2012 MPSA Conference in Chicago Trip Recap

Here are my final thoughts on my first trip to Chicago. Pretty much all prose generation and consumption is going digital… electronic devices are everywhere and are not going away. Maybe you are wondering, “What did I do in Chicago?” Well my answer involves two parts. First, a short recap of my trip; I attended the MPSA conference, presented a conference paper, chaired a conference panel, enjoyed the PNC club at a Cubs game, ate at Hot Doug’s, dined at The Gage, attended a show at The Second City, and spent some time wondering around C2E2. Second, I will provide an indulgently rambling reverse chronological description of events… speaking of which my self-reflective journey is about to start with a reverse chronological accounting of some of the memorable events.

Andy was kind enough to drive me to the airport this morning. The Zip Company rented Andy a very nice BMW 325i sedan. With a cabby hat in hand Andy was a splendid driver. Andy was missing driving gloves and a sweet sign that read, “Dr. Lindahl.” Let me say, “I’m pretty sure that the 71st annual MPSA conference in Chicago will warrant a return trip to the windy city.” I can definitely add the MPSA conference to my yearly conference attendance plan. In general, as an academic I want to attend three conferences per year. My goal is very simple and straightforward. Conferences have deadlines and deadlines force writers to produce. More or less the requirement to produce three academic papers a year keeps me working on projects year-round. The BMW 325i is a pretty fantastic automobile. Maybe after growing up I will be able to afford a sweet sweet BMW.

Saturday night concluded at a wine bar somewhere within walking distance of The Second City Theater. At the very end of the night a massive rainstorm nearly flooded the streets of Chicago. Even the cab driver seemed a little nervous about the sheer volume of water on the roads. The 100th review show at The Second City Theater was pretty engaging; however, the second half of the show was extremely superior to the first half in terms of content and originality. I’ll write a much longer review of The Second City later when I have more time. My flight boards in about forty minutes and I still have several days of traveling to recap. Anyway, I digress… Andy and I spent the better part of Saturday at the C2E2 event at the McCormick Center. While I never actually got to taunt Val Kilmer I did run into John Wigner which was fairly entertaining (Remember to insert the photo of John with the Wolverine claws). John may or may not have challenged Andy to a BBQ throw down of herculean proportions.

Before going to C2E2 Andy and I hit up the legendary (if not epic) Hot Doug’s. I had never had a Chicago style hotdog before eating at Hot Doug’s. Even though the proprietor would not deep fry a corn dog in duck fat for Andy all was not lost. The grilled Chicago style hotdog was epic. I enjoy the fries and Andy even ran into an old high school friend. Andy’s friends naturally enjoyed my suit and tie. Did I mention that I suited up the entire trip? No. Well; I had pretty much taken for granted that by this point in the story that being legendary was assumed.  I was pretty much the only person who rocked Hot Doug’s, C2E2, The Second City, and a wine bar in a suit.

Friday turned out to be a pretty relaxed day. Andy, Colleen, and I hit up a restaurant called The Gage via a reservation and recommendation from Open Table. Reviewers on the internet extolled the virtues of the single malt scotch menu that The Gage thoughtfully provides to patrons interested in Scottish libations. Earlier that day I chaired a panel on digital government at the 70th annual Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA) conference at the Palmer House Hilton hotel. The day started off and concluded well. I started the day with a redeye from Starbucks and finished with a drink imported from Scotland.

Day games at Wrigley Field can be epic. On Thursday, Andy scored PNC club tickets at Wrigley Field to watch the Milwaukee Brewers play the Chicago Cubs. The PNC club is a suite level experience at Wrigley that literally has caused people to spontaneously scream, “Legend wait for it (still waiting for it) dary…”  I plan on visiting the PNC club at some point next year during the 71st annual MPSA conference. Before heading out to Wrigley field I presented a paper on E-Feedback. The presentation was epic.