Andrew and Ted at DePauw, Beerfest 2011, Sports and Media Brown Bag

Andrew and Ted at DePauw

Professor Andrew Weaver had an opportunity to return to his alma mater DePauw University this week, just an hour or so up State Route 231.  DePauw University is a small liberal arts college located in the town of Greencastle, Indiana.  Along with doctoral student Nicky Lewis, he made a research presentation at the Ethical Inquiry through Video Game Play and Design Conference.  Andrew was also asked by a former professor, Jeff McCall, to give a guest lecture for his Media and Society course.  His lecture on the appeal of violence in media and the impact of racial casting in selective exposure was well received by the students in attendance.  The guest lecture took place in the very same building where Andrew used to put in time at the student radio and TV stations.

Andrew noted several changes on the DePauw campus since his last visit.  After acquiring a nature park approximately a quarter mile from campus, DePauw constructed several new facilities – one being the Bartlett Reflection Center, a place for meditation and relaxation, and the Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics, where the conference took place.  The nature park also features an amphitheater, quarry research area, and campground.  According to Andrew, “It’s fun to see the changes the campus has gone through since I was a student, so it’s nice to be able to come back every few years.”

Fellow faculty member Ted Castronova was also invited to the conference as a key note speaker.  He presented his thoughts on natural laws, suggesting that they exist prior to society.  With regard to the implications that games have for ethical inquiry, he offered the idea that fantasies and dreams should be thought of as the “real” reality and that games serve as a reflection of that reality.  Citing a priest that recently visited his church, he said “We are not made for this earth.  We are made for the next.”  Ted posited that perhaps fantasy is not a forecast of paradise, but a memory.

Beerfest 2011

For a majority of beer drinkers, beer begins and ends with the big three, Budweiser, Miller, and Coors. Their commercials dominate television, their products monopolize most bar and restaurant taps, and together they control over 90% of the American beer market. However, a small but growing contingent is turning towards craft beer for new tastes and styles. At the 19th annual Beerfest, sponsored by Big Red Liquors, a wealth of beers were available for beer aficionados to try.

The three hour sessions on both Thursday and Friday night featured over 330 beers from all around the world with all proceeds going to local charities.  Armed with a tasting glass provided at the entrance, participants walk around to the various tables sponsored by breweries and beer distributors, sampling beers while picking up stickers, coasters, bottle openers, and occasional T-shirts along the way.

PhD students and Beerfest veterans Travis Ross and Ryland Sherman attended on Friday night. Sherman, who enjoys craft beer, but is often deterred by its high price, enjoys the festival because he gets to try all the beers he would never try on his own. With so many offerings though, a little bit of strategy is required. Sherman decided to focus on the most exotic beers he could find. Ross expressed similar sentiments, as he normally heads to the back corner first, where the more unique offerings can be found.  However, acknowledges Ross, after an hour strategy starts to fall apart.  A ruined palette from all the flavors and the inevitable effect of 20 or so little samples turns the focus from drinking and critiquing to drinking and socializing.

Ross acknowledges a dual tension between sampling and socializing. Accompanied by his wife and brother this year, Beerfest was a great opportunity to show his little brother, an IUPUI student, a good time in Bloomington. Sherman, who went with a group of friends enjoys running into people from around Bloomington and chatting over beers.

According to Ross and Sherman, this year’s Beerfest was a bit more low key than previous years. Perhaps due to the increase in ticket price, crowds were lighter and less rowdy, meaning less waiting and more sampling.

A few highlights from this years beerfest:

Mike’s favorites
Cutters  Empire Imperial Stout – Whoa. Hands down one of the best stouts I’ve ever had.  This is Bloomington’s new big boy beer from the 2010 upstarts. Look out Upland. This blows your entire lineup out of the water.
Four Horsemen  Irish Red – Goes down like a traditional Irish red, but the creamy butter aftertaste adds a unique twist.
Southern Tier Unearthly – Breaks the traditional double IPA mold. Hop profile takes a backseat to the lush floral and citrus notes. Very complex. Nice biscuit malty on the back end. Best (and most unusual) double IPA of the day
New Holland Chartooka Rye – Tastes just like Carolina smoked pork. Seriously.
Sam Adams Maple Pecan Porter –A brief reminder from Sam Adams on why they are the biggest microbrew in the country. Sweet and syrupy. Pecan Pie in a bottle. Absolutely Delicious.

Travis’s Favorites
Cutters Floyd’s Folly
Sun King  Cream Ale
Goose Island – Pepe Nero
Wychwood – Hobgoblin

Ryland’s favorites
Veldensteiner Weiβbier
Sun King – Double IPA

Brown Bag 

This week’s brown bag presentation featured a split-session with two graduate students with research interests in sports and media.  Nicky Lewis is a first year Ph.D. student in the Department of Telecommunications and Evan Frederick is a third year Ph.D. student in Sports Marketing at the Department of Kinesiology.  You can listen to the full audio of their presentation here: Sport and Media Brown Bag

Trait and Motivational Differences in Fantasy Football Participation

Nicky Lewis

This thesis explores the trait and motivational differences that exist among fantasy football participants.  Analysis of the relationships between theoretically relevant trait and motivational variables allowed for predictions of time invested in the activity.  Accordingly, a meaningful model of participation was developed.  Implications and directions for future research are discussed.

Demographics and Usage Trends of the Typical MMA Blog User: A Case Study

Evan Frederick

For this case study, an Internet-based survey was posted on a popular Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) blog in order to ascertain the demographics and usage trends of its users.  Data analysis revealed that users were predominately White males, between the ages of 23-39, with some college education and an annual income of $40,000-$59,999. An exploratory factor analysis (EFA) revealed six dimensions of gratification including evaluation, community, information-gathering, knowledge demonstration, argumentation, and diversion.  Findings indicated that users utilized this particular blog for both interactive and information-gathering purposes.

Credits

Nicky Lewis: Andrew and Ted at DePauw, Brown Bag

Mike Lang: Beerfest 2011

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