Monthly Archives: May 2007

Aaron and Karen's Wedding

Bonding with Dennis and Rob

At the rehearsal din­ner I was lucky enough to meet Dennis, Aaron’s old­er cousin from Edinburgh, Scotland, and we imme­di­ate­ly hit it off. Some peo­ple don’t so much talk with you as at you, where­as talk­ing to oth­ers can be like drag­ging a stick through the mud, but for us it was the per­fect bal­ance. The art of con­ver­sa­tion is dead, we agreed, and find­ing each oth­er was like two Masonic broth­ers from dif­fer­ent lodges meet­ing for the first time.

Pat lat­er told me that, on arriv­ing, he did­n’t say hi to me for fear of inter­rupt­ing us. Our faces were so intense, focused on each oth­er, he said. Dennis and I exchanged con­tact info, and he offered me a place to stay if I ever went to Scotland. Normally, I’d brush off such an invi­ta­tion as a glib pleas­antry, if it weren’t for the fact that he repeat­ed it five or six times over both nights. In return, I offered him a place to stay if he ever want­ed to give Nana and Popa (whom he calls June and Vic) a break. It’s fun­ny, I nev­er knew their names until then.

I also had a good talk with Rob while Aaron and Chris were out­side smok­ing cig­ars that night (which turned into the morn­ing) before the wed­ding. We bond­ed over our love of Aaron, and I got to probe Rob, who’s deep enough for an entire entry I’ll be post­ing soon.

This is the Story of Aaron and Karen

Before I gave my speech, I showed this video as a way for every­one, but most impor­tant­ly Aaron and Karen, to know how the groom’s side felt. Notice the keg-can of Heineken in Trolley’s shots.

I learned a lot about being an inter­view­er, about ask­ing the right ques­tions, about try­ing not to laugh at fun­ny sto­ries. You can hear in the way I ask Jay (yel­low shirt), “In what way?”, that my cheeks are tight­ened in a big smile. I also real­ized that I should­n’t fin­ish oth­er peo­ples thoughts, which is a bad habit of mine. The inter­view­er should­n’t present any bias.

Everyone told me after­ward that they were touched by how Aaron spoke from the heart. The inter­est­ing thing is that peo­ple were laugh­ing at parts I did­n’t expect them to laugh at. In my speech too. I don’t write to be fun­ny; I can’t be a fun­ny per­son why I try. It hap­pens rather acci­den­tal­ly.

The speech did go well. I like how peo­ple start­ed say­ing, “Woo hoo!” and “Cheers to that!” for the toast. If you lis­ten close­ly after I give my thanks, there’s one per­son who claps well before any­one else, and I’ll for­ev­er be won­der­ing who it was and why they were clap­ping with such vig­or.

Wedding Opportunities

Thumbnail: Me in a kilt

The cer­e­mo­ny was short and sweet, though it was a lit­tle cold. The Prince Charlie jack­et does­n’t breathe, so the grooms­men were warm for most of it. I felt bad for the brides­maids though, who wore back­less, sleeve­less dress­es.

I caught up with Nick and Alison, whom I hope to see for a few pho­to projects down in that area at some point dur­ing the sum­mer (I wish I was able to bring my cam­era to the wed­ding though). I got to know Steph a lit­tle bet­ter, and you could tell from the way she talks that she real­ly cares about Trolley, which was impor­tant for me to find out. Hanging out with Jay was a blast too; he’s a real­ly fun, easy-going guy, and I can total­ly see why he’s such good friends with Aaron. Pat did some robot­ics for us to the Scottish dance music, and I had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to intro­duce him to Dennis, hop­ing that both con­ver­sa­tion­al­ists would hit it off.

We danced, we min­gled, we ate, we laughed. Weddings always offer great oppor­tu­ni­ties for such things. What oth­er chance would I have to wear some­thing as fun as the Scottish regalia (although Dennis explained to me that Ontario and Canada have their own tar­tans, and that I’d have the right to wear one if I want­ed).

A good time was had by all.

A Lighter Life, A Lighter Layout

I was talk­ing to Pat the oth­er day and the sub­ject of my siz­able debt came up. Debt used to trou­ble me. I did every­thing I could to stay debt-free, and was suc­cess­ful until this year. For some rea­son though, I stopped car­ing about mon­ey. “You must be real­ly hap­py”, he said, “if some­thing that big does­n’t both­er you any­more”.

It was true, but I nev­er real­ized it until then. All the good things in life have eas­i­ly out­weighed the bad. There isn’t a sin­gle thing that I can point to and explain why, but it’s hap­pened — grad­u­al­ly, pro­gres­sive­ly — over the course of the last year or so. I’ve become very com­fort­able with myself. I’m hap­py with who I am. The con­fi­dence I’ve gained, my luck in meet­ing Bronwen, the res­o­lu­tion of the sit­u­a­tion with my mom have all con­tributed I’m sure. The small things don’t both­er me any­more, and almost every­thing is a small thing. I still lose sight of the big pic­ture every now and then and get in one of my moods, but they don’t last as long as they used to.

