Doing sociology in Las Vegas

Las Vegas. 106 degree heat.  6,000 sociologists.  Put them together and what do you get?  The 2011 annual meeting of the American Sociological Association!  Here are the highlights, lowlights and general weirdness from my six hot, loud, strange days in Las Vegas:

– Gave three talks in three days. : (

– Got some awards!  : )

– Indoor smoking.

– Paid $14 to print a two page document.

– Had dinner at the “KGB Burger and Vodka Bar.”

– Beautiful, drought-resistant landscaping at the UNLV campus.

– Misters around town still going at 10 pm, and already on again at 8 am.

– Had my photo taken with Frances Fox Piven!

– Asked Dr. Piven how she handled the Glen Beck attacks and death threats from his followers.  She turned down personal armed guards but did have them posted outside the door of her classroom to protect her students.  : (

– Attended a great talk on blogging by the creators of Sociological Images.  They have something like 600,000 visitors a month and 12,700 Facebook fans.  Check out their recent post on the US Postal Service stamp that features a patriotic close-up of the Statue of Liberty…. the one in Las Vegas.

– Went to the ASA blogger party and met the author of this neat  blog on teaching sociology.  Check out his “Dead Grandmas and Teaching Research Questions” post.

– Heard my advisor Andy Szasz talk about the military’s stance on climate change (it’s real) and what they think needs to be done about it (a lot).  Riley Dunlap pointed out that climate change deniers have given the military a wide berth on this topic. Andy’s point was that the military could be a strong ally to environmentalists.

– Heard the most articulate, eloquent speech of the conference given by a woman from the Las Vegas chapter of the Sex Workers’ Outreach Project.

– $5 “express lane” lines to get into restaurants faster.

– Lounge chairs by the pool that you have to pay to sit on.

– A massive billboard of a woman’s butt at the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road.

– Watched the “Hot Babes Direct To You!” billboard truck go by countless times.  The idea that you could have a woman delivered to your front door like a package was somehow less distressing than the claim that these are “Girls that want to meet you.”

– Was really glad to come home to my own personal brand of weird in beautiful Santa Cruz.