Getting down to the wire.

Aug 25, 2008

Time's getting down to the wire and there's no escaping it. The wedding is now two solid months away and Lyssa and I are scrambling to get our plans in motion. Last week the invitations came back from the printer, the directory of local hotels came back from Kinko's (I'll mirror them here to make it easier), and the custom printed stamps that my mother had made up for were put to use. Last week, parts of Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were spent writing names and addresses, stuffing envelopes, and sticking things together. I spent a goodly amount of Friday evening riffling through archived papers and e-mails searching for snail mail addresses, e-mailing and texting people, and making phone calls. While I personally have no problem addressing invitations by handle, I'm told that it lacks a certain amount of decorum and etiquette (to say nothing of the arcane vicissitudes of the US Postal service, which seems to think nothing of sending bills addressed to someone three years dead but won't send a post card to Chainsaw and Dave Tunahead in Minneapolis even if the address is correct).

Lyssa and I relaxed a bit on Friday night by watching the third Ghost in the Shell movie, called Solid State Society. While technically canon, it actually bridges the first and second seasons of the television series rather than the movies. Visually speaking it's as well done as the series, with the same voice actors playing the same characters. If you've watched either the first season or are familiar with the other movies or manga you'll have enough background to understand and appreciate what's going on. Solid State Society takes place two years after the Major resigned from Section Nine and covers the investigation of a series of odd suicides throughout Japan of the future. Unfortunately that wasn't enough to really help unwind after a long week. I've been having anxiety dreams since Friday night - bad ones, at that. Bad enough that I haven't been getting a decent amount of rest and I've been jolted awake one too many times because I'm tangled up in the sheets. Lyssa and I don't have a very large bed as it is.

Saturday was our day to get as many errands out of the way as we possibly could. After the requisite shower and shave routine on Saturday morning, Lyssa and I loaded up the TARDIS and hit up our local post office to get the invitations in the mail. Because the post office closes at noon on Saturdays, there was a considerable line waiting for service, so I dropped her off and then down to the bank to wrap up a couple of loose ends in preparation for the wedding. For some reason I had a rough time of it at the bank (thank you, PNC) but eventually got everything take care of. Then back to the post office for a while; figuring that Lyssa was going to be a while yet I started to drive away to take care of my next errand, only to hear her calling from the sidewalk. Perfect timing as usual.

Because we hadn't gone grocery shopping yet but needed to get breakfast someplace, we weighed our options for breakfast. Rather than going to a restaurant and possibly getting caught in the Saturday morning crush we opted to visit Millennium Coffee, a local chain in northern Virginia with decent coffee and fairly good food. For $7us you can get a cup of coffee and a bagel with most anything you want on it and a comfortable place to sit with speedy service. My one complaint about Millennium is that the lids they supply for their coffee cups don't quite fit and are prone to slowly dripping hot coffee onto your good clothes if you aren't looking. If you're driving with one of their cups and you squeeze a little too hard, the effect is magnified a millionfold, as will be your dry cleaning bill.

Following breakfast I walked down the street to visit one of the last Radio Shacks that still has discrete components in the area to pick up parts for a project I'm working on. Saloncon is in a couple of weeks and I need to finish my sonic screwdriver for the steampunk meetup and the ball.. and also the wedding. Because.. you know.. you never know what's going to happen.

After some rooting around in the drawers I picked out a couple of likely looking switches, some wire, and a couple of LEDs (which lead to the "When did Radio Shack start stocking high-intensity ultraviolet LEDS?" comment). They also have infrared LEDs and sensors, which leads me to wonder if I could build a TV-B-Gone into a piece of one-inch copper pipe... but that'll have to wait until later. I won't be able to get much work done until Tuesday night at HacDC, however, because I'm not about to solder on the good dining room table without a decent work surface.

