Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Great Metal T-Shirt Social Experiment

It's been too long since my last post. My apologies to my dedicated readers.

This past weekend I attended the 2009 International Beer Fest in my hometown of Peoria, Illinois. The weather cooperated for the most part: the start of the day was warm and sunny, but it turned a bit chilly and rainy towards the end. But it was never so bad as to force everyone inside, thus making the crowd manageable. As usual, the beer selection was huge (I believe there were over 300 different beers available) and delicious.

I can't remember exactly how many times I've gone, but several times prior to this year's, I wore my Iron Maiden t-shirt. It started as a friendly wager between my wife (then-girlfriend) and I: she wore a shirt that she was sure would attract compliments and attention---sadly, I can't remember what her shirt said. However, I was sure my Iron Maiden t-shirt would get far more compliments. Obviously I wouldn't be blogging about this if I wasn't right: if I remember correctly, the final score was Iron Maiden 8 to her shirt's paltry 2.

For the record, I'm a huge Iron Maiden fan. That I could advertise my fondness of one of the greatest metal bands of all time and conduct a social experiment was... as awesome as Iron Maiden themselves!

So the Iron Maiden t-shirt became a staple of the next few Beer Fests, consistently garnering numerous compliments. Peoria is an Iron Maiden town!

Back to 2009: the Iron Maiden t-shirt lives on, although it's taken a beating over the years (it's at the front of my t-shirt rotation). Also, my wife got me an awesome Megadeth t-shirt for Christmas that was begging to make an appearance at Beer Fest. Just like my computers with which I'm always tinkering, I must also tinker with my "apparel technology". Why fix something that ain't broke? The Iron Maiden t-shirt is a guaranteed hit! My curiosity overwhelmed my sense of sticking with what works.

So I wore the Megadeth t-shirt. The result: a measly two compliments! I truly expected more.

However, this is only a sample size of one. It's not statistically valid. The same thing could have happened with the Iron Maiden t-shirt (but I doubt it).

The question is: do I give the Megadeth t-shirt another try at next year's Beer Fest? Part of me says that I have to---otherwise I'm simply practicing bad science, reducing this to a trivial layperson experiment; it demands sophistication and statistical rigor.

On the other hand, I don't know if I can bear another miss... not to mention a Protest the Hero t-shirt that is patiently waiting for its turn at Beer Fest.

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