Wedding planning

The recent string of weddings (with one to go still this year, and one early next year) has been pushing me to finally take first steps toward planning my own wedding. And it’s proving to be quite a surprising experience in many ways. Mostly in stressful ways.

When we first started discussing wedding things, we were thinking $15,000 should be plenty to budget. How much could it possibly cost to throw a party anyway? Turns out it costs quite a lot, and that $15,000 will likely not be enough to cover even just food, booze, and the venue.

I found this post today (never mind that it’s 3 years old) that mostly agrees with my $10,000 on food and $3000 on venue estimates. It also itemizes out some things I hadn’t really had a good handle on, like decorations, linens and silverware, and gifts.
There’s also this average cost breakdown which suggests the food I’ve been looking at is on the expensive side. But I don’t have much of a choice based on the venues I’ve been looking at, since they all have required caterers.

So we’ve started looking at venues. Our first visit this past weekends was to the University Club at the University of Pittsburgh. You don’t have to be affiliated with the university to get married there, and it has the benefit of being an all-in-one package location where you don’t have to worry about coordinating things. Madelyn had her graduation party there last year, and it’s a nice venue.
(Photos from her party last year)

This upcoming weekend we are visiting the Children’s Museum to look at the options available there. I’m mostly interested in options that include exhibits, because I think half the fun of the museum will be the actual museum itself. But the full museum rental is $6500, which seems not worthwhile for a 4-hour event. We shall see what other options exist, I guess.

So yeah. Boo wedding planning. It will be awesome when it all comes together, but until then, argh stress.

Wedding #3, blah at security

Greg’s sister Katie got married this past weekend. It was a rather nice wedding… the weather decided to cooperate, despite having called for rain earlier, and so there was an outdoor ceremony followed by a reception where the booze flowed freely.

More photos are at photos.

But what is it with security people and their need to be terrible?

On the way back from Toronto from the last wedding, the border agent that stopped us was really rude. He grilled the driver on our reasons for being in Canada, expressing skepticism when he couldn’t immediately remember the name of the bride (his wife’s college friend, so they’d never met before the wedding). He did a search of a lot of things in the trunk. He questioned us on why we had two cameras (because there’s four of us…?). I feel like he really, really wanted to stop us for something but couldn’t.

On the way home after arriving at the Greyhound station last night, on our way toward the exit, we were stopped by some guy that identified himself as homeland security and started launching into a huge tirade about how photography was illegal in the station and was a federal crime and we would be arrested and sent to prison if we had taken any photos at all in the station. When we repeatedly told him we hadn’t, he threatened to pull the tapes. He eventually let us go, saying that he’d review the tapes later and would arrest us if we were lying. What!? I had my camera around my neck (because I always do), but I hadn’t used it for like 4 hours. People had their phones out everywhere around us. Not quite sure this makes a lot of sense.
(Not to mention I’m pretty sure photography is only strictly illegal in explicitly marked and highly sensitive areas. Private property like the greyhound station can set their own rules for photography, but the most they can do is ask you to leave. But I’m not anywhere close to a legal scholar, so I don’t know.)

…as if I needed another reason to not take greyhound. I’m contemplating now how much the added expense of just renting a car is, because I’m getting to the point where I’ve had enough of greyhound’s bullshit.

All that is leaving me in a rather sour mood now, especially combined with having to return to work today (because weddings are stressful and it feels like I haven’t had a break in weeks). Add another thing on the long (and growing) list of why I hate to travel. :\

Life, Photo Firsts (Austin, Max, Yubin, Michael), KoL, wedding

As it’s the end of yet another 4-month interval, life‘s photo journal and photo stats pages have been updated. The stats update includes stats for Pittsburgh people as well, so here’s some photo firsts:

First photo of both Austin and Max:

April 26, 2012 at Yubin’s apartment after Greg and I were invited to their weekly games night.

First photo of Yubin:

Also April 26, 2012. Same place. Same event.

First photo of Michael:

August 9, 2012, also at Yubin’s apartment at a games night.

KoL has been going. I’ve been ascending more and feel like I’ve gotten better at runs (thanks in no small part to the terrible overpoweredness of the Smiths tome). I fell short of a 3 day Heavy Rains run today by less than 20 turns (hit the hedge maze). The run will definitely be under 800 turns. That’s a rather large improvement from what my runs used to be like.

I’m also really enjoying the new path. The path itself isn’t actually that hard… the extra ML granted by the water is actually super beneficial (at least to me, with like 150+ permed skills), and the path-specific skills granted mean turncount goes way, way down by granting an infinite-use fax machine, a banish, a stunner, a deleveller, item drop, a yellow rain, summonable equipment, and more. Crazy.

As far as weddings go, Susannah’s was last weekend. It was a fairly nice wedding and reception… photos of it are up at photos. This means we’re halfway done with weddings now, at least for this summer. I hear that there will another one early next year. So whee for that?

KoL, Boston, wedding, and San Francisco

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks.

I started ascending again in KoL (abandoning my level 52 character). Did a couple Slow and Steady runs while it was in season, and I have to say, I really didn’t dislike its concept as much as I thought it would. The old item restrictions I didn’t really notice (even though like 90% of my “premium” things were unusable since I haven’t bought very much recently), and the 100-adventure-per-day restriction worked really well with my hectic travel schedule…

Two weeekends ago was rlambert’s wedding in Boston. Greg and I flew out Thursday to save on airfare (and to have some time to explore Boston), and had a nice time at the wedding on Saturday. Then, on Sunday, it was home for him and to San Francisco for work for me.

Just got back from San Francisco yesterday, and I’m already gearing up to head to Toronto this week for yet another wedding. A little after that there will be another wedding in Ohio, followed by another wedding in Chicago. It’s going to be an interesting summer. (Well, end of summer, I guess.)

Work had recently moved to a new building, so I got to experience the awesomeness that is sufficient conference room space and awesomely-stocked kitchens (including a Coke freestyle machine). Also the kitchen has Its Its ice cream sandwiches. I had some for breakfast every day. I am so bad. D:

Anyway, as much as I hate travelling, I had a good time in both Boston and San Francisco. Explored some new things around Boston, got to see a lot of people again (in both cities), had a bunch of tasty food, and attended some fun work events.





More photos of the stuffage can be found at http://photos2.alanv.org/.

Life, KoL

I guess I should write in here as we’re approaching the end of July.

KoL has been interesting lately, as I’ve been pulled into a series of Hobopolis speed runs to obtain things like an invisible hamster, a technicolor overcoat, and a whacking stick. (They’re kind of like raids in WoW, in that you need 7+ people participating in specific ways to get the rewards.)
The hamster runs, in particular, mostly happened around 11:45 PM and went 3 hours, meaning there were quite a few nights of little sleep.
I’m weaning myself off of the runs now that I have all of the items I want and have contributed sufficiently to justify that, but there was a while where I was doing runs one or more times a day.

I’ve also had my first experiences maximizing item drops to obtain more things from the bosses. Here’s what happens when you hit +1800% items. (Click to make bigger.)

We have been cooking things once again. Chicken marsala happened for the first time and it was amazingly tasty.

Also lasagna happened. Ricotta cheese is one of the best things ever.

Nothing else has really been happening in life. Work continues to be crazy, and I should probably take some time off soon.

Edit: Buffed up even crazier today to +1900% items (+2000% in combat).
Details here.

Here’s the awesomeness that happens as a result:

I also made a thing to do loot distribution.