Eating cheaply at General Assembly

The General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association has the twin powers of drawing a lot of interested people and at the same time stretching budgets past their breaking points.

One of the pain points is food. (I recall first-hand the problem of scavenging for food at GA when I was younger.)

This is an open blog post; please feel free to share those tips you have for eating economically in downtown Providence, Rhode Island. Please include groceries that can be easily reached by public transportation. Nobody wants to eat at the CVS for a week.

Particular knowledge about specialized food requirements such as vegan or gluten-free food is especially welcome.

Get your rail tickets for Providence General Assembly

Amtrak is an affordable, appealing option for many Unitarian Universalists coming from out of town to Providence for General Assembly.

The tickets become much more expensive if you buy them within 21 days of travel. Other discounts exists, but it’s hard to be the convenience of a single passenger travelling. Companion fares which could be booked later really don’t see you that much by comparison. So get your tickets now.

Use this tool to find the cheapest tickets from your location to Providence.

Google, for flight planning

So I stumbled across a new, handy, location-aware flight planning tool on Google. And so continues my love-hate relationship with Big G.

Click this — you should get prices for flights to General Assembly;t=PVD;d=2014-06-25;r=2014-06-29;ti=t0000-1100,t1700-2400;mc=m

I would appreciate you telling me what you actually get.

Get cozy at Providence GA

The General Assembly housing site opened today I was curious to see how much rooms would cost in Providence for General Assembly. (Not for myself: I’m staying with friends.) The city is rather thin for hotels, and when (in my day job) I sent people there, I thought the price was high.

But every room for the days of General Assembly (GA) proper were full. How? Ah.

Hotel rooms for General Assembly are currently sold out. Due to unforeseen circumstances, two hotels originally contracted (Renaissance and Hilton) are now involved in labor disputes. We terminated our contracts with these properties as the UUA supports fair labor practices. Dormitory style housing is still available at Rhode Island School of Design and Brown University click here. We are working to secure additional hotels in surrounding communities and will post as they become available. Be advised that housing is fluid, so please check back on a regular basis to see if rooms have become available.

As if the trouble with Phoenix GA hotels wasn’t heartburn inducing enough.

I feel bad for the GA office, but the policy is correct. If you had to make a short list of people whose well-being could be improved by ethical spending, hotel workers would be high on the list and they deserve our support.

This puts financially strapped attendees in a bind: do you go to the rejected hotels and side with management? I hope the core labor isseo can be resolved, but the least one can do is not cross the picket line early.

Also, take the dorm room option seriouly, if you hadn’t before. Oh, and if you got a room today, double up.

How did the “California Pilgrimage” train go?

Was a special
Boston, Wrocester, Springfield, Albany, Utica, Syracuse, Rochester, Chicago

Change at Omaha, via Wyoming, Salt Lake City

Social justice jargon watch

I’m just back from the Esperanto-USA  conference, so I’ll be posting (as appropriate) about that later.

I’m also still ruminating about the recent Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly.

The first thought. It’s a red flag when someone starts a thought with some part or variant of Theodore Parker’s “arc of the universe” quotation and ends with (in so many words) “now do what I tell you.”

So, who’s going to General Assembly?

I got a “personal” invitation to attend Phoenix General Assembly from UUA president Peter Morales by email on February 14. I do not now nor have I ever planned to attend. It surely has to be the most mixed and conflicted must-go/don’t-host event I’ve ever seen.

Are you going, or not, and why?

New congregation news within the UUA

Looking back over the last six months of UUA Board of Trustees minutes, I’ve found one congregational admission (45 members) and one merger (24 members), meaning no net change. That’s not good news for the association, but best wishes to the congregations in Ohio and Oklahoma.

from the General Assembly-timed June 21-27, 2011 minutes:

VOTED: To accept the following congregation as a member of the Unitarian
Universalist Association:
Harmony Unitarian Universalist Church
Morrow, OH

Additionally, it was reported that the UU Community Church of Norman OK had voted to dissolve and that the UU Fellowship of Norman, Norman OK, has voted to change it’s name to the West Wind Unitarian Congregation as of July 1, 2011, resulting in the two congregations of Norman, OK becoming one congregation