As promised, our wedding ceremony.

Wedding Ceremony for Lyssa and Bryce. Oct 25th 2008

Officiate: Friends and family, tribe and loved ones, we are gathered here to celebrate love in all its forms, but especially the love that makes a commitment between two people. This kind of love is not afraid to make promises. It is not afraid to work and to struggle. It seeks not only to be but to continue. It is based not only on the pleasures of the present but on the hope of the future. Lyssa and Bryce have invited you, their loved ones, to gather to share this moment of love and joy with them today as they celebrate their commitment to each other and begin a new story in their lives, as husband and wife.

More under the cut...

The Doctor | 31 October 2008, 14:36 hours | wedding | Eight comments

First batch of wedding pictures.

The first batches of pictures from the wedding are online. Firstly, Lyssa's gone through the several thousand images that Bladeless Axe gave us and picked out the best. You can see them in her Picasa albums here and here. I've also put together the photographs sent to me by my mother and Judy, organized them, and put them up here.

If anyone has any more photographs to contribute, please let me know and I'll link to them.

The Doctor | 31 October 2008, 12:07 hours | images, wedding | No comments

Ummm.. guys? You're doing it wrong.

A group of folks oriented in the direction of the fringe seem to have made an error or two in their reasoning. Afraid of what might happen as a result of the recent economic downturn in the United States (the understatement of the decade), they've gathered before a statue of a bull on Wall Street to pray around it. Now, while I'm all for the practical use of the irrational from time to time, you really should know at least a few details about what sort of irrationality you're working with. P.Z. Myers, who wrote the article that I'd linked to above, pointed out that Exodus 32:4-8 pretty clearly states that this is a bad idea, assuming that this is the way you roll.

The Doctor | 31 October 2008, 09:01 hours | default | Two comments

Seen on the DC Metro on Tuesday.

Lately, I've been noticing commercials on television (in particular The Food Network) claiming that high fructose corn syrup is actually good for you, and that you should buy products containing it to keep the corn farmers in business. A few of us speculate that this is in part a reaction to the growing community of organic farmers and consumers. On the Metro to DC on Tuesday, Lyssa and I saw this poster that subtly suggests that the use of fertilizers in agriculture are a good thing and that organic foods are somehow undesirable or inferior by implication. Using an image of a young child to tug at the heartstrings is an interesting touch.

The Doctor | 29 October 2008, 23:23 hours | images | Four comments

A holdover from Saloncon 2008.

This is a copy of Lost Horizons by Abney Park that was autographed by all five members of the band at Saloncon 2008.

The Doctor | 29 October 2008, 23:17 hours | images | No comments

The obligatory MySpace portrait.

Taken the day after the wedding in the bathroom of the bridal suite. Time unknown.

The Doctor | 29 October 2008, 23:10 hours | images | No comments

EDITED (20081101): Lyssa and I are now married.

To preface what I'm about to write, I never thought that I would have missed so many details pertaining to what happened a few days ago. Shortly before the wedding, Lyssa gave me a piece of advice from her friend Michael: stop every few minutes to take a mental snapshot of what's going on around you, so that you'll have more to remember from your wedding. I didn't really do that until after the ceremony was over, and thus much of what happened was lost to the peculiar entropy that steals moments of our lives from us as we grow older. If there is one thing I regret about getting married, it's that.

This is possibly the most difficult post that I've ever written. I've been working on it for days, scouring every last processing element of my brain for details to add and revising every paragraph numerous times. I expect that I'll re-edit this post not a few times in the future as memories pop up and are added or revised slightly.

