Lexifabricographer For when the right word just won’t do…

October 31, 2008

Wedding of the Century – Part 2

Filed under: friends,Uncategorized — lexifab @ 11:47 am

When we last left our heroes, they had just finished getting married – hooray! – at which point drinks began to be served (Fi, Jimbo, Simon and Sara-Jane strategically positioned themselves at the back of the ceremony by tactically arriving at the last minute, thus affording them the best camera angles for shots of the bridal party emerging from the hotel, but also meant they got their drinks before anyone else) and we gussied-up groomsmen tottered off with the happy couple, bridesmaids and assorted family members for the photos.

I haven’t said enough about the heroic efforts of the two official photographers, Andrew’s workmates Andrew C and David M-M, who were hovered semi-unobtrusively all day, bobbing here and leaning there, snapping away (with Canon cameras, naturally!) and never losing patience with anyone, not even when one of the groomsmen went mysteriously missing just after the ceremony (Oooh! where’s Jon?) or when family members would get confused about where to stand or who was supposed to be in the next shot or when Jon gazumped them with his tight closeup of The Kiss (in good cause!). Both were complete legends, towers of calm and tirelessness both.

In between posing awkwardly for photos, we were setting up projectors, stands, speakers and the big screen (Andrew’s collection of AV gear never fails to impress me), sneaking the odd sip of wine before someone made off with our glasses, and (all too briefly) catching up with the hoard of ex- and current Townsvilleans (Townsvillains?) in attendance. I would like to have spent a lot more time chatting with everyone, but I was on the hop a bit. Same goes for all of Andrew’s Sydney friends, many of whom I know vaguely and would like to get to know better. This wasn’t really the best moment, unfortunately. Sorry, everyone!

Finally, dinner, and some welcome respite from standing up. The dinner was outstanding – was the lamb better than the quail? Dunno! – but as I recall the best bit was the water. Man, I was thirsty after a whole day of driving around in a suit. I was concentrating so hard on making sure I had enough water that I may have neglected to have entirely enough of the wine (particularly the white, which was delicious).

As I mentioned, there was a projector, speakers and a big screen. These were in place for the wedding speeches – of six speeches, four made use of the AV equipment. This is a modern wedding for you. I’m surprised they didn’t try to have well-wishers who couldn’t be there on the night video-Skyping in to say hi!

The parent’s speeches were more or less traditional – Von’s mother did a lot of it in Cantonese, then finished with a beautiful poem in English (which may have been a translation of the first bit. Not certain about that). Andrew’s father Ian, who is every bit as mad as he is, did a slideshow warning Veronica where Andrew had come from (cue lots of sepia-toned pics of 1970’s New Zealand, including one hilarious-but-alarming shot of a two-year-old Andrew perched atop his father in a backpack as they prepare to ascend the sodding great mountain in the background).

Von’s maid of honour Nandika did a very funny and quite spicy speech about Von and her man, whom they codenamed “Sasha” (long story short, to keep the relationship secret – or at least not overt – while they were both working in the same office). She finished with a show-stopping piece of cameraphone footage of a very tipsy Von making a raucous declaration of love for Andrew. Aww! (snerk!)

Then came the best man’s speech. Oh dear. Ev, astonishingly terrified of public speaking for someone who wants to make a living performing live music, somehow extracted from me a promise to assist him with his speech. Naively I had imagined that this would involve supplying some rude anecdotes about Andrew and helping him to polish his zingers, gags and punchlines. Somewhere along the line, I must have lost my mind and agreed to help him actually deliver the speech, which of course also involved performing a song. What the-?

It went fine, of course. We wisely kept the speech – which was basically a very mild comedy routine at the expense of Andrew’s ridiculous number of hobbies – short and vaguely funny. The song, which I think we ended up calling “What Love’s Like” (although it could be something else, which Ev might correct me on), was short, sort of sweet, sort of funny and only slightly ripped off one of Ev’s old Spit tunes (‘Rubber Angel’, if you’re keeping score). It got the requisite applause, which I fancy was more than just polite, and then we hastily made way for the stars of the evening.