Now a new design.

I’ve had my own site since 1996, and look­ing back on all the dif­fer­ent ver­sions (around two dozen in all) I real­ize that they’ve all been dark — less than 30% grey. I used to be a dark per­son, and the designs were a reflec­tion of this.

This new design serves two pur­pos­es. Metaphorically, the light grey (93%) rep­re­sents my feel­ing of mirth. Technically, through var­i­ous tweak­ing, I can take advan­tage of dif­fer­ent design ele­ments, such as strong (these were links in the last iter­a­tion) and empha­sis. I also want­ed to go back to the tra­di­tion­al under­lined links, with a slight hov­er flour­ish. Pixel icons have been updat­ed for extra play­ful­ness. Also added is a colophon in the About sec­tion.

Not a com­plete lay­out change — real­ly, it’s most­ly colour — but prob­a­bly the most dras­tic change I’ve ever made to the site.

And it fits per­fect­ly with how I feel.

Spring Is The Feeling

Spring flowers 1 
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Spring flowers 4 
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Spring flowers 7 
Spring flowers 8 
Spring flowers 9 
Spring flowers 10 

Spring is when you wake up, and you’re sick and you’re grog­gy and your hair refus­es to co-oper­ate, and your iPod ran out of bat­ter­ies, and you’re late for work but you take your time walk­ing any­way because the sun’s in your face and the wind’s at your back and for some rea­son you know that every­thing’s going to be alright.

Misery is a Missing a Blonde Redhead Concert (and a Butterfly)

There’s a Blonde Redhead con­cert tonight. I was going to head to Toronto to see it with Darren and we would have made it a week­end togeth­er, but the wed­ding rehearsal has tak­en pri­or­i­ty. I’ve been going through 23 since it came out last month, and it still feels a lit­tle for­eign. The songs don’t hit you in the gut or give you the same sense of lyser­gic bliss like ones from Misery is a Butterfly, but over­all it’s a decent album. Ironically, the lat­ter album is what I lis­ten to cheer myself up, but now it only serves as a reminder of what I’m miss­ing. I would have giv­en any­thing to be there.

My heart is in Toronto today.

Aaron's Bachelor Party

The bach­e­lor par­ty went bet­ter than I could have ever planned. Aaron want­ed a week­end where the grooms­men could bond with each oth­er so ini­tial plans were to head to Montreal, but I sug­gest­ed to host it at my house, where I felt like I had the most con­trol.

Friday night was drink­ing with every­one at the Honest Lawyer. We got the biggest table there, and for a cou­ple hours it felt like we owned the bar with our large and row­dy group. There was much tom­fool­ery to which our lips are sealed, as is the cus­tom for any bach­e­lor par­ty, the footage of which will for­ev­er be locked in the vault. There’s noth­ing wrong with a drink or three though.

I even moon­walked (or some rea­son­able fac­sim­i­le there­of) around the perime­ter of the bar, weav­ing between groups of peo­ple, put up by Pat for 10 points. He said the fun­ni­est thing was see­ing every­one’s reac­tion. I was too busy mak­ing sure I did­n’t bump into any­one to notice that peo­ple stopped what they were doing and turned their heads as I passed them. When I closed the cir­cle the table cheered and I felt all eyes in the place on me. Something I nor­mal­ly avoid at all costs, but I’d be lying if I said it did­n’t feel good.

Thumbnail: Best fries in the city 
Thumbnail: Table left 
Thumbnail: Table left 
Thumbnail: Table left 
Thumbnail: Trolley and Aaron 
Thumbnail: Row of drinks 

It was also a meet­ing of the four boss­es, the last time of which was almost a year ago dur­ing the birth­day rounds. I was com­fort­ed know­ing that Aaron was at my front, Trolley to his right, and Pat to mine at the table. The next meet­ing will be at the wed­ding itself this week­end. Exciting!

By Saturday we reduced to the core group for the rest of the tour­na­ment, which was grooms­men and MC. You know you’re old when con­ver­sa­tion over break­fast is main­ly about bacon, arts and crafts, and cook­ing shows. The pound of bacon chal­lenge was worth 5 points, as evi­denced by the plate ded­i­cat­ed to pork, which Aaron and Rob eas­i­ly achieved.

Even though he did­n’t show up until Saturday after­noon, I got to meet Jay, who was the only one out of Aaron’s crew that I had­n’t met. The rest of the week­end was spent game play­ing, Nerf war­ring, ulti­mate fight­ing in the back­yard, and hang­ing out.

Thumbnail: Us being silly 1 
Thumbnail: Us being silly 2 
Thumbnail: Us being silly 3 
Thumbnail: Us being silly 4 

In the end, there just was­n’t enough time to do every­thing planned. I was also spread­ing myself thin between record­ing video, tak­ing pho­tos, and act­ing as organizer/host. Sometimes I wish I could be part of the action, but it’s more worth it to me to make sure the right angles, focus, com­po­si­tions are tak­en. Still an absolute blast.