be someone who documents her thoughts and understandings both to share with others and so that she can reflect on them later.

Who do you want to be?

What would you like me to write more about?

I love that Ton Zijlstra asked his readers a few years ago

What would you like me to write more about?

I want to blog more and to use the time when I need a break in the middle of an academic writing sprint to write other stuff. So I’m asking you to answer the same question for me. You can answer publicly or privately, and you should feel free to include fanfic prompts in your suggestions.

(And a note for Sandra, you don’t have to answer, because I know and I promise I’m working on it.)

I should mention that it’s my birthday today and answering this would be a great gift from you to me.

I’ll update this post with answers as they come in. Let me know if you want yours to remain anonymous.

Replied to

  1. Chicken Tikka Masala
    I’ve created a lightened up, dairy-free Chicken Tikka Masala with Cauliflower and Peas in the Instant Pot to satisfy my craving for Indian food! This mild curry is made with boneless chicken thighs cooked in a tomato base, with lots of spices and coconut milk. You can serve this with garlic naan or basmati rice on the side (cauliflower rice would work too to keep it low carb!)
  2. Shawarma
  3. Salmon
    Are you like me and NEVER remember to defrost your fish for dinner? This Instant Pot Lemon Garlic Salmon is going to rock your socks then! Wildly easy to throw together, super flavorful and cooked to perfections FROM FROZEN in your handy dandy IP….this going to be your new fast food!

The Kimberly Hirsh Eating Plan

Hello, friends! Today I’m going to write up an idealistic eating plan for myself based on what I’ve learned over the past four years about what’s manageable for me. This is as much to remind me as it is to share with you, because it turns out my primary audience for my blog is future me. So future me, here’s what you need to eat.

Requirements I’ve placed on this eating plan:

  • Must be gluten-free, dairy-free, corn-free, soy-free
  • Needs to distinguish between warm-weather and cool-weather foods
  • Needs to have options for both low-energy and high-energy days

Tricky things:

  • I’m really particular about vegetable textures and can never remember which ones I like or how I like them prepared.

Warm-Weather Eating Plan


  • Smoothie: non-dairy milk + fruit + greens + protein powder + fiber powder + greens powder + ice (homemade or storebought: e. g., Smoothie King’s Vegan Dark Chocolate Banana or one of Jamba Juice’s Plant-Based Smoothies)
  • Dairy-free yogurt and granola (on a high-energy day or a day when I have plenty of time, yogurt from a big tub; on a low-energy or rushed day, yogurt in a small package)



  • Grilled meat + rice/quinoa/sweet potato + veggies
  • Something in the Instant Pot

Cold-Weather Eating Plan


  • Oatmeal with fruit and nuts
  • Toast with nut butter and fruit


  • Soup (homemade or Amy’s brand)
  • Leftovers from dinner


  • Baked meat + rice/quinoa/sweet potato + veggies
  • Something in the Instant Pot

All-Weather Snack Options

  • Nuts and fruit
  • Larabars

All-Weather Beverage Options

  • Still water with ice
  • Sparkling water
  • Chai tea + stevia + non-dairy milk
  • Coffee + stevia + non-dairy milk
  • In true desperate times when caffeine is required and tea and coffee don’t appeal, Zevia
  • As a rare treat, Izze

Next Steps

I’ve struggled in the past with actually eating the salads I prepare and figuring out how to incorporate more vegetables into my diet. My next steps are to begin trying different vegetables prepared in different ways and tracking how I like them.

This is an ever-evolving meal plan, so expect to hear more as I update it!

It seems like the authors of Affinity Online ( deliberately chose to use the phrase “online affinity networks” as opposed to Gee’s “affinity spaces,” but the book doesn’t offer an explanation why. The section that explains the term simply states:

We describe the groups we have studied as “online affinity networks” to distinguish them from long-standing affinity groups and networks that have predated the online world. We call them “online” affinity networks as a shorthand to distinguish them from affinity networks that are primarily grounded in place-based activities and organizations, and we are not implying that they are not “real,” tied to face-to-face interactions, or embedded in physical infrastructures.

I’m curious about the distinction in terms, especially as the book references Gee’s work. Time to get in touch with the authors!