Archive for the ‘fun’ Category


Posting will be light until January 2, 2013. If you want to write a post or two, send me an email with a short description. Long as it is is academic and fun, I’ll seriously consider it. In the Winter, we’ll have posts on the following:

  • a new book forum will be annnounced
  • digital natives vs. computer literacy
  • my endless anxiety about neo-institutionalism
  • progress in network analysis
  • The Hobbit was no Phantom Menace, but I’m still disappointed
  • a possibly cool research result
  • historians and the antiwar movement
  • the tragedy of the Fabios

Have a happy Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanzaa/Festivus/Winter Solstice/Hibernation.

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Written by fabiorojas

December 21, 2012 at 12:01 am

Posted in blogs, fun

grad skool scam

Written by fabiorojas

October 4, 2012 at 12:01 am

this was banned in cuba

According to wiki, Irakere’s break out hit, “Bacalao con Pan” was banned in Cuba. A recording was made outside of Cuba, which then forced the authorities to permit the music. The funky people united will never be defeated.

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Written by fabiorojas

September 27, 2012 at 12:01 am

alien – in miniature

A rendition of Alien, “chestbuster” scene, in the style of Persian miniature painting. From the blog “Classic Movies in Miniature Style.

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Written by fabiorojas

September 5, 2012 at 12:01 am

Kieran has gone viral

In case you hadn’t heard: Kieran is a liberal professor and he wants his $100!

Written by brayden king

August 29, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Posted in academia, fun, the man

asa vs. gencon, part deux

ASA vs GenCon Part 1


  • ASA: Your  legal name
  • GenCon: Your character name

Figuring out your registration fee:

  • ASA: Use your income
  • GenCon: Roll on table F2

“Real utopia:”

  • ASA:  A world where power and justice don’t depend on income inequalities
  • GenCon: A world where LARPers and table top gamers are treated as equals

When someone walks by you in the convention hall:

  • ASA: You check out their name tag
  • GenCon: You check out their name tag and then get an attack of opportunity

The book sale area:

  • ASA: A bunch of dorks trying to get their fantasies published
  • GenCon: A bunch of dorks trying to get their fantasies published

Employment service:

  • ASA: A place to match schools with recent PhD graduates
  • GenCon: Um… jobs?

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Written by fabiorojas

August 23, 2012 at 12:01 am

improvisational sculpture

Written by fabiorojas

August 22, 2012 at 12:01 am

Posted in fabio, fun

lego colosseum

Written by fabiorojas

July 21, 2012 at 12:01 am

angry birds fact of the day

Rovio, the maker of Angry Birds, generated about $106m in 2011 vs. Finland’s total GDP of $187bn. In other words, Angry Birds is responsible for .05% of Finland’s economy. That’s 1 dollar out of every 5000.

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Written by fabiorojas

July 6, 2012 at 12:39 am

blade runner – the water color version

Written by fabiorojas

June 28, 2012 at 12:01 am

Posted in fabio, fun

the garden of your mind

Written by fabiorojas

June 16, 2012 at 12:01 am

summarize star wars in 1 tweet

A few days ago, the New Yorker asked people to summarize Star Wars in 1 tweet. The best tweet gets bragging rights. Given my obsession, I gave it a shot. I didn’t win, but I did get mentioned in the New Yorker:

We tried to notice trends in the mass of entries. Many participants knocked Luke Skywalker as whiny (@fabiorojas: “Whiny, but gifted, teenager trashes spiffy new military base”). Many expressed their belief that the film’s success came from its essential simplicity (@SnapShotPoet’s “How to throw an Emperor into a Deathstar for Dummies”). Many focussed not on Luke or Leia, but on the droids (@samanthaglavin’s “In a galaxy far far away, witty robots save stupid humans from trouble over and over again, set to a dramatic musical score”). Few, strangely, mentioned Chewbacca.

