I’m going to OSCON

I’m going to OSCON in July.  My company agreed to fund half the cost, which was gracious of them considering I’d been there only one month when I submitted my request.

I’m attended only the main conference, because none of the tutorials piqued my interest.

One nice aspect of this trip will be that I’m getting there by train.  Joe Heck likes training to OSCON, and I think he’s got the right idea.

Until recently, I’ve flown when traveling far afield, more out of automatic reflex than any serious consideration.  I considered flying a necessary task that could be enjoyed most of the time, provided one entered into it with a reasonable mindset.

I felt that way until about two years ago.  I don’t know exactly why it happened — maybe it was an accumulation of insults.  But, I just got fed up with the security procedures, the reverse-courses in carry-on rules indicating the incompetence of those entrusted with our safety, and the fear-mongering associated with flying in the US.  Take out your laptops, take off your shoes, put your jackets in the bin, has anyone unknown to you given you a package to bring aboard?…Good grief.  And being led around in mazes, like pigs to slaughter, irritated me no end.  I sometimes felt all that was missing was the electric prod…

Now, I avoid flying wherever possible.  If this means it takes longer to visit a distant family member, so be it.

In the matter of OSCON, flying to Portland was always a borderline case anyway.  After considering the time needed for early airport arrival, runway taxiing, occasional flight delays, baggage-claim, and rental car acquisition, flying between Seattle and Portland was barely faster than driving directly by car.  (Although it was cheaper, since a recent model auto costs about $2.00/mile to run.)  However, for training vs. flying between Seattle and Portland: My round-trip Amtrak ticket is $82 for a business class seat, and the train travel time is 3.5 hours.  If we agree that the safety risks are lower, and if the train’s condition is no worse than that of a typical commercial jet, training to Portalnd should beat flying in terms of cost, hassle, and time.  I’ll find out in July.


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