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Posts Tagged ‘ASA Scavenger Hunt’

Conference bingo cards are fun to read but fail because bingo can’t actually be played unless everybody is in the same room. Conference scavenger hunts are infinitely better. Thus, for the fourth straight year I give you the ASA Scavenger Hunt! You can download the 2015 ASA Scavenger Hunt and, for your convenience, I have also listed the items below. Post your progress and results in this SJMR thread. Good luck!

2015 ASA Scavenger Hunt

Instructions: Record the dates, times, locations, and/or session numbers for the items below between Friday, August 21 and midnight on Tuesday, August 25. Post your results in the “2015 ASA Scavenger Hunt” thread at SJMR. Good luck!

  1. Attend a friend’s roundtable session
  2. Hear a presenter explain technological difficulties with, “I’m used to my Mac”
  3. Hear somebody refer to the Chicago School in a presentation
  4. Attend a workshop
  5. Attend a great talk by an “unknown” sociologist
  6. Check out the poster presentations
  7. Use the ASA App
  8. Walk past the Employment Service area and observe the job candidates
  9. Discuss the pros and cons of replication
  10. Overhear a sociologist make a racist/sexist/homophobic (etc.) comment
  11. Talk to somebody about SJMR
  12. Eat some candy at the book exhibit
  13. Turn the paper part of your nametag upside-down to make tag-checking more obvious
  14. Find the unisex restrooms and rate their implementation on a scale of 1-10
  15. Pour one out for DAN
  16. Get a free drink at a section reception
  17. Spot Fabio (bonus points if he’s wearing a fanny pack)
  18. Talk to somebody from a liberal arts school about his or her research
  19. Talk to somebody from a research school about his or her teaching
  20. Talk to somebody on the job market about his or her ideal job
  21. Introduce two people you know to each other
  22. For Faculty: Buy a student coffee or a meal; For Students: Accept coffee or a meal from a faculty member
  23. Eat a meal alone
  24. Have an awkward conversation with an acquaintance
  25. Post on social media about ASA
  26. During conversation, move somebody across the room by slowly inching closer to them
  27. Walk to the Navy Pier
  28. Spend an entire day in Chicago without attending a session
  29. Take a picture with that shiny bean (a.k.a. Cloud Gate Chicago)
  30. Eat deep-dish pizza

“Like” Memoirs of a SLACer on Facebook for annual scavenger hunts via your news feed.

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Although I missed them in Denver last year, I’ve been chronicling the ASA’s attempts to provide unisex restrooms since 2010 when I noticed the women’s unisex restrooms in Atlanta. With two conference hotels this year, the ASA saw two implementations of unisex restrooms.

At the Hilton, the unisex restrooms were similar to those at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, with a unisex sign in front of men’s and women’s restrooms that were right next to each other. While better than nothing, this implementation makes me wonder whether conference attendees actually treat the restrooms as unisex, stick to the gendered bathroom that they would usually use, or avoid them altogether.

Over at the Sheraton, the situation was different. In addition to men’s and women’s restrooms, the Sheraton also had restrooms that were designated as unisex and restrooms that were designated as accessible/family. These rooms were part of the hotel design and not an attempt by the ASA to impose its progressive attitudes toward gender on a gender-binary space.

If I were rating them, as I did for this year’s scavenger hunt, I would give the Hilton a 3 out of 10 and the Sheraton a 7 out of 10. While the Sheraton gains points for having preexisting unisex restrooms, these restrooms were designed for a single person (or a family). This is certainly better than providing no space for a person who does not feel comfortable in a gender-binary restroom but seems less progressive than offering a multiple-person restroom that can be used by everybody.

It turns out that I am not the only person interested in restrooms, since Bill O’Reilly is very concerned about a law in California that allows transgender teens to use the restrooms for the gender they identify with. If all restrooms were unisex, neither Bill nor I would have anything to complain about!

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Last year, I completed 16 of 30 items on the inaugural ASA Scavenger Hunt. Over the past four days I was able to set a new personal best with 20 of the 30 items on this year’s form. I completed items 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, and 30. Unfortunately, I was in Central Park but failed to recreate any of the scenes from Elf. Send me your submissions soon (socslac [at] gmail [dot] com) for a chance to win… something!