The winners:

But now, to the runners-up…. the first, @mattyshaz, let the movie’s title do the work for him: “‘Star Wars’ pretty much sums it up.” We were also attracted to the clumsy poetry of @JosaYoung’s summary (“When arm edited in bizarre light fitting accident, tall man attempts to conquer universe while breathing through coal scuttle”) and the stichomythia of @Matt_Kinson’s (“PLACE? Space WHEN? Then BOTS? Lots WHO? Leia Luke 3PO & R2. &? Han & Obiwan. WARS? Star. VS? Vader. END? Nada. WHY? SAGA”).The winner this week was selected in a special process, by a jury composed of two adults and two children. (“Star Wars” is, after all, a movie that appeals to us all.) After much consideration and some candy, the prize went to @MikeRudy’s summary, which had as much comic accuracy as a proton torpedo heading for an exhaust port: “‘He killed your dad!’ ‘But he is my dad!’ ‘And you’re my sister!’ Beep beep bloop.”

May the Schwartz be with you.

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Written by fabiorojas

June 2, 2012 at 4:41 am

mucca pazza, again

Performing at Euclid Records in Chicago this April.

A few years ago, we discussed Chicago alt-marching/punk band Mucca Pazza. They continue to make music and were recently featured on NPR’s blog “All Songs Considered.” Congratulations!

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Written by fabiorojas

May 20, 2012 at 12:02 am

silly social movement of the day: the anti-gaga movement

Previous silly social movements…

From CNN. In response to a scheduled Lady Gaga concert in Indonesia:

There has been an outcry against Lady Gaga performing among Islamists and conservative Muslims, who say her revealing costumes and sensual dance moves are “haram,” an Arabic term that means “forbidden by Islamic law.”

The chairman of the Islamic Defenders Front, Habib Rizieq, said his group could not guarantee what might happen, as far as security goes, if the concert were held.

The pop star was given a thumbs-down in March by a “high-ranking member” of the country’s highest Islamic authority, according to The Jakarta Globe.

The report said that Indonesian Council of Ulema chairman Cholil Ridwan was urging Muslims not to attend the overtly sexy and controversial singer’s upcoming concert in Jakarta.

“[The concert is] intended to destroy the nation’s morality,” Ridwan told the Globe.

Turns out that anti-Gagismo is a transantional movement with branches in Korea:

Yoon Jung-hoon, a reverend who helped organize the “Civilians Network against the Lady Gaga Concert” movement, told the Chicago Tribune that his group collected 5,000 supporters on Facebook. He also advocated a boycott of the show’s sponsor, Hyundai Card, in addition to Hyundai Motor Co., Korea’s largest automaker.

The dynamics of Gagention?

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Written by fabiorojas

May 19, 2012 at 12:04 am

meet ups in berekeley, san francisco, and notre dame

Due to a personal issue, I must travel to California next week, right before I hit the annual Notre Dame  young scholars in social movements conference/Pam Oliver award ceremony (congrats!). My schedule is weird, but there are some empty chunks:

  • May 3 – Late Afternoon: I will travel from Martinez to San Francisco, for a late night flight. If my business wraps up by 4pm or so, I will drop by Berkeley for a stop at Moe’s Books and Amoeba Records. Time can be spent in a pretentious coffee house talking about Foucault.
  • May 3 – Dinner: The Attic in San Mateo, the leading modern Filipino restaurant in the United States. Trust me. I’ll schedule a 7:45 pm dinner time.
  • May 4: Arrive at South Bend. The Young Scholars conference is all day. Other than attending panels, I’ve nothing else scheduled.
  • May 5: The McCarthy lecture/award ceremony is in the later afternoon/evening. That leaves the morning/early afternoon open. Field trip, anyone?

Send me an email, and we’ll hang out.

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Written by fabiorojas

April 29, 2012 at 12:01 am

Posted in fabio, fun


Written by fabiorojas

March 2, 2012 at 3:31 pm

the diffusion of….whatever

I just can’t stop chuckling about the graph in this cartoon.

From Pictures for Sad Children (HT: Tastefully Offensive)

Written by brayden king

January 7, 2012 at 6:46 pm

Posted in brayden, fun

hey, kids – turkey racing!

Written by fabiorojas

November 24, 2011 at 12:03 am

thought catalog

I’ve recently enjoyed Thought Catalog, a website that runs short pieces on various topics. Run by young Brooklynites, the focus is definitely sex and dating, but there’s lot of good stuff in other genres:

Pieces range from introverted to funny to angry to horny to clever. Recommended!

