They're way overdue, but London entries are finally up:
I'm not sure what happened, but the Word files I originally wrote the entries on got corrupted when I tried transferring them to my computer. It took a lot of very annoying cleanup time to make them readable.
Next time, I'll just use Notepad.
Spring forward, Fall back.
It's a little after 1:00 this cool Sunday morning—that's standard time, not saving time—and by all indications I should probably be sleeping right now, so this will probably be short.
So Robin and Andy are married. As predicted, their big day went very well. The ceremony itself was quite nice, and somehow managed to maintain a packed agenda without turning into a marathon. (I've been to short weddings before, and I've been to packed weddings before, but never a combination of the two.) It also achieved a good balance in its complexity, being appropriately formal at times yet comfortably informal in others. All in all, it was very nice. In many ways it was a lot like Jason and Sarah's wedding back in 2001, albeit without the DJ making an ill-advised decision to play "Pussy Control" during the reception.
At one point Robin mentioned she was a bit worried about her wedding coming across as some stereotypical Central Wisconsin wedding. I was a bit surprised by that, as it didn't seem to be anything of the sort. From experience, for it to be the kind of Central Wisconsin wedding she seemed worried about, it would've had to have folding chairs in the back of the church for extra visitors, a reception down at the VFW (with the faded Pabst Blue Ribbon sign out front), a lot of beat up Ford F-150s and a disproportionate number of mullets. (Not that there's anything inherently wrong with those kind of weddings. I've been to a number of them, and they've always been appropriate for the couple getting married. Well, not the mullets, but everything else.) Robin and Andy's wedding had none of those things. The reception at the country club was classy, and, intentionally or not, the fact the ceremony was held at the ecumenical center on the UW-Eau Claire campus caused it to tap Wisconsin's intellectual and progressive roots. Few weddings get to have such a quality to them.
One final thing before I go to bed, something I have to pass along because it amuses me, especially in context of yesterday's entry about problems wrapping their wedding gift. Robin and Andy wrote short bios of everyone in the wedding party, and mine made me wonder if I've allowed myself to be typecast:
Mark Danielson (Friend of the Bride)—I have never met a better storyteller than Mark. Unfortunately, the stories tend to involve him and very unlikely, undesirable situations. Fortunately, his acceptance of the inevitable and his sense of humor get him through. Luckily for me, our friendship has weathered this well.
As it stands, my new car is spending its fourth straight month at the mechanic, my cell phone has a faulty SIM card and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety thinks my Social Security number is invalid.
On the bright side, I'm lucky to have friends like Robin. That more than evens things out.
) ) )
I suppose that photo could use an explanation. After the reception a number of people headed over to a bar on Eau Claire's Water Street that Robin and Andy frequented when they lived in the area. Out of film, I relied on my digital camera at the bar, giving me the few photos I have available this morning.
) ) )
Update, 8:30 P.M: Holy fuck I took a lot of photos this weekend. This is going to be expensive.
Most TVs have a mute button. The Phillips TV in my room here at the Ramada in downtown Eau Claire has a silence button.
So I'm in Eau Claire. Robin and Andy get married tomorrow a mile or so away on the UWEC campus. The rehearsal was tonight, along with dinner for the families and the wedding party. I'm here by myself, and didn't really know anyone other than the couple to be, but still got along fine due to all nice folks they know and are related to. (I ended up at a table with an engineering student and a photographer. Plenty to talk about.) It was a good evening, and I'm sure tomorrow will go well for Robin and Andy as well.
) ) )
I had a stupid morning. There were a few problems packing Robin and Andy's wedding present a few days ago, mostly due to the size and the shape of the gift, a pair of wooden folding chairs from Target. The chairs weren't sold in boxes, and after a couple of questions I found Target doesn't keep the boxes they were originally shipped in, so I had to improvise. At first I tried wrapping the chairs sans boxes, but the result looked like crap, so I headed off OfficeMax, bought a couple of shipping boxes and fashioned a large rectangular box from them. The resulting box was a bit excessive—it took almost 60 square feet of wrapping paper and 36 feet of ribbon to cover it—but it definitely looked better than the half-assed non-boxed wrapping job I'd tried earlier. Satisfied with my work, I covered the box to hide it from the kitty (shiny, reflective ribbon + curious feline = problems) and forgot about it until this morning.
Why is it the most obvious details are so often the ones that are the easiest to forget? At 7:45 this morning I tried putting the box in my car. By 8:00 I was back in my living room trying to shorten the damn thing by two inches so it would fit.
As said, it was a stupid morning.
) ) )
The last time I camped out in Eau Claire I was a member of the Executive Committee of the United Council of UW Students and was there for one of the organization's regular sessions. It was an interesting year at UW-Manitowoc for me, one marked by editing the school's paper and being involved in student governance. (A conflict of interest, sure, but schools that size wouldn't have a good range of student organizations without such balancing acts.) I don't remember much about the session here in Eau Claire except for the comparative swankiness of the campus as compared to other UW locations, a characteristic probably unrecognized by many that attended UWEC.
Aside from my role on the Exec Committee, I was in charge of driving the massive Ford Econoline we used to shuttle ourselves from Manitowoc to the other schools, and we got stuck in a snowstorm the night we traveled back home from Eau Claire. Wisconsin 29 was still two lanes for most of its length back then and was frequently bordered by deep ditches and lots of trees. No one else in the van seemed to pay much attention to the weather, but it was a white-knuckle ride for me, and one with a brief moment that will always remain ingrained on my memory. We were somewhere east of Wausau when it happened. The snow was coming down pretty hard, but traffic was heavy and moving along at a fast clip for the weather. We were on a long, straight stretch of blacktop with narrow shoulders that didn't leave much room for error. The road directly in front of me was clear, but there was a significant number of cars backed up behind me. At one point a snowplow appeared in the distance, marked by billowing snow and glaring headlights mounted high on its front. It was then that I saw it, the incredibly large deer standing a few hundred feet down my path.