As you've no doubt already read here or elsewhere, Lyssa Heartsong and I got married on Saturday, 25 October 2008. After much deliberation throughout the year we finally settled on the Stone Mansion Restaurant in Wexford as the location for our wedding (well, not really - 'lex and Marlise got married there in December of 2007 and we liked it there so much that we decided to get married there too), and partially so that our biological families could more readily attend. The drive up to Pennsylvania early on Friday wasn't all that eventful - we left around 1000 EST5EDT from northern Virginia after a whirlwind of packing and multiple time-checking, thus beating most of the traffic on the beltway, and arrived at the house of Lyssa's family by 1430 EST5EDT that day. We stopped off for a short period of time to stretch our legs and scan our e-mail for the address of the hotel we'd be staying at and then hit the road once again. Unfortunately, our mobile connectivity is still pretty limited these days so we connect whenever we can.

I'm not entirely sure when we got to the Marriott in Wexford - I'd lost track about halfway there, to be honest. I do recall realizing that I was running on empty by the time we got there - I hadn't really had anything to eat all day so my blood sugar was just about exhausted. For this reason, my travelogue gets a little fuzzy... Laurelinde met us at the hotel and helped Lyssa and I offload all of our stuff from the TARDIS; she'd brought the remainder of it in her vehicle, which has just as much trunk space if not more than my car. We met up briefly with Hasufin and Mika, and shortly therafter with Jean, who'd flown down from New England. Because most everyone was staying two doors or less away in the hotel, all we had to do was walk outside and knock on the next door over if we needed something. We piled into Laurelinde's car and drove a couple of blocks down the highway to the Italian Oven for an early dinner or late lunch, depending on how you look at it. After an appetizer, some salad, and a fistful of breadsticks I was feeling more like my old self, and upon getting back to my hotel room laid around for a while catching up on my reading to relax. Things didn't really start happening until around 2000 EST5EDT that night when we convened for the rehearsal dinner.

Rehearsal for the wedding ceremony was held in the private room of the Uno's in Cranberry, a couple of miles down the highway in the opposite direction. We weren't the first to arrive - most of Lyssa's family was waiting for us in the bar when we got there. I spent some time messing around with the electronic jukebox on the wall (you have to love a device that has 300 BPS 8n1 by Information Society in its archive (which happens to be a recording of a modem transmission), though I wasn't feeling particuarly evil that night) but due to karaoke night my $5us was wasted. We only had to work out a couple of last minute logistics, such as where everyone would be entering, where everyone was supposed to stand, how we'd actually enact the handfasting, and practicing lighting the unity candle so that we wouldn't catch ourselves on fire. Neither Lyssa nor I practiced our vows at that time because we felt that we should only recite them during the wedding ceremony and not beforehand. Once we'd gone through the ceremony we settled down to have a late dinner with our respective families, our respective parties, and a couple of friends who attended also. There were so many people there that night that I wasn't able to keep track of them all, though I tried. I do recall that Forge was the last to arrive after driving in from the central US, and a few of us had gotten lost on the way up since Wexford has changed a great deal since we graduated from high school. We didn't see Zard until just before the wedding the next day.

The rest of the evening was spent with Hasufin and Mika at the hotel bar unwinding enough to go to sleep on Friday evening, sampling brandies and discussing amino acid synthesis at low temperatures, of all things.

More under the cut...

The Doctor | 28 October 2008, 00:15 hours | wedding | Four comments

Seven million industrial songs can't be wrong.

Who hasn't sampled The Exorcist 3 at least once for their music?

The Doctor | 27 October 2008, 23:16 hours | randomknowledge | No comments

"I will." "I will."

There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, and the sea's asleep, and the rivers dream; people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice, and somewhere else the tea's getting cold! Come on, Lyssa - we've got work to do!

The Doctor | 25 October 2008, 23:52 hours | wedding | No comments

W minus 14 hours, 40 minutes.

Lyssa and I get married at 1500 EST5EDT tomorrow.

To quote a certain messiah, "Whoa."

The Doctor | 25 October 2008, 00:21 hours | wedding | No comments

This was potentially the geekieest bachelor's party in recorded history.