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Written by fabiorojas

November 8, 2011 at 12:31 am

Posted in blogs, fabio, fun

n, x and, z were clever

Written by fabiorojas

October 22, 2011 at 12:04 am

a lovely evening in the mountains around madrid

Written by fabiorojas

October 16, 2011 at 12:04 am

why self-publish

If you’ve been following the blog recently, I’ve decided to self-publish the Grad Skool Rulz as an e-book (click here to get a free sample). I wanted to briefly address self-publishing.

First, despite my calls for online access, I do believe in traditional publishing. My decision to self-publish the Grad Skool Rulz does not reflect a view that traditional publishers are useless. Publishers do important work that deserves to be rewarded. They sort through tons of garbage to find decent materials, they edit, they market, and they make nice packages. My beef with journal publishers, for example, has to do with the value. Professors edit and review materials for free. It is now possible to distribute the work at very low price, much lower than what publishers charge libraries. But that leaves a lot of other publishing that can be done by for profit firms.

Second, self-publishing the Rulz does not indicate a rejection of peer review. The Rulz are informal advice columns, not scientific research. As imperfect as it may be, peer review is valuable. You’ll rarely find feedback as useful in blind review. The Rulz are opinions and not really the sort of material that merits the judgment of experts. I’ll continue to submit my academic research to regular journals and presses.

Let me discuss the positive reasons for self-publication. The main one is access. I wrote the Rulz because I really feel that people are getting lost in academia. So I didn’t want the book to be hard to find, buried inside a publisher website or waiting for years while the publication process finishes. Also, I didn’t want price to be  a barrier. With self-publishing, the price can be low. Few in the intended audience would be unable afford the book. I have always been suspicious of textbooks that cost hundreds of dollars. If you have Internet access and $2, you can get this book. Finally, e-publishing embodies the spirit of the new media. The e-book is flexible and direct. It’s easily updated and modified, it can be kept current.

Written by fabiorojas

September 29, 2011 at 12:04 am

Posted in books, fun

don’t regret your life

A little while back, Andrew Sullivan posted on some of the most important research one can imagine. Bronnie Ware, a palliative care provider, interviewed terminal patients. She asked people what they regret. The most common answers:

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Very wise. A few comments: Ware notes that all men wanted to work less. People wonder why I keep a goofy schedule, teaching once a week all day. Simple answer: more time for baby! I can always write another grant or article, but once my baby grows up – poof!

Some commenters had problems with #5 – how could you not let yourself be happy? I think people build up emotions that prevent happiness. For example, when I was in graduate school, I often obsessed about work even when I was on vacation. But over the years, I learned to do what I want with whom I want and not to care about what people think. Not caring about what other people think is an important life skill. Just relax as much as you can and enjoy life.

Written by fabiorojas

September 20, 2011 at 12:50 am

how economists and political scientists and sociologists and anthropologists see each other

A new chart by Omar.

Written by fabiorojas

August 13, 2011 at 12:40 am

San Antonio bound

Like many of our readers who belong to the Academy of Management, I’m headed to San Antonio tomorrow for the annual meetings. Tex-Mex awaits, yum.

Here is a list of events sponsored by the Organization and Management Theory division. It looks like we’ll have at least two chances to socialize – tomorrow at the OMT reception and Monday evening at the OMT social hour. If you see me at the reception be sure to say hello.

We can always count on Sekou to tell us where the parties are. If you’re looking for a soundtrack for your San Antonio experience, I’ve put together a Spotify playlist just for you. All of the songs are about Texas or by an artist from Texas.

Feel free to post interesting sessions or panels in the comments section.

Written by brayden king

August 11, 2011 at 9:32 pm

Posted in academia, brayden, fun

text editors in the Lord of the Rings

Jeremy has explained the main statistics apps in terms of the sorts of phone they would be. In that vein, here are the main programmer’s text editors, as they appear as locations in The Lord of the Rings.