In addition to the scene around the Hilton statue, where I waited for people multiple times, here are some other reflections on ASA 2013:

  • If you are going to write about an earlier conference experience on your pseudonymous blog just before ASA, you probably should not tell the same anecdote when you are actually at ASA, unless you want your secret blogging identity to be revealed!
  • There are some aspects of the city that I really like (drinks at the Bryant Park Cafe) and others that I really dislike (crowds, traffic, section receptions in tiny rooms, Times Square).  I think that the negatives outweigh the positives.
  • Interesting sessions do not belong at 8:30 am!
  • Meeting with friends at night + going to 8:30 am sessions = conference exhaustion, which is only worsened by rain.
  • Corkscrews at Duane Reade cost more than wine at Duane Reade, which probably says more about the quality of the wine than the corskcrews.
  • This year’s ASA bags are good for carrying bottles of wine. If you put the wine in the bag diagonally you can discreetly walk through multiple hotel lobbies without drawing attention to the fact that you are carrying extremely cheap wine.
  • I wonder where ASA Bear is now.
  • Early ideas for next year’s scavenger hunt: witness somebody playing Candy Crush Saga during a session’s Q&A, attend an Author Meets Critics session in which the critics forget to criticize the author, arrive to a meeting 15 minutes late so that you do not have to stand by a statue by yourself, look at your phone while waiting for somebody else so that you don’t feel quite as stupid standing by a statue.

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It is that time of year again. The time of year in which sociologists join together in a city and then occupy themselves by playing bingo and going on scavenger hunts. Of course, some ASA games are more equal than others. As I argued last year:

The problem with an ASA bingo card is that the ASA experience is inherently unlike the game of bingo.

Bingo is played in a room full of [smoke and] other people, each with randomized cards listening to eliminate enough numbers to win. Without doing something radical like emailing Kieran to ask, I assume that John Siracusa’s bingo cards for Apple keynote presentations provided the inspiration for the original ASA bingo card. The first of these, in 2006, included a standard card in addition to twenty randomized versions allowing different chances to win. (Incidentally, none of them were winners.) The beauty of Siracusa’s keynote bingo was that individuals in the audience could conceivably follow along, checking off events until somebody won and shouted “bingo!” in the middle of Steve Jobs’ introduction of some new product. (As far as I know, this has never actually happened, which is unfortunate.)

Which brings me to the solution. What we need is not an ASA bingo, but rather an ASA scavenger hunt. In a scavenger hunt, everybody is free to seek the items on the list in any location and order they choose, making this format perfect for a large conference like ASA.

Click here to download the official 2013 ASA Scavenger Hunt!

The 2013 ASA Scavenger Hunt Rules:

  • The 2013 ASA Scavenger Hunt is open to anybody who is attending this year’s ASA conference in New York. Your status as an undergraduate, grad student, assistant professor, or “famous” sociologist will not affect your chances of winning.
  • Record the dates, times, locations, and/or session numbers for the items on the list between Friday, August 9 and midnight on Tuesday, August 13.
  • Items may be double-counted. This means that if, for example, you attend an Author Meets Critics session in which somebody in the audience is wearing a tie and you bail because it is boring you will have covered items 7, 11, and 5. on the list.
  • The person who submits a form accounting for the most items will receive… something! This is a very exciting opportunity and your chances of winning are high!
  • The winner’s name could be posted on my blog, unless the winner doesn’t want his or her name associated with a scavenger hunt, in which case the winner is welcome to choose a suitable pseudonym.
  • I will be playing along and will keep you posted on my own progress throughout the weekend. If nobody enters I will privately declare myself the winner and treat myself to ice cream.
  • If you would like to discuss your own progress on Twitter, use the hashtag #ASAHunt.
  • Have fun!

If you want to double your fun, last year’s inaugural Scavenger Hunt form can be found here, though the only thing you will win by playing with last year’s form is satisfaction.

 

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Despite writing the scavenger hunt myself I completed just over half of the items on it! I completed numbers: 2,3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 13, 15, 16, 17, 21, 22, 24, 27, 29, and 30. I wish that I had put seeing a scared employment services candidate on the list. Did anybody else notice how terrified ASA Bear was before his interview?

I consider my biggest ASA failure this year to be the fact that I never came across the unisex restrooms. I thought that they may have been nonexistent until I got home and noticed that they were marked on the map distributed upon check-in. If anybody saw them, I’d love to have a picture for the SLACer archives!

And now, the fall semester awaits.

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Unlike Friday, my scavenger hunt pace slowed on Saturday, though it picked up a bit again this morning. Yesterday I crossed numbers 5 and 6 off the list. Number 6 was interesting since the technical difficulties were due largely to the fact that the presenter forgot his glasses and couldn’t find his PowerPoint on the computer everybody was using. Then, when he found it, he couldn’t figure out how to get it started. This morning, I crossed numbers 2, 3, and 4 off of the list. There were only three papers, which made number 3 easier!

In addition to the scavenger hunt, the conference has rejuvenated my interest in sociology, which is always a good thing heading into a new academic year! I hope that your own scavenger hunt and conference experiences are going well.