I roused myself from bed far earlier than I'm accustomed to on Saturday morning, around 0800 EST5EDT or so, for what is traditionally the most memorable event prior to one's wedding.. the bachelor's party. While most of the groomsmen weren't able to attend on Saturday due to their lack of proximity (most of them live at least one state, and usually more than that away from the DC area), the festivities were well attended by close friends from nearby. Shortly before 0900 local time most everyone had assembled on the doorstep: Jason and Jarin arrived first, followed by Grant and Hasufin a few minutes later. Joining us some hours after that would be Chris and Kash due to the logistics of meeting up somewhere and sundry problems of travel in the DC metroplex. Starting off the day, and also giving Chris an opportunity to get within spitting distance of the city we took a quick jaunt down the street to the local Starbucks to pick up coffee and get a breakfast sandwich or two.

Say what you will about Starbucks (gods know, I bitch enough about them), but they have some really tasty breakfast food if you get there early enough.

For the day's outing Hausfin had rented a silver minivan which carried a "bring it back in a shoebox" insurance policy. When you get a bunch of fairly adventurous and inventive geeks together, generally speaking it's wise to take such precautions. As I plugged my GPS unit into the power jack (which were, at one time, referred to as 'cigarette lighters') Hasufin phoned up Chris to figure out where he was and after making arrangements to meet up with him at our first destination we set course for downtown DC and the kiosk of Segs In the City, an outfit operating in a number of cities on the eastern seaboard which rents Segway Personal Transporters for the purpose of going on riding tours. Their rates are emminently reasonable - $50us for one hour, $90us for two, $150us all day, guided tours available and recommended. Reservations at least 24 hours in advance are required.

It didn't take us very long to get kitted out with bicycle helmets and Segways; it actually took longer to acclimate to the highly unusual control interface and learn how to maneuver on them. Ironically, it took Hasufin and I longer than everyone else given that we had more experience riding them from The Last HOPE earlier this year. After running a couple of laps each around the cul-de-sac in which the Segs In the City kiosk was located, we headed for the sidewalk to start a two hour tour of downtown DC, zooming along the sidewalks on highly unconventional personal vehicles. Unfortunately, Jarin sat out this part of the trip, in part because Chris hadn't caught up to us yet and he wanted to wait for him to arrive. As luck would have it, of course, Chris arrived not two minutes after the rest of the party departed.

More under the cut...

The Doctor | 20 October 2008, 23:16 hours | wedding | Four comments

I can think of better ways to start the weekend.

I wish I could say that the weekend got off to a good start, but I really can't. I don't know of any better way to explain what happened, so I may as well just jump into it head-first and sort it out during editing.

Sometime Thursday morning I started feeling lousy once again - pain, difficulty breathing, muscle cramps, all of the same signs from a few weeks ago when I came back from Pittsburgh. As the day progressed, the discomfort worsened until, around 2100 on Thursday night, I couldn't sit, stand, or lie down without feeling like someone had punched me repeatedly in the gut with a fistful of quarters. By 2300, Lyssa had talked me into checking myself into the local emergency room. We placed a quick phone call to Orthaevelve, so that in the event I was admitted she and Lyssa could go home using my car and work on things from their end, picked her up, and then drove to the hospital, which happens to be just a couple of blocks away.

Finding the ER was a little tricky because there are no less than five (5) entrances to the hospital's compound, and even with Orthaevelve's knowledge of the complex (because she's worked there) it took a few tries. It didn't take me long to get into the waiting room queue, though most of the evening was spent waiting and either reading or napping. When we arrived it was a fairly slow night - there weren't many people ahead of us and triage wasn't all that busy. I think the standard "who are you and why are you here" routine happened inside of 45 minutes by the clock; it might have been another half hour before I was taken back to provide a few samples of blood and have a catheter inserted into a vein in my left forearm.

More under the cut...

The Doctor | 19 October 2008, 23:34 hours | default | No comments

The clock keeps ticking.

This past weekend was the annual autumn celebration over at Hasufin and Mika's place, a get-together in which we get together to enjoy the coming of fall.. or whatever passes for it in the DC metroplex. Unlike Pennsylvania, in which Halloween costumes are often designed with wet weather insulation in mind, autumn doesn't actually arrive until the final week of October or therabouts. It tends to stay pretty warm down here right up until the end.