Written by Kieran

July 30, 2011 at 5:42 am

jump rope 2010 champions

Written by fabiorojas

July 15, 2011 at 12:39 am

Posted in fabio, fun

more facebook hatred

Written by fabiorojas

July 11, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Posted in fabio, fun, the man

google+ and facebook hatred

A friend invited me to google+a few days ago. I signed up and I’ve just started to dig around. I haven’t had time to explore, but it seems like it could be very good. For example, rather than have your whole life be seen by all friends, you easily create “circles” – different networks. You can post stuff only for friends, family, etc. Simmel would be proud. Also, google+ is linked to Gmail and other Google tools, which is very smart, and Google is trying to destroy Skype by having “hang out,” which is free video conferencing. I’d be interested in your comments and user experiences.

On a side note, a friend on FB wanted to move to Google+ because she really hates Facebook. The advertising for Google+ also appeals to the idea that Facebook makes people self-conscious. I can’t blame them. Facebook tries to own all rights to anything transmitted via Facebook and the format is copied after a yearbook. Google+ seems more like a flexible tool/format, rather than a juiced up rolodex. Facebook, in my view, really was the first web site to fully grasp how  social media would work, but the emotional psychology was off. Maybe addressing the self-consciousness of social media will be Google’s great contribution.

Written by fabiorojas

July 10, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Posted in fabio, fun

espiritu colombiano

By Plectro Trio – the composition is a medley of different themes found in Colombian folk music.

Written by fabiorojas

June 22, 2011 at 12:10 am

Posted in fabio, fun

chicago tripz

I will be making day trips this month to two art fairs: MDW (Apr 23-34) and Artchicago/Next (Apr 29-May 1). Anyone interested in hanging out in Chicago or making the trip from Indiana please contact me.

Written by fabiorojas

April 20, 2011 at 12:27 am

Posted in fabio, fun

the pains of short form writing

I think this anecdote is amusing:

In the Winter 1986 issue of The Paris Review, before Obreht could write and before Wallace had published his first novel, that American master, E. L. Doctorow, sat down with George Plimpton for the quarterly’s “The Art of Fiction” interview series.  For the first time in the series’ history, the interview was conducted in public at the 92nd Street Y in New York, and Doctorow drew an audience of about 500 according to the Review.

After a brief introduction, Plimpton and Doctorow sat across from one another, and Plimpton, who found Doctorow “retiring,” began. “You once told me that the most difficult thing for a writer to write was a simple household note to someone coming to collect the laundry, or instructions to a cook,” he said.  At this, Doctorow launched into an anecdote about a time when one of his daughters came downstairs before school and asked for an absence note.  “So I wrote down the date and I started, Dear Mrs. So-and-so, my daughter Caroline . . . and then I thought, No, that’s not right, obviously it’s my daughter Caroline. I tore that sheet off, and started again.”  Soon, Doctorow found himself knee-deep in drafts, panicking, while his daughter’s bus driver leaned on the horn outside.  “Writing is immensely difficult,” he told Plimpton at the end of the anecdote, “The short forms especially.”

We should add to our “tips for writers” list that good writers never stop being self-critical.

Written by brayden king

April 18, 2011 at 4:07 pm

weekend diversion: best television drama for orgheads

I’ll make a confession. I like television. Not all television, but really good television dramas that use novel-like storytelling (which as far as I can tell is an innovation of the last decade) is compelling in a way that films are not.  You get more character development, more intricate plots, more nuanced morality tales, and better accounts of organizational, social, and institutional life. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you should rent one of the series below and see if you have a taste for it.

For you who have seen at least one of these shows, which of these series is the best drama for orgheads? I’ve excluded anything that hasn’t been in production during the last five years (sorry Sopranos). Of course, none of the shows are perfect, but they’re all compelling in their own individual ways. Friday Night Lights is about a small town and the high school football team around which that team revolves, focusing on how relationships bind and enable economic and social mobility. The Wire is a gritty “Dickensian” story about cops, drug dealers and politicians in Baltimore that dramatizes the power of institutions over individuals and the systemic dysfunctions of race, economic inequality and crime in urban society.  Breaking Bad is about a high school math teacher who discovers he is dying of cancer and turns to cooking meth as a way to financially support his family after his death. The show traces Walt’s moral decline as he navigates the seamy underbelly of power, exchange, and control that makes the criminal world function. Mad Men follows the lives of an advertising agency in the 1960s, focusing on the normative constraints of status attainment and impression management in what is (now obviously) a racist and sexist society. Battlestar Galactica is about a group of military officers who manage to escape Earth just before a band of beings of artificial intelligence take over and annihilate the human race. The show follows their search for a new home for human society and depicts the reinvention of society in brutal conditions in which survival is the most immediate goal.

