Last weekend, I again traveled back to Cornell for HomecomingBonecoming. And not just any version - this was the triennial Grand Bonecoming, for which the only valid excuses for absence are serious illness and injury or a significant conflicting commitment. Otherwise, all of Da Bones best be there. The last time we rolled in this manner, back in 2007, I took leave from the Navy to make it back to Ithaca for the first time since my unceremonious departure from CU. I also wrote over 4,000 words about that weekend. I made it up there again last year, and kept the narrative much shorter. That's how we're going to do this one as well - a list of the major takeaway points from the weekend.
The weekend started in a very non-Cornellian way. Before I left Hofstra, I attended the convocation that opened its Diamond Celebration Weekend. President Rabinowitz gave an excellent synopsis of my current school's history. That was followed by several other addresses, including one from Ted Koppel, who apparently didn't get the invite until three days before. He made some very pertinent remarks about the state of communication on our society and what we might be losing in our seemingly unending drive for greater immediacy. All the speakers mixed in jokes, and they got their punch lines off successfully. This gave me pause. If we have all these people who can properly tell jokes, why did Hofstra bring in Jimmy Fallon on Saturday night - a comedian who is known for, among other things, his inability to keep his composure?
After drinking at the Chapter House on Thursday night, several of us walked down Stewart Avenue to Hot Truck. The PMP I received was only vaguely reminiscent of the ones I remembered. It was maybe one-third the length. I wolfed it down in like, eight minutes or so; back in the day, I would barely finish it or leave a little bit behind. Bob (may he rest in peace) is probably spinning in his grave.
I spent the day Friday doing something I'd never done before, either at a Bonecoming or any other time: wine touring in the Finger Lakes. We managed to hit three vineyards of varying quality: Dr. Konstantin Frank, Bully Hill, and Atwater. Curiously, I had some familiarity with all three. A bottle from Dr. Frank's vineyard was among the alcohol gifted to me by J. Raymond when he left New Hampshire. I knew Bully Hill as the official wine of the Islanders, and one of our bone-playing brethren worked at Atwater once upon a time. As the various varietals were poured, I was very much reminded of one of my favorite movies, Sideways. I felt like Thomas Haden Church's character, Jack, who is devoid of any palate - every wine "[tasted] pretty good to me." Unlike my more knowledgeable companions, I did not pour any of my wine into the refuse containers. I did not wish to squander alcohol in such a manner. We ended the afternoon at Finger Lakes Distilling, opened just last year. The mere thought of this made me a bit queasy; three wineries, beer over lunch, and now we're sampling shots? But one deep breath and one reminder to myself to "man up and rally" got me through it - and the product wasn't half bad. A fine way to spend a Friday...but the Islanders need to find themselves a new winery. Preferably, a North Fork vineyard.
For a short while on Friday evening, the Glenwood Pines basically turned into the Bonewood Pines. Between the Bones and their spouses and children, the final count was 73 (I think). It didn't quite rise to the level of the BRMB's takeover of the Nines on First Night, but is was close. And the food was better. To this day, I will eat any number and variety of regular hamburgers, but only the Pinesburger meets the cheeseburger standard for me.
Star Trek played an unexpected role in a few of the events of the weekend. I will not elaborate on that statement. You're free to draw any conclusions you want from this, but unless you were present, you'll almost certainly be wrong.
The game was not so much different from so many of the others I've attended over the years. That applies to both the quality of the play (more than a few levels below the SEC or the Pac-10) and the result (a 21-7 Yale win). I'm amazed that I was able to make it through the afternoon without the assistance of a significant quantity of "medicine," if you take my meaning. I broke out the trombone again, and was roughly as mediocre as I was last year. The highlight was Scersk getting through the cheer of Cornell's motto, in "give me an __" format, without any mistakes. That motto, by the way, is "I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study."
(This item added Tues, 5 Oct) The trumpets...oh, how they suck. For one thing, they broke out the "moose" cheer one too many times during the postgame concert, which led to something that I don't recall happening previously: it being shot down. The trombones insisted on playing through the song. Eventually we did restart "Emerald Eyes" from the top, but justice was served. And from earlier, the trumpets' rendition of the Monday Night Football theme was worse than subpar. I've never liked it. Fortunately, I have a way to fix this problem - someone should arrange the SEC on CBS theme for the full band. It's a great song, it kills off (or at least marginalizes) MNF, it exudes college football, and it reminds the spectators that they're not watching BCS-caliber play.
The punch at Saturday night's party was blue. It was also outstanding. It produced exactly the right sequence of effects: not feeling it at first, thus facilitating its consumption - but when it hits, it does so with a force. For me, that hit occurred on East State Street, as some us were transferring the party between houses.
Don't do brunch at Rulloff's in Collegetown. Just...no. Please don't. This a public service message brought to you by twelve fluid ounces.
The weekend produced two lingering effects. One was a nasty sunburn on my head, due to the weather report for Saturday being about as wrong as it could have been. The other was an unexpected and unexplained drop in my appetite for a few days after getting back to Long Island. Given the trend of my weight, that's not really a bad thing. Wait, did I say unexplained? I have a funny feeling that three nights of consumption, each harder than the last, might have had something to do with it.
Last item: I have long maintained that upon completion of my bachelor's degree, I would not wish to pursue any further schooling. However, after this trip, I'm willing to entertain one exception - a one-year Master of Engineering at Cornell, subject to financial and acceptance constraints. I'm not saying I'm going to go after that, but I'm willing to keep it as an open option down the road.
So much fun, and so worth the day and a half of classes I ditched to make this trip. As I drove to Hofstra on Tuesday morning, a song came on the radio that perfectly captured the feel of the weekend. And so I'll end with some of that song's words:
Hold on, we're gonna make it if it takes all night Hearts racing like a rocket at the speed of light Don't fight it, we've been runnin' for far too long We're goin' back where we belong
So hold on, we got our wings and we're chasing the wind Farewell to all the places we have been And if it takes us all night long We're goin' back where we belong...