In other words, temperatures in the 70's and 80's right up until Samhain, which is usually in the neighborhood of thirty degrees Fahrenheit, where the weather will stay until March or April. In other words, "real autumn" sneaks up on you like a ninja in the night and practically strips the flesh from your bones.

At any rate it was a picture-perfect day for grilling various and sundry portions of dead critter over charcoal, setting up Orthaevelve's portable fire pit, and burning all the scrap wood which had accumulated in the backyard during the previous year. In fact, much of the afternoon was spent feeding wood into the fire, cutting wood, chopping wood, or hauling wood. Near the end of the night, as the pile of scrap was all but gone, Hasufin decided to try one of his heavier swords against some of the dead bushes in the back yard, an effort which acquired for us more fuel to throw into the pit.

More under the cut...

The Doctor | 16 October 2008, 17:50 hours | default | One comment

Maybe I should write about things other than myself for a while.

If you're involved in the retrocomputing or PC history scenes, chances are you've heard of double-sided floppy disks that are formatted for one system on side A and another system on side B. For example, I've got a copy of the game Ninja which had the C-64 version of the game on one side and the Atari port on the other. At the time this was a pretty straightforward thing to do because drives only read one side of a disk at a time. A couple of weeks back, PC historian Trixter came across a highly unusual 5 1/4" floppy disk containing ports of the game Mental Blocks for the Commodore and the IBM PC... mixed on the same side of the disk. This is highly unusual because, under normal circumstances, when you format a disk, you format a disk with a particular file system, and that's that - every block on the disk is in use. Upon analysis, Trixter discovered that the FAT-12 file system on the disk was rife with bad disk blocks, which are actually perfectly valid Commodore disk file system blocks due to the differing methods by which the IBM PC and the Commodores accessed their disk drives. Whomever came up with that hack was truly inspired, and I'd love to take them out for a beer sometime.

In other news, a group of human rights activists and computer security researchers at the University of Toronto discovered that the Chinese government, long known for its policies of monitoring and filtering Internet traffic, has found a way of monitoring Skype instant messenger traffic. Skype, a mostly free to use peer-to-peer application (IM and calls between Skype users are free; calls to the rest of the telephone network require a paid subscription), makes it possible to communicate with other Skype users via ext-based instant messenging or verbally using VoIP (voice-over-IP). Skype the company claims that the traffic is encrypted in such a way that a hostile entity (like a government) can't decrypt it (specifically, using AES for session encryption and RSA to exchange session keys) and that they've performed security audits of their source code, the results of which you can download and read for yourself. In China, the IM service is provided by TOM-Skype, which is a joint venture of Skype and a Chinese wireless provider, and probably the proxy the Chinese government trusts to send traffic through the Great Firewall. Therein lies the problem: TOM had to write software which acted as a gateway between Chinese users and the Skype service, which is outside of Chinese control.

Briefly, Skype IM and VoIP traffic is encrypted. To set up an encrypted connection, the Skype client has to contact the other Skype client to negotiate communication parameters and exchange session keys. Due to the fact that the TOM-Skype servers had to be gone through to set up the encrypted sessions, they were in the perfect location to stage a man in the middle attack; chances are, the TOM-Skype servers on the Chinese grids pretended to be the other end of every connection and transparently relayed traffic, recording the messages before re-encrypting them to the other end of of the connection and sending them on their way. Encryption's great, but if you have to use a malicious node to get anywhere you're pretty much screwed.

More under the cut...

The Doctor | 11 October 2008, 14:37 hours | default | No comments

Presenting your vulgarity for the day.

I've updated my .plan file.

The Doctor | 10 October 2008, 21:11 hours | default | No comments

I'm supposed to be working, but it's time for an update.

Another quick post to let everyone know that I'm not dead, just busy enough to not really get any sleep and tired enough that I'm having a hell of a time making sense.