(Which I will save for Part 3)

A necessary reconsideration

Filed under: now playing: anything,property magnatism,wordsmithery — lexifab @ 8:49 am

I am reminded that I have a few things on my plate:

  • Work – Still eight hours a day for another week.
  • Gaming – one weekly D&D game (Tuesdays), one fortnightly D&D game (Saturdays), the fortnightly Burning Empires game (Wednesdays, though currently on hiatus until the end of the property workshops), the Burning Wheel game in preparation (Wednesdays, to replace the BE game), plus a couple of other things being mooted.
  • Computer gaming – one weekly Lord of the Rings Online game (Thursdays)
  • Property stuff – the workshop on wednesdays (albeit only for one more week), plus time devoted to making sure our household finances are up to date, plus time for background regional research and property reviews, and (when we actually buy something) some amount of time for dealing with property managers, problems etc
  • Baby – Needs cuddles, feeding and changing. And sooner or later needs The Hobbit or The Iliad read to him (just as soon as he stops attempting the destroy any paper object within arm’s reach).

I probably don’t really have time for NaNoWriMo, do I? And for that matter, one or two other things on that lists are going to have to go on the back burner as well, at least for a little while.

October 30, 2008

Oh no, not again.

Filed under: geekery — lexifab @ 5:30 pm

Upsetting, if not entirely unexpected, news about my favouritest TV show in the world. Don’t look if you still somehow entertain the fantasy that you can avoid hearing casting spoilers for the next year or two (probably best not to look at the comments, either).

Me, I’m leaning on the console, looking a bit put out and bovvered, actually.

What did I just do?

Filed under: wordsmithery — lexifab @ 11:00 am

Did I just register for this year’s National Novel Writing Month, which starts in two days and for which I have no plan, outline, plot, characters or ideas?

Uh, I think I might have. What the hell? I must be freaking mad.

Don’t hold your breath that anything will come of this.

Competitiveness rising

Filed under: property magnatism — lexifab @ 10:59 am

Another couple in our Wednesday night property investment workshop group has had an offer accepted on a place somewhere in western Victoria. Our own program of property research and bargain hunting has been disrupted by successive weekends away.

Fi and I are struggling to contain the irrational urge to compete with them. Fortunately, our cherished son is applying inadvertant brakes by demanding almost constant attention. Our real estate website browing time thus constrained, we have yet to take the plunge.

October 27, 2008

Wedding of the Century* – Part 1

Filed under: friends,news of the day — lexifab @ 5:27 pm

…aaaand, it’s done! Andrew and Veronica are successfully wed and dispatched to a Secret Honeymoon Location somewhere.

And what a tremendous affair it was, albeit an exhausting one for most of those involved. Not counting the preliminaries the previous weekend, when the buck’s party took place, and the day before, which involved some minor speech preparations and a final dinner with Andrew-as-bachelor in the evening, it was pretty full-on from early Saturday morning. I was one of the groomsmen (happily, I was the inevitable extraneous groomsman who had no specific responsibilities other than to “help on the day”), so this is an Exclusive Insider report. Well, sort of.

I’ll keep it to the highlights, because I really should be working (for another eight and a half days):

