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.

2012 MPSA Conference in Chicago Day 3 Notes – Panel Chair Day

The MPSA conference book is gigantic and rather difficult to plan from. For the most part, I had to look for academic names I knew and track panels by author instead of by subject. Just by chance, I went to the price room a couple hours before the panel I chaired. For the most part, I enjoyed listening to some very theoretical discussions of specific authors who have made contributions to modern political thought. Initially, I caught the tail end of a presentation by Luke Philip Plotica. Luke’s paced and deliberate style reminded me of what it was like to listen to an accomplished high school or college debater competing at a high level. The discussant for the panel focused in like a laser proper citation when discussing relationships between theorists.

Nels Lindahl and Andy at Wrigley
Nels Lindahl and Andy at Wrigley

2012 MPSA Conference in Chicago Day 2 Notes – Paper Day

The Palmer House Hilton was relatively easy to find. The building has a Starbucks located on the street level. People were already lined up to get coffee by the time I got to the conference. Registration for the Midwest Political Science Association conference was painless. My ASUS Eee PC is literally smaller than the 70th annual MPSA conference book. I’ll attached photographic evidence of that reality at the end of this post or on Flickr. I have to confess Open Office writer just did not meet my document processing needs. I downloaded a trial version of Microsoft Office Professional 2010 to get a copy of Microsoft Word on this netbook. The Eee PC does not have an optical drive. That reality stopped me from being able to load my own copy of office, but I digress… I got a piece of banana bread and a tall dark roast coffee with a shot of espresso (e.g. a Redeye) from Starbucks.

My PowerPoint presentation for the conference is titled, “Feedback Driven E-Government: A Study of Local Government E-Feedback Methodology.” The subtitle should read, “A few slides with graphs supplemented by a lot of talking…” When I get back to Colorado Springs I will provide a link to the PowerPoint presentation [here]. At some point, I’m going to pair some data from the NPL Research Group with my dissertation survey to start building a longitudinal dataset related to E-Feedback.

It’s nice to be able to walk around town in a suit without being judged. Pretty much everybody at the conference is wearing a suit and tie. A few people (mostly students) are trying to pull off a blazer look. I’m not a fan of blazers…

The Palmer House has HP mini computers and LCD projectors available to the presenters. At some point within the next couple of weeks I will probably start bidding on HP mini computers.

Nels Lindahl MPSA 2012 Conference Paper
Nels Lindahl MPSA 2012 Conference Paper

Action item: Review a few samples and submit a National Science Foundation grant application at some point before the close of 2012.

The conference panel chair had the entire pool of participants move to the audience area. In hindsight, the chair made the right call. Everybody enjoyed the presentations and discussions from the audience. Welch did a good job keeping all of the academic presentations on schedule.

Would a paper titled, “Increasing disaster management coordination and collaboration by using E-Project Management based on E-Government models,” be publishable?

Action item: Pull the MPSA conference book into a database and compare the elements to major journal publications… what is the degree of correlation?

2012 MPSA Conference in Chicago Day 1 Notes – Hello Chicago!

The ASUS Eee PC netbook that I won through an online auction arrived in time for my trip to Chicago. The only damage to the unit appears to be near the keyboard. It looks like somebody wanted to service the hard drive or RAM and tried to pry open the unit. With a little bit of maintenance I will probably be able to restore the unit to the pinnacle of its original esthetic glory.

The installation of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview operating system took about thirty minutes. I’m giving open office a try instead of Microsoft Word. My Sprint Hotspot is working well in 3G mode at the airport in Colorado Springs. The only problem I have run into so far with the Eee PC has been the sensitivity of the mouse. The smaller keyboard makes it very easy to rest part of my palm on the mouse pad. I’m starting to adjust to this inconvenience, but I think it might take a couple of days. Windows 8 is estimating that my batter life should be about 7 hours. I should be able to take plenty of notes during the conference.

I have been getting a ton of recommendations for places to visit in Chicago. Here is what I have so far:

Based on a recommendation that I received at work, I plan on checking out a restaurant in Chicago called Gino’s East. Allegedly, Gino’s makes a world renowned spinach deep dish pizza. If the pizza passes the test, then I might just send a pie back to Colorado Springs.

  • Andy and I are going to visit Wrigley Field for a Cubs game.

  • Pretty much everybody recommends waking up early on a Saturday morning and hitting up Hot Doug’s before the line gets ridiculously long.

  • I’m probably going to check out Carson’s Famous Barbeque Ribs.