Written by brayden king

April 15, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Posted in brayden, culture, fun

William Gamson should be in the baseball hall of fame

Opening day of the major league baseball season is almost upon us. Some of you are poring over tables of data, examining the nuances of players’ performance and getting ready for your upcoming fantasy baseball draft. I won’t point fingers. You know who you are.

I recently watched the clever ESPN 30 for 30 documentary on the origin of fantasy baseball (or rotisserie baseball, as it was called then) and was surprised to learn that the first fantasy league was inspired by none other than William Gamson.* Many readers of this blog know Gamson for his work on collective action and social movement outcomes or as a past president of the American Sociological Association. But Gamson is also a pioneer in the world of fantasy sports. In 1960  Gamson formed a forerunner of the fantasy baseball league that he called The Baseball Seminar.  The book, Fantasyland, described how it got started:

It was April, 1960. It could have been a weekday or a weekend—hell, it might have been March for all the principals can remember. At  the time it was just three shlumpy guys, all about twenty-six, getting together to try some half-baked contest the host had thought up. If you’d told Bill Gamson he was about to become the Thomas Edison of a worldwide sports movement, he would have assumed you were making fun of him …

Under the rules of Gamson’s game, each player anted up $10, which would translate into an imaginary budget of $100,000 to be used to bid on the services of real major leaguers. Armed with a copy of The Sporting News, Gamson and his friends, Dick Snyder and Marty Greenberg, ran through the rosters of each team until somebody threw a playing card on the coffee table, indicating they wanted to bid. This continued until everyone was out of money. The idea was that during the season, each of the ‘‘teams’’ would be measured by eight handpicked statistics, though Gamson can’t remember them all. By the time they were finished, midnight had come and Zelda, pregnant with the couple’s first child, was feeling sorry for the neighbors. ‘‘The whole thing was pretty raucous,’’ she remembers (59-60).

Anyone who’s played fantasy baseball will recognize its distinctive traits in Gamson’s early game. Moreover, there is a direct connection from Gamson’s game to the rotisserie leagues that took hold in the 1980s. Dan Okrent, who proposed the rules for a league to his friends in a New York City restaurant La Rotisserie Francaise in 1980, came up with the idea after talking to the Michigan historian Robert Sklar, a regular participant in Gamson’s Seminar. Okrent’s league became the model for future leagues and initiated widespread interest in fantasy sports, partly because the league was made up by a bunch of journalists who proselytized fantasy baseball to the nation, but the basic idea and rules stem from Gamson.

Fantasy baseball is now a huge industry. Moreover, it’s the way that many contemporary fans of baseball make their connection to the sport. Millions of fans are also fantasy owners. Fantasy baseball also introduced the world of statistics and analysis to the casual sports fan. Now you can’t really talk about the merits of a pitcher without getting into a discussion of WHIP versus ERA, the first of which was a statistic invented for fantasy baseball. It’s literally changed the language we use to talk about baseball.

Forget the Nobel Prize, I think we have a legitimate reason to get a sociologist into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. William Gamson, along with Okrent and Bill James, deserve to be Hall of Famers.

*Gamson talks about his affinity for games in this fun essay in the Sociological Forum.

Written by brayden king

March 17, 2011 at 4:14 pm

meet me in DC!!!

Next week, during IU’s spring break, I will be in Washington, DC  Sat march 12 to 19. I will me hanging out with my brother in law and visiting old friends and colleagues.

If you want to hang out, please email/text/facebook/skype me. I’m flexible. I’ll be spending a lot of time in Arlington/Alexandria but I will make dedicated trips to the District. Evening cruising also an option. You make the time, I’ll bring the orgtheory.

Written by fabiorojas

March 8, 2011 at 12:46 am

Posted in fabio, fun