I instinctively let off on the gas and tapped the brakes. Hard braking wasn't an option: the roads were slick, and a momentary loss of control would probably result in us flipping in the ditch or, at best, making a very broad target for the oncoming plow. The deer seemed completely oblivious to his perilous situation, and for a few very difficult moments I was convinced we were going to hit him.
Five seconds from collision, the deer calmly walked into the oncoming lane.
It's the following moment that's frozen in my memory, and I do mean frozen: It's not a memory with movement, but one as still as a picture. There's the deer standing in the road, oblivious, silhouetted by the plow's towering lights, snowflakes twinkling all about him. All the margins seem too small, the possibility of escape nonexistent.
But, in the end, the margins turned out to be big enough. Without a hint of haste in his step, the deer calmly walked off the road the same instant he, the plow and our van passed each other. It wasn't as if he was avoiding the plow as much as he was simply completing his trip to the other side of the road. He probably got a fairly violent blast of snow, of course, but I seriously doubt it was anything he couldn't survive. The person riding shotgun had seen everything I had, but the five people in back had no idea what had just transpired. And, for whatever reason, the two of us didn't decide to clue them in.
We stopped in Shawno about an hour later for food an fuel. People were a bit antsy from the long ride, so everyone bolted as soon as we stopped. Except the two of us. I remained in the driver's seat for a minute, my hands on my lap, my breath slowly crystallizing before me.
I turned. "Did you see that deer?"
"Yeah. That was something else."
"Yeah it was."
We sat in silence for a few more moments before climbing out and rejoining the group.
I graduated from UW-Manitowoc in 1996. It seems like a long time ago.
Aside from getting up at 6:30, and from the extra 45 minutes tacked onto my commute, and from a semi trailer tipping over three cars ahead of mine, I had absolutely no problem going into work for 8:15 this morning.
Lemmings, I tell you. Lemmings.
) ) )
I've started to wonder when exactly I lost control of my schedule. There doesn't seem to be much time for anything these days. When I do get a moment to stop running and unwind, it's usually around 12:30 or 1:00 in the morning, i.e. a half hour before I go to bed. The weekends have been a little more kind, but not by much: Decompression from my Saturdays and Sundays usually starts around 11:00 at night. I'm thinking about logging my days so I know exactly where my time is going, but since that would take time, I probably won't.
) ) )
The London entries aren't up yet. I don't think I could keep a deadline on this site if my life depended on it.
) ) )
On the bright side, around 10:30 Friday evening I finally got the chance to cross another "ashamed I haven't seen it" movie off my list. Brazil is a very, very good film, albeit one that must be watched a couple of times to be fully appreciated. I'd never really noticed Jonathan Pryce before, but his portrayal of the publicly self-effacing Sam Lowry was terrific. Robert DeNiro's time on screen as Harry Tuttle was brief but great as well. The sets and cinematography were gorgeous, and the story was layered, hilarious and painful all at the same time.
In short, I freakin' loved Brazil.
I spent much of my day at work today going over process documentation. The name of the group I work with is printed on the top of each document, and you wouldn't believe how much I wanted to write "We do the work, you do the pleasure" right after it. Heck, I was almost ready to suggest we rename ourselves "Central Services." Either one would work.
Cubs lose. Dammit.
All I can say now is we better not end up with some stupid Marlins/Yankees series.
) ) )
Too much going on at once. There's always too much going on at once.
OK, so I'm back. Kind of. (Actually, I'm home sick today, which means I'm in front of the computer trying to telecommute but not being particularly successful at it.) Not surprisingly, I lied about the London entries. I typed the entries on Word when I was in England and the conversion to HTML went worse than expected, so I now find myself doing things manually. Hopefully they'll be up sometime this week. Hopefully.
) ) )
The fourth annual Turkey Party went off with without any significant hitches Saturday evening. We had around 20 people drop by, the food and conversation were good, and, unlike last year, people actually stuck around for a while. (Also, unlike last year, the turkey was completely demolished over the course of the evening.) While everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, I'm considering changing how I handle the party next year. My motives are completely selfish: I had a number of friends come from out of the area for the evening, and since I kept myself busy as host I didn't get to spend the time with them I would've liked. I'm not sure how to remedy that without ignoring the mechanics of the party, but we'll see.
Hmmm. Maybe that would be a good reason for me to get a girlfriend. Or maybe I'm just missing the big picture again.
Anyway, as it happens, I have a lot of leftover beer in my fridge. Also, despite three bottles of wine being consumed over the course of the party, my apartment experienced a net gain in wine selection, climbing from three bottles to the current five. While I don't see that as being a bad thing, I do feel a bit guilty about it. But it's an evil kind of guilty, so it's probably OK.
) ) )
Okay, I'm still sick. Back to bed.
Ok, so I kind of fell of the face of the Earth there for a while. I have a lot going on across a number of fronts right now, some of it expected, most of it not. I don't really have time to write, although that's not to say I'd necessarily want to if I did.
London was good. I haven't had time to post the entries from the trip yet, but I promise I'll get them up sometime this week. Other than that, I may have to be quiet for the next few days.