I just talked to my new advisor (Cort, the lab manager, who ended up having a Ph.D from Yale) about whether or not I was able to go home for Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks. I anticipated a response something like "that's not my business, don't bother me with it," but after the devastating row I had with Steve last winter, which wrecked me for weeks, this was not something I was willing to be uncertain about.
Cort basically had the response I expected, but added that he has every confidence in my work ethic and is not the least bit concerned about me or my progress. I am free to do as I wish, evidently.
I am as happy as a bivalve.
Secret Confession: As bad as it sounds, I sort of want our new Secretary of Defense to commit some obvious transgression just so the newswires will start chattering about Gatesgate.