Chicago was a good conference all the way around. Very good sessions, a great group of people, and great food. After all, it is Chicago, one of the top couple of food cities in the U S of A. Good corn-fed beef and ribs, mmm mmm mmm. I manage to get myself to the Windy City for a conference (or two, if I can really pull a coup with the travel office at work) every year, and one of the highlights is definitely the food. The hotel is old and grand, a two story lobby with beautiful old fabric and fine woodwork. Very stately and grand. And a whole bunch of places within walking distance to eat and shop and eat . . . and then maybe eat some more. And of course the shopping on the Magnificent Mile is top of the line. Depending on the scheduled events for the conference (I go to two different conferences that meet at times in the Second City), there can be pretty decent down time. One time a Chicago conference had me spending a day on the Mile shopping for family and friends. One time a different conerence had my walking to the Sears Tower. By the way, it is really tall. This was before 9 - 11 - 01, so I suppose it is even taller now. In comparison, I mean. Of course it was probably safer when I was there, too. I wonder how close I could get to the Sears Tower nowadays.
But back to the conference. I presented my paper in the middle of the second day of the three day conference, which I suspected was a pretty prime spot. As it turned out, and as I sort of suspected, there was a good reason for this. I ended up winning the Distinguished Paper Award from the organization. There is an umbrella group under which about 12 separate organizations meet, and it is from one of these that I won the award. Very nice plaque. And did I mention the $100 check? Nice. The way it works out is that the check comes from the separate organization, so I had to attend the Annual Meeting of this organization. That was when the $100 check came into being. That was a nice surprise. Then I went to the main meeting of the umbrella group, which included a nice lunch for the entire group, then I wa presented the plaque. Now all I need is to find a nice place onthe wall for to hang this bad boy.
The nice thing about this organization is that there are so many different groups represented under the umbrella, that there are a wide range of types of papers presented. My field, a few related fields, and a bunch of other fields were all represented. Plenty of places to find good people presenteing good papers, helpful for both the teaching part of my job and the practitioner part of my job. I try to teach things that are practical, which is not the main thrust of all academics, but that is what I specifically shoot for. So papers with a real world application appeal to me. The ones with too many formulas, too much calculus, and too many big words are just not of interest to me. I mean I recognize that the theorists have a role, but I prefer to let them do their work, and then I will read not them but those who have interpreted and applied the theorist's work to . . . guess what . . . the real world. I live in the real world, and certainly my students live in the real world, so studying and researching and thinking about things that are not inthe real world is not my role. It is the role of others, I have no problem with those people and their roles, it is just not the role for me. Different strokes and all of that, I suppose. But anyway, this conference has enough different types of papers that there is almost always a practical paper being presented somewhere in the conference.
But back to the food. The hotel is in a block that contains a bunch of helpful places. A real nice place that I ate at twice, sort of my touchstone for dining at this conference, had tremendous ribs as a lunch one day, with some kind of seasoned mashed potatoes. The came place has a great skillet for breakfast, some great concoction of sausage, eggs, biscuits, and peppers. Top of the food chain, that is. Very yummy food. The conference fed me a little and I wandered down to get another nice meal a few blocks away. I am not a big fan of big cities, at least in my head, having never been to N Y C and having absolutely no desire to ever go to N Y C, but Chicago is a fun time. That is my kind of town, Chicago is . . . that tottling town, let me show you around.
And of course the nice thing about travel is that I get a nice per diem from the state no mater how much or little cash money I spend on food. So I treated myself to some fun and expensive entertainment, that along with the hundred bucks for the award, let me do good work, eat well, have fen, and make a few bucks. Only in America.