This won't cover as much as I had originally intended it to, but it's taking me a super long time to write, so let's just post this. Also, tangentially, I just bought a LiveJournal permanent account, basically because I'm sick of having to make the tough call whether to renew or not every year.
Overview: this year looks to be a big one for travel. Before the time period this post covers, I had already finished up my New Year's trip, gone to Pittsburgh for a quick recruiting trip, and visited Laura in DC. In this post, I go to my sister's graduation (and tack on a nice long vacation around Albany). Still to be covered: I take a long weekend trip to North Carolina. Still to happen: I'm briefly going to Pittsburgh the weekend before the 4th of July, and there looks to be a good chance of at least 2 if not 3 more plane trips this year.
I'm trying to get a handle on long-weekend trips. The drawbacks are that they're so short I probably won't use everything I pack (I have a historically huge tendency to overpack, though I'm trying to curtail it), I have to pay the entire cost of a flight regardless of how long I stay, and a greater percentage of my time is spent physically traveling rather than doing whatever I went to do. The primary benefit, of course, is that I can visit more places and see more people using the same number of vacation days, which given that my supply is quite depleted, is very important. I also can leave Kat and my plants alone for a long weekend, as long as they're well stocked with food and water.
So, on May 25 I flew into Boston, where my dad and Nance picked me up on the way to my sister's graduation from Bates College in Maine. The baccalaureate was on Saturday—I didn't realize that this was going to be a religious ceremony, and though it had a very new-age flavor to it due to the nature of Bates, I was still fairly unimpressed. The commencement was on Sunday, and although I generally find “inspirational” speeches quite uninspiring, the four recipients of honorary degrees made something of an impression on me. Other activities included an art exhibition and a rather odd “concert” on Saturday, and helping my sister pack on Sunday. In addition, there was dinner both nights with my dad and Nance, during which we tried out some local beers.
Monday I went to a baseball game with my dad and Nance, then we drove back to Catskill. Tuesday I hung out with my mom, the most notable event being a 6-mile bike ride. My bike was still there from when I was a kid. I found it surprisingly enjoyable, and it almost made me consider getting a bike here in Dallas, but as I thought about it over the next few weeks, the roads here are anything but bike-friendly. I am still thinking about any option for commuting that's not a car, though (this will likely be another entire post later on).
Wednesday through Thursday I visited Charlie. The upshot of this visit was that we bought a bottle of Tanqueray Rangpur (which I'd been meaning to try, and which was quite good) and finished the entire bottle that night, and thus, I had a nasty hangover the next day that pretty much made that day worthless for visiting. I had sort of expected this to happen, but I hadn't quite realized the degree, and it caused me to re-evaluate whether it was ever worth drinking that much, and decide that the lost value was probably in the range of $200-$400, which I think will mean it's almost never worth doing. This also morphed over the next several days in my head into a realization that (over-drinking being a common example) I often intentionally allow myself to do something even though I think the long-term net consequences will be negative (in shorthand, “intentionally do the wrong thing”) and a resolution to try not to do this any more.
On Saturday, I went with my dad and grandfather to Hyde Park, which is FDR's estate and is basically a museum about him now. My grandfather's health is starting to seriously deteriorate, and he probably realized he wasn't going to have a lot more chances to do it, so after the idea was planted in his head by my uncle and aunt he was pretty insistent about it. It was kind of revolting to me just how openly and unreservedly my grandfather and father approved of FDR, though it did make me reflect on the fact that I hold past politicians to a pretty high standard—I'd probably have no more beef with him than anyone else if most of his programs (primarily Social Security and Medicare) had had sunset clauses (and had actually been phased out). Actually, I think requiring a sunset clause on every law would be a great idea. And I guess FDR probably didn't mess up World War II that badly, which I don't think about nearly as much as the New Deal stuff.
And that's about it for that trip.