28 May 2009

Another wedding!

Last weekend, Sarah's brother got married in Kansas City. He and Anne tied the knot almost five years to the day after Sarah and I did, and we were delighted to be a part of their celebration!

Sarah had been in town for a week and a half by the time I arrived last Friday, in time to head over to the local casino with my father-in-law. We met Ben and the groomsmen there, and searched fruitlessly for a dollar blackjack table while Ben played poker.

Saturday was a long and glorious day. The men all had breakfast together (Ben, Dante, Chris, Greg, Jon, me, and my dad) while the women did their own thing. Then, we all headed down to the hotel for the rehearsal. After the rehearsal, I hung out with my parents and began to drink too much. The drinking too much continued through the rehearsal dinner (at a tasty restaurant called Extra Virgin) and an extended-family buffet, ending with dancing at the cookie-cutter al fresco clubs that have gone into cities across the country.

The next morning, I woke up in a bit of hung-over mess. I had made reservations at a spa for all of the men, but I was really not interested in having a massage. Nevertheless, we all fought our exhaustion and made it down to the spa for some lovely massages. I must admit that by the end of my massage, I was feeling almost normal.

Normal enough for the ceremony, anyhow. The groomsmen headed back to the hotel to get dressed in our penguin suits (during which Ben gave us all lovely cufflinks), and then it was photo time! After the photos came the ceremony (brief), more photos, and then a cocktail hour.

Here, the groomsmen and best man take a break from the photos:

After the cocktail hour, we all headed back up to the ballroom for the reception. Which was a blast! I had a good time, and was glad that so many people (including my folks and sister!) could come.

We were having a good time!

Sarah and her mom, Denise and her mom, Beth and her mom. Or, Dianne and her daughter, Patty and her daughter, Kathy and her daughter.

Dante, Sarah, and I singing to something terrible from the 80s.

Once we shut the ballroom down, we adjourned to the downstairs bar, where we drank some more. Sarah, on the other hand, stuck to water. Smart girl!

Monday morning again came soon, but I was not hungover this time! Chris and Dianne hosted a brunch at their house for all of the out-of-town guests, and it was a much more relaxing way to see everyone. I could stay just for a short bit of time before Sarah took me to the airport for my flight home! Wheeeee!

What a great weekend! Thanks to Ben and Anne for having the good sense to get married and to everyone else for taking part in a great celebration!

27 May 2009

Civil Disobedience

Yesterday, the California Supreme Court ruled that gay men and women could not get married. It's the latest event in a long sequence of messiness, including the Supreme Court's ruling last year that they COULD get married, the passing of Proposition 8, which stated that marriage was limited to a man and a woman, and various volleys passed back and forth.

Yesterday's ruling was awkward for a number of reasons, the most significant of which is that the Supreme Court has taken away a right from gay people that straight people have. The Supreme Court has stated that they believe in the equality of gays and straights in the strongest terms, yet they allow this unequality to divide them. This reminds me of separate-but-equal, which forced black people and white people into separate divisions, allowed more resources and opportunities for white people, and then had the gall to suggest that they were somehow equal.

One of the jarring images from that period were the water fountains, separated for whites and 'coloreds.' So, in that spirit, I bring to you this image, which I encourage you to print out, cut into strips, and paste over water fountains near you:

20 May 2009

some HDR photos

On our recent trip to Zion Nat'l Park, I tried to experiment with High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography. Digital cameras can't capture in one image the same huge breadth of contrast that the human eye can see, so HDR manipulation takes multiple photos of different exposures and clumps them together to create one picture of much larger range.
When taking the composite shots for HDR manipulation, you're supposed to take 3+ shots, each of which is 2 f-stops apart, using a tripod (so the camera doesn't move). I had our super-slim point-n-shoot, which means that I had no control of f-stops, no tripod, and I only got 2 or 3 shots per subject. Still, they're not bad for the first time out of the gate:

Here are two raw photos...

And the HDR result:

And a few more HDR images

Outside of a general increase in image quality (need an SLR?), my biggest stumbling point has to do with the clear blue/white line in the sky in these photos... Any suggestions on how to get rid of them?

17 May 2009

Winding down with the year.

Lots has been happening as of late. So much that it's been tough to remember to blog. Let me try to catch up:

The U: Classes are winding down. Only three more weeks left. This quarter has been the most enjoyable of the three, but it's also been, I think, the hardest in terms of preparation time. I'm prepping one new class that requires a LOT of prep, and a seminar which, while not requiring as much prep, still requires some.

Design work: After the show at South Coast that opened a few weeks ago, I've been hunkering down to get ready for China. We started rehearsal/building for a new show that we're taking to Shanghai in early June. I'm really looking forward to that. I wish Sarah could come, but she can't. Alas.

Sarah: She's in Missouri now, hanging with her fam until her brother gets married this coming weekend. I fly out on a Saturday and back on the Monday. More on that later.

Friends: I had a good time taking a bit of a break this weekend. I went to Disneyland with Jaymi on Friday (Soarin' Over California is the best!), and went to Brad's birthday BBQ on Saturday (where we ate plenty of great food and played a new game called Fluxx!). It was nice to reconvene with friends.

Everyone at the U is getting antsy and ready for the year to be over. I know I am...

12 May 2009

Zion National Park

Sarah and I took a trip to Zion National Park this last weekend. We had a great time and took some photos. You can see more of them here.