After Lyssa and I met back up we hit up the grocery store to pick up a few things for the week (note to self: check my stash of stuff for lunch to be sure that I have enough of everything) and for the cookout at Hasufin and Mika's place that afternoon. Because the weather's been so nice lately (70's and 80's Fahrenheit) it was decided to have a cookout for the meeting of the Mad Scientist Coffee Klatsch. So, we stocked up on a few things, headed for home to offload and cook, and get ourselves ready. We didn't know how many people would be there or when they'd arrive, so we decided to err on the side of caution and bring Lyssa's homemade baked beans and some bratwurst for the grill. Hasufin said he'd be making his famous jerk chicken recipe (which I certainly enjoy, so that should tell you something about how hot it is), which is always a favorite.

For a while, Cindy and I played jungle gym for the rats, Morgan and Namtar. Namtar's the more aggressive and gregarious of the two, so he spent quite a while running around on my shoulders and climbing through my hair. Namtar is a bit more shy but more exploratory; not content to just run from side to side he took it upon himself to try to climb up and down my back, which isn't the best thing for rodent control. I had to put him back in the cage when he kept trying to jump to the floor to case after Ashes the cat (who's deathly afraid of the rats). Later in the evening, Jason, Cindy, Sarah, and I headed out to Chantilly to visit a drive-in theatre and catch Transformers one last time on the big screen, but we were turned away by the police at the last minute. It was closed, we were told, and that was that. No more information than that. So we turned around and headed back to the cookout to spend the rest of the evening talking and sparring in the back yard (I passed on the sparring, not really having it in me to hit people that night).

Sunday brought with it disorientation and a fuzzy head from having a fucked up REM cycle for two consecutive nights, a much needed shower, and breakfast at Anita's with Lyssa and Laurelinde. Laurelinde wanted to show off her new car, a Toyota Camry hybrid, which she'd picked up from the dealership a few days previous. If there's one thing you have to love about Camrys, they're quiet in the passenger cabin. Very quiet. Quiet enough that often people don't realize the engine's still running when they get out. Laurelinde's new wheels aren't any different in that particular respect, though the copious legroom in the front has me feeling a bit envious. I'll admit, I'm still curious about the ignition system, which doesn't use a locking keyswitch like most cars these days. Either the door key or the keyfob has an RFID chip in it (active or passive, I don't know which) and the ignition has been replaced with a simple power button that doesn't actually work unless the keyring is somewhere inside the car at the same time. I'll have to investigate a bit. After breakfast came poring over tuxedo designs at the Men's Warehouse website for the groom's party.

Just for Grant, we picked out a gunmetal grey and forest green tux. Everyone else will be wearing tails with a silver waistcoat and ascot. Lyssa and I will be putting the reservations in tonight and e-mailing out the specs as soon as we've got them reserved.

Because we haven't done much shopping lately that wasn't for the wedding or an emergency, we decided to drive out to Chantilly to visit the Game Parlor, our favorite gaming and hobby store with a little of everything on the shelves. We spent an hour or two scouring the shelves for material and came across a cache of Babylon-5 RPG supplements, with which I added to my library and a couple of card games, one of the Munchkin variants and a copy of Pimp: the Backhanding.

All I can say about Pimp.. is this: if you're not offended, there's something wrong.

Later on Sunday, after we got home, I sat down to work a bit on some projects that I've had on the back burner. Knowing full well that it probably wasn't going to turn out I tried my hand again at resin casting using some watch parts I've picked up here and there. Fail. Utter fail. Fail dancing to the tune of liquid resin and hardening catalyst leaking all over the (disposable) work surface, ruining the mold, housing, and all associated components (including a non-trivial amount of magnetic iron filings I've been saving for this).

Note to self: use hot glue to reinforce all applicable seams for next trial, just in case.

While recovering from that particular mishap, I spent some time sewing my brand-new to my backpack and associating the QRcode with my website, so if you see me in the field and you have an iPhone feel free to take a scan and see how well it works.

Now if I could just find a QRcode reader for the Palm Treo...