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Day one of the inaugural ASA scavenger hunt has come and gone and I’ve already made some progress despite not arriving in Denver until Friday afternoon. I covered #16 and #17 at my graduate department’s reception last night, I covered #21 and #22 in the cab from the airport to my hotel, and I covered #27, #29, and #30 last night at the Colorado Rockies game. That gives me a total of seven out of 30 items without attending a single session! We’ll see how many of the first seven items I can cover today (I’ve already passed up my chance at #4).

Good luck to my fellow hunters!

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As sociologists from around the country (and even the world!) head to Denver, here are a few things to keep you entertained: First, a post about making ASA better by using Twitter and other forms of digital communication (I think I joined Twitter once. I might have to dig out my account in preparation for the conference). Second, Kieran takes this year’s bingo card to the next level, complete with a “mobile app” version. Finally, and most importantly (and perplexingly), instructions on how to use ASA’s preliminary online program to put your conference schedule into your Outlook and/or Google calendars. The perplexing part is that although you cannot see locations anywhere on your schedule when using the ASA’s website, they’re there when you open the calendar on your computer or mobile device. If these locations are correct, why is the ASA hiding them from us when we use their preliminary program? If they are not correct, I’m going to be awfully disappointed when I get to Denver! Enjoy your flights and don’t forget that the scavenger hunt begins tomorrow morning!

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As I said last week, what we need is not an ASA bingo, but rather an ASA scavenger hunt. In a scavenger hunt, everybody is free to seek the items on the list in any location and order they choose, making this format perfect for a large conference like ASA. A scavenger hunt also allows for there to be a winner! Thank you to everybody who submitted suggestions. In keeping with previous ASA Bingo cards and their detractors I have tried to create a list that balances cynicism with (hopefully) positive experiences.

Click here to download the 2012 ASA Scavenger Hunt and don’t forget to read the complete rules below.

The 2012 ASA Scavenger Hunt Rules:

  • The 2012 ASA Scavenger Hunt is open to anybody who is attending this year’s ASA conference in Denver. Your status as an undergraduate, grad student, assistant professor, or “famous” sociologist will not affect your chances of winning.
  • Record the dates, times, locations, and/or session numbers for the items on the list between Friday, August 17 and Monday, August 20.
  • Items may be double-counted. This means that if, for example, you attend an 8 am session that includes a paper titled “Farm Sociology: Bringing Cattle Back In” in which every presentation is interesting to you, an audience member asks a question that is actually a statement, the person next to you is sleeping, and the third presenter cannot get his flash drive to work you will have covered items 1-6 on the list.
  • The person who submits a form accounting for the most items will receive $50. The date and time of submission will be used as a tiebreaker.
  • All entries must be submitted to socslac@gmail.com by midnight Eastern time on Tuesday, August 21. Submissions can be scanned, photographed, or typed (except #18).
  • The winner’s name, along with his or her winning entry, will be posted here in order to demonstrate that there was actually a winner and to discourage falsified entries.
  • I will be playing along and will keep you posted on my own progress throughout the weekend. Although this blog is pseudonymous, I promise that I will not declare myself the winner!
  • If you would like to discuss your own progress on Twitter, use hashtag #ASAHunt.
  • Have fun!

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For the past three years, Kieran at Orgtheory has posted ASA bingo cards in advance of the annual meeting. For the past three years, however, there has been a problem. No, I don’t mean the complaints of some that the bingo cards could be too cynical. I can be fairly cynical about conferences myself. The problem with an ASA bingo card is that the ASA experience is inherently unlike the game of bingo.

Bingo is played in a room full of [smoke and] other people, each with randomized cards listening to eliminate enough numbers to win. Without doing something radical like emailing Kieran to ask, I assume that John Siracusa’s bingo cards for Apple keynote presentations provided the inspiration for the original ASA bingo card. The first of these, in 2006, included a standard card in addition to twenty randomized versions allowing different chances to win. (Incidentally, none of them were winners.) The beauty of Siracusa’s keynote bingo was that individuals in the audience could conceivably follow along, checking off events until somebody won and shouted “bingo!” in the middle of Steve Jobs’ introduction of some new product. (As far as I know, this has never actually happened, which is unfortunate.)

Which brings me to the solution. What we need is not an ASA bingo, but rather an ASA scavenger hunt. In a scavenger hunt, everybody is free to seek the items on the list in any location and order they choose, making this format perfect for a large conference like ASA. I will post the scavenger hunt form in advance of ASA next week, but if you have suggestions for inclusions in the meantime (especially if those inclusions go beyond the things included in the previous bingo cards that I linked to in the first paragraph) please send them to socslac@gmail.com.

The other problem with the ASA bingo cards is that there has never, to my knowledge, been a winner. I hope that the scavenger hunt format will make winning more likely, but I will also encourage submissions with a prize. The winner of the first-annual ASA scavenger hunt will receive $50 in cash. Official rules will be posted with my scavenger hunt form next week. Tell your friends.

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