Thursday, March 27, 2008

Wedding Poisoning

I realize they make money off of making me stressed

I felt like we got off to a roaring start, getting decisions made, calling down tent people, caterers, shopping for rings, getting things printed and sent! Oh MY! You've gotten so much done! Then, a lull.

I found a ring I was pretty set on, after being told it could be made in a different metal. Then finding out it couldn't be made in the metal I want, and really? Only available in metals that cost real money. I'd rather pay the artist for their time and talent than the metal they use, but we'll find out today whether I'm back to square one on this one. I'm holding my judgment until I get the final price quote. Paul? Found his ring already. Smart boy.

We found a caterer, about whom we just know he's ben doing this a long time and is a straight-forward, no fuss kind of guy. Food is the single most expensive part of this shindig, and with good reason, I suppose. We really like to eat! Having made a decision on a caterer, we now get to met and plan the details. What will we eat?

There's this whole industry built around weddings, which is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it makes it easy to get direction on what needs to be done next, and easy access to resources to get it done. On the other hand, it is there to sell you on all sorts of crap you don't need, at ridiculous prices, and make you stressed out in the process. For instance, six months to go and you haven't gotten a photographer lined up? For shame! Aren't you planning on making *Out Of Town Bags* to leave at the hotel rooms of people who are coming from out of town? You ARE going to take Engagement pictures, video and pre-and post wedding pictures (including getting all dressed up in dress and all, a day before the wedding to take pics at several locations around town), right? I'm supposed to be convinced that instead of one big overpriced wedding cake, I should consider individual mini tier-cakes for each guest. Totally.

To answer any questions you might have, and properly set expecations in advance:
  1. I do need to find a photographer. Yikes.
  2. Out of Towners will be lucky if I give them a map. By email.
  3. We are not taking engagement pictures, video, or pre-wedding pictures, boudior pictures, trash the dress pictures, or any other, as-yet-unknown-to-me, "hot new trend" photo-racket. We do want photos of the wedding and party, but photographers are $$$, and we will probably rarely look at these things anyway.
  4. I love me some cake. But I prefer eating cake, to looking at it. No icky fondant! yuck!

In poring over wedding-related websites, I have seen some really funny stuff. But if you stare at it too long, it sort of poisons you. Thankfully, I don't have the situation apparently experienced by a lot of other brides-to-be. My family doesn't care what I do, or don't do, and there aren't any "expectations." Everyone already knows I'm an uncivilized lout. We have some guiding principles that are loosely shaping this thing:

  1. People > fanciness. We decided early on that our priority was having everyone present that we could, that we'd cut costs on things that don't matter (flowers, bands, purty cake) rather than guest list (which, unfortunately, seems to be the preferred way to manage costs for a lot of people)
  2. DIY > throw money at it. I like making stuff. Making stuff can be stressful, and it can be fun. Hiring a DJ seems dumb when we can just use an iPod. Results may be great, or they may be super-janky but they'll be *our* results! I will make my dress, and the invitations, and anything else I can find time for. So if they suck, at least you know it's my fault. That smudge you see on the invites? The stitch out of place on my dress? That's me!

We're terribly excited to share this day with the people who mean the most to us. We may skip out on some of the trappings, but hope you'll enjoy this party as much as we plan to!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

From Charles: Working at Google.

I want a cake now. Dammit.

Fresh baked snickerdoodles, though. It will hve to do.

Bloggy birdies

It is true. I do not write to my blog much anymore.
For one thing, I am busy. I have a job, that I love, and that kes me occupied. Plus there's the whole PMP thing, and the wedding thing. And then, I think I still have hobbies.