Those of you who are trying to figure out what in the hell I was trying to say, or why I was completely missing the obvious in comments should know that taking time to think is a luxury I don't have right now, and to that end I should probably just stop trying for the time being. Those of you who know what I'm like when over-tired or sleep deprived should start laughing now.

At any rate, Greene County mailed out our self-uniting marriage license a few days ago, and it was recieved in the post today. Unfortunately, upon inspection it appeared to be missing a few important things, such as places where the witnesses and the people getting married should sign, as well as exactly who is supposed to sign where. We placed a quick phone call to 'lex Pendragon and asked him to e-mail over a scan of his own wedding license for comparison, which was picked up later this evening. As near as we can tell, the notarized piece of paper is the same as the notarized piece of paper that 'lex and Marlise have, save a couple of obvious differences and the lack of a few blank lines. Rather than chance it, Lyssa's going to call them back tomorrow and see what she can get done in the way of having a less legally ambiguous marriage license overnighted to us. For my part, I've got the ears of a few lawyers in the state of Pennsylvania, though I've been asked nicely to not bring them into action just yet. At this point in time, that would be like bringing a mass driver to a knife fight.

In other news, Abney Park's first music video, done to the song Airship Pirates may be watched here at Youtube or downloaded as a Quicktime file from here. It appears to have been filmed during their show at the Edison in California earlier this year.

Trust me, grab the Quicktime file, it looks better.

The sick betta in the living room doesn't seem to be getting any better; the infection's spreading and the medication I've been putting into his water every night doesn't seem to be helping. I'm pretty sure that we're going to lose him before the wedding. Sorry, little guy, I'm trying. Really, I am.

Off to bed.

The Doctor | 09 October 2008, 23:04 hours | wedding | No comments

UPDATED: Busy life, busy times, and Greene County redux.

Work and life's kept me too busy to post much lately, so I'm trying to play catch-up in between driving all over creation for work and finishing preparations for the wedding. To that end, I'll try to outline everything going on, not only so that I can square away everything going on inside my head, but possibly to help others in the future, should they find my website.

First off, Lyssa's bridal shower was yesterday afternoon. Her parents, sister, and aunt drove down from Pennsylvania to set up and cook for the party. Lyssa and I have been going bonkers all week cleaning up the apartment in stages to make it more or less presentable. This includes dusting, cleaning the floors, mopping the kitchen (and almost braining myself at least once in the process), and going through the library to find books that could be gotten rid of... to make room for the books that were brought back from the homestead as well as those which had been piling up on top of the already-shelved books for weeks. So that they could prep for the party, Lyssa and I had to clear out for a couple of hours. She and Laurelinde took off for parts unknown yesterday morning while Hausfin, Mika, and I.. well, also took off for parts unknown. Specifically, we visited the leather store that Hasufin buys his raw materials from, wandered around the farmer's market not too far away from same, and found ourselves having one of our "ray of sunshine" discussions in the car on the way home, this time on the topic of biological warfare.

Hey, when you live far enough away from the nation's capital that, in the event that something did happen all you'd have time to say was "Aw, shit." it's a reasonable topic of discussion.

More under the cut...

The Doctor | 05 October 2008, 15:31 hours | wedding | Four comments

Greene County screwed us.

Lyssa's mom brought the marriage license down with her for Lyssa's bridal shower, which was held yesterday afternoon while Hasufin and I were running around wreaking havoc staying out of trouble.

They sent is a normal Pennsylvania marriage license, not a self-uniting marriage license, which pretty much screws Lyssa and I. We don't have time to get things going in Pennsylvania due to the time delay they require.

'lex Pendragon and I are starting things in motion, Lyssa and I are coming up with plans B and C.

I'll write more about this when I don't have a dozen errands to run, probably tonight.

The Doctor | 05 October 2008, 12:54 hours | wedding | Two comments
"We, the extraordinary, were conspiring to make the world better."