  • Best Man Evan and I headed out to Andrew’s in Marrickville first thing in the morning. Drank coffee, ate ill-advised fraction of World’s Giganticest Eclairs. Eventually successful in cramming bloated corpses into suits. Looked sharp.
  • Loaded up the cars with an alarming amount of audiovisual equipment and third groomsman Jon Blum and headed to the extremely swanky wedding venue on a gold course in Oaklands. Spent much of the journey cursing everyone else using Parramatta Road (which was a lot of people) and the fact that Simon’s car does not have airconditioning. Andrew wisely chose to travel with Andrew C, one of his two photographers for the day, whose car had both aircon and eTags.
  • Picked up the flowers at the wedding venue, then set off on the second epic leg of our tour of Sydney, heading out to Von’s parents’ place in (suburb in the vicinity of Manly whose name I now forget), for the special pre-wedding tea ceremony. Our strategy of following Andrew C’s car comes unstuck on the motorway when he sails through the tollgates using that essential Sydney driver accessory, the eTag, while we hick blow-ins from the country had to pull up and pay with old fashioned cash. Arrive with bare minutes to spare, desperately thirsty from driving for hours in very warm weather in very flattering waistcoat.
  • The tea ceremony was strange and cool. In accordance, as I understand it, with Hong Kong tradition, the bridesmaids refused Andrew (and the groomsmen) entry until he could pass several tests. He was required to write a declaration of love and read it out loud, then to recite a poem (in Cantonese, no less!). I was assigned to hand out little red envelopes containing cash bribes for the bridesmaids. Eventually, mere moments before we all expired from heat exhaustion in the sundrenched front courtyard, we were welcomed in by Von’s mother, who had one last test for Andrew. Presented with a collection of ribbons tied to a bannister and cautioned to choose correctly (with dire consequences that I didn’t quite catch for the ‘wrong’ choice), he yanked on one ribbon that led around the corner to Veronica. Serendipitous selection! Veronica looked fabulous in traditional Chinese wedding garb, all red silk and gold thread.
  • In order to fully cement his well earned reputation for both insane obsessiveness and gleeful romanticism, Andrew then played his secret trump card. On the basis of an offhand comment  by Von more than six months ago, he taught himself to sing and play a Cantonese pop song, which he and the groomsmen (some of whom were reading their backing vocals from phonetic cheat sheets) performed for the stunned bride. It may have been at that moment that she got her first real inkling of the depth of Andrew’s big-hearted madness.
  • The tea ceremony involved all sorts of formalities, including prayers for departed relatives and some kind of polite exchanges of tea and what I presume were blessings from the family members present. Both stages were conducted in Cantonese, so don’t quote me on the details. Also, there was a quite distracting cassette playing clangy-gongy-belly sort of classical Chinese music in the background. It kept stopping, but luckily there was always someone on hand to put it back on again.
  • Then there was cake, while Von changed into her second wedding dress. Then, with corsages affixed and bouquets distributed (and then carefully repacked for transportation), the limo arrived and swept Andrew and Von off back across Sydney for the wedding ceremony. Evan and I had planned to follow the (big white stretch) limo, but somehow it lost us at the first corner and we were forced to work out our own way back across the Spit (heh) and back towards the western suburbs. Unbelievably, he spotted it a few cars behind us a little while later, and then I entertained myself and annoyed the dense Sydney traffic by trying to get back behind it so that we could follow it without having to navigate for ourselves. It lost us a couple more times after that, but in the end we did lock on and stay on its tail all the way back to Oaklands.
  • The ceremony was quick. Like, ten, twelve minutes and it was done. My favourite ceremony ever – especially the exchange of vows on the subject of the truth, which started with the words “Everybody lies”. I bet they enjoyed writing that.

 Argh. It’s the end of the day and i have to leave in two minutes and this isn’t done yet. Looks like we will need to go to a Part Two.

* Except mine, of course, which it would be foolish and perilous of me to rank as anything other than number one.

October 22, 2008

Frantic home visit

Filed under: cricket,news of the day,wordsmithery,workin for the man — lexifab @ 4:37 pm

After being away all weekend in Sydney with the lads last weekend, I’ve had a frantic couple of days back home trying to catch up on sleep (badly), get stuck into a bunch of work (with mixed success) and get domestic stuff squared away before zipping off back to Sydney from early tomorrow morning.

Honestly, I have no idea how rock stars live like this. Maybe they have people to whip up emergency batches of pasta-based baby meals.