One thing I waste entirely too much time on is trying to read the whole internet. You know, the whole thing. Daily. Knowing that is impossible, I keep it to a reasonable bazillion blogs I read in Google Reader. (yes, even before I worked here I was a big fan of the google stuff)

Yesterday I read this wonderful post on my science blogs feed:

Do you remember the first time you ever saw a particular bird species: how the light caressed its feathers, adding fiery depth to color; its innate busyness as it searched for careless insects or plump fruits, or its fierce hope as it courted future mates; the rich sound of its voice as it spoke volumes to its companions; the intense flash of life in its gleaming eyes when it caught sight of you huddled behind your 'scope or binoculars, holding your breath, wishing this singular moment would never end; that special sound of wings snapping through the air as it took flight, leaving you behind, suddenly alone, feet rooted into the moist soil like bricks, while your parched soul rose up alongside?
I encourage you to read the entire post, and see the pictures. Very beautiful, and sad.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Not In My Backyard, please!

Despite myself, I would like these damn things to be illegal. Normally, I want nothing to do with legislating people's general behavior. But this? This goes too far? How lazy ARE you?!?!

Leaf blowers. I hates them.
I rarely saw them for the past decade because there weren't very many leaves to blow around in San Francisco. In Mountain View, they are every-damn-where.

I walk to work fairly frequently, and I see a lot of these. We see them on the weekends. We hear them all the time. I can't tell you how many times I've watched some lazy jerk chasing a single leaf around a yard with one of these things.

PLEASE. STOP. There is this new thing out now, that is like a leaf blower, but it's quiet, doesn't pollute, and you also get some exercise. I think it's called a "rake," or something.

Actually, if they marketed rakes on the infomercial channel as wonder-weight-loss machines, we might get somewhere on this.

Given that these things are omg noisy, omg pollutey*, and the fact that we all need the exercise, what can we do to get rid of them? I do not like legislating what people do, but this is ridiculous and harmful. There is no upside to leaf blowers!

* A 2000 report by the California EPA determined that the average residential leaf blower produces 145 times more hydrocarbons, 7.5 times more carbon monoxide, and 11 times more particulate matter in one hour than a 1999-2000 light duty vehicle driven at 30 mph, getting 15 miles to the gallon. The hydrocarbon emissions produced from one-half hour of residential leaf blower operation are equal to the emissions produced from driving 2200 miles, comparable to a round trip from Denver to San Diego. Commercial leaf blowers with more horse power are even more polluting.

Pollution from dust and debris is also a significant issue. Leaf blowers' powerful engine jets have the unintended consequence of disturbing and suspending smaller particulate matter such as dust, fecal matter, pesticides, fungi, chemicals, fertilizers, spores, and street dirt that consists of lead and organic and elemental carbon, according to the California EPA.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Babytown visits us

Successful weekend!

Saturday we spent the evening with my parents and sister, and drank a whole bunch of wine. We also discussed the relative merits of petting zoos vs. bouncy castles at the wedding (I stand firmly in the petting zoo camp) and, um, "good tarps."

Saturday we knocked out some invitational goodness at Kinkos, and had a damn fine walk around the bustling hubbub of Mountain View. In the evening, we hopped on the Yamabego and met Lionel and Jen at Zeni in San Jose (very tasty Ethiopian food) and were blessed by their inability to find a babysitter. We got to meet Amara for the first time, and what a cutie! Very interactive and friendly. She was pretty good in the restaurant, and damn, did she put away a lot of food.

Sunday we skipped the farmer's market (dang daylight savings) and then cleaned up our shitshack in preparation for having a toddler in the house. Oh noes! Beware! We had not had kids in the house yet, and it turned out OK. Nothing was broken except the cat's trust. Jesse and Amy brought Quinn, who is about two but looks more like four. He had lots of fun with the weightbench, dumbells, wrenches, and pretty much all the big metal stuff he could toss around and "fix." He gleefully screeched at the cat, who hid, and hid, and hid. Then we took him to the park, and then pizza, and then after a little more visiting time, they went home. We do not see nearly enough of them.

Also, we are chugging along on wedding plans. There's a lot to do, but this is still an easier project than others I'm working on, and a lot more fun. I'm terribly excited. I'm working on perfecting my delivery of "IT'S *MY* SPECIAL DAY AND I WANT DOLPHINS IN THE POOL!"