The work front has not been helped much at all by a sleep-deprived bout of utter crabbiness over the last couple of days. I have just been in the foullest mood. Mainly I’ve managed to restrain myself to only taking it out on a couple of hapless twonks on the interwebs, but it’s probably just as well I didn’t run across any (justifiably) gloating supporters of the Indian cricket team. I might have provoked an international incident.

I had the weird experience today of hearing my own words (tiny, boring chunk of a long, boring policy summary) parrotted by the head of my agency to an audience of more than a thousand people, here and overseas. It’s curious. I’ve never had an opportunity (albeit inadvertant) to have my words reach so many people – so many squirming, uncomfortable people who wished they were anywhere else listening to anything else.

I get all the crap mutant powers.

October 16, 2008

One down, three to go

Filed under: workin for the man — lexifab @ 4:50 pm

After I go home today I have three more weeks of work (one of them comprising three working days and another only four).

This week has not been too bad – apart from being sleepy – as I have been ridiculously busy, which at least helps suck my attention away from the excited anticipation of the coming break. I anticipate that at least two of the next three will be even moreso. This is good.

(Yes, I could not think of anything I wanted to blog about today, hence my annoying countdown to an extended break from work. You’re welcome).

October 10, 2008

The weather outside

Filed under: news of the day — lexifab @ 12:07 pm

Today is one of those achingly beautiful Canberra spring days that so has me ache to be out in it that I find myself ill just for being confined indoors.

October 8, 2008

Ah, McCain! and other stories

Apropos of the second US presidential debate coming up in a couple of hours, here’s a recent article about John McCain from the wonderfully partisan pages of Rolling Stone. It’s interesting fare, though I was already familiar with most of it (apart from the rather egregious details of the so-called Keating Five affair in the 80’s). The whole article has a tone of savage anger, seeming outraged that such a person could have the effrontery to run for the White House. (Edit: I meant to start the following sentence with “Despite the jaw-dropping bias against its subject”) It seems to do at least a passing job of separating on-the-record facts and off-the-record dirt and opinion, though, so I guess the fun part will be seeing which bits are validated by not being slapped with lawsuits. 

Yesterday was Simon’s birthday (happy birthday Si!) which most of us celebrated by starting a new D&D game, and which he celebrated by having long chats with family members :). There was also cake, I should stress. We gave him a big stack of DVDs, because he doesn’t have enough of those.

Sunday was the sixth anniversary of my wedding to Fi. Celebrations were somewhat low key. We went to several nurseries and looked for suitable pots to set up a living childproof barrier on the front patio (failed), then we dug in for some slacking and sticky wine and a cheese platter in front of the rugby league grand final. (Obvious I have completed the transformation to Canberran latte-sipping elite!). I was quietly pleased to see the Melbourne Storm – whose tactics this season have been a little regressive, to put it mildly – soundly trounced, even if it did mean Manly won something.

The ragamuffin child was sick for the whole of the October long weekend, poor little ratbag. Not sick enough to take him to the doctor’s until yesterday, mind you, just snuffling and coughing and off his food and drink a bit. Viral bronchiolitis was the verdict, an inflammation of the lungs. Can be serious, but luckily the bub wasn’t showing any of the troubling symptoms (we wouldn’t have waited four days to take him to get checked out, believe me). Just sad and sore throated. and clingy. And incapable of sleeping through the night or allowing anyone else to do so. Bit tired this morning.

Important garden news: nothing dead yet. Well, heaps of snails, but I am prepared to live with my conscience on that score. The dill, which again was a total failure last year, has doubled in size in a week. I look forward to developing my agricultural skills to guard my family’s welfare against the imminent collapse of the economy, breakdown in supply networks and sudden disastrous lack of availability of french tarragon and chives. (Note to self – still have not located black market source of tarragon seedlings. Must contact underground sources, set up meeting with shady fixers in darkened greenhouse).

I have less than a month of work left. This is sad, because I would much rather that it be over NOW NOW NOW GODAMMIT NOW!

Ahem.

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