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Started: 2010-11-24 07:53:19

Submitted: 2010-11-24 09:22:20

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I set out to attend the wedding of former roommate and festing.org member Humblik on Saturday morning, 13 November 2010, before the dust had a chance to settle on Kiesa's epic upgrade. When I checked into my flight, I tried a bold new experiment: the paperless boarding pass. Instead of printing my boarding pass when I checked in online, I gave United's website my e-mail address and it e-mailed me a link to a page with a 2d barcode. The barcode filled up most of the screen on my phone and was supposed to be scanned by the scanners at the TSA checkpoint and at the gate itself. When I went through the security line, this actually worked as advertised, though I picked the wrong line without the scanner and had to be redirected to the proper lane.

I grabbed breakfast at Einstein Bagels on Concourse C, then took the train back to Concourse B to wait for my flight to Omaha. We took off to the north, then meandered around the air lanes heading east in the general direction of our planned route, gaining and losing altitude, in a manner that caused me to wonder briefly whether we were in fact actually going to make it all the way to Omaha or whether we were actually heading back to Denver.

Once we reached our planned route the rest of the flight to Omaha was short and uneventful. We flew over Offutt Air Force Base on our approach to the airport, which I saw clearly out my window, complete with a wing of what looked like KC-135s sitting on the tarmac. Our final approach took us over the western section of Iowa, which looked drab and decaying under the overcast light.

I found Yanthor and Anya waiting for me just outside of security. We drove back to Lincoln and stopped for lunch just before reaching their house. Yanthor pulled out his brand new copy of Agricola, which he purchased specifically for this weekend, and started punching out the pieces as I skimmed the rules to figure out how to play. Nemo showed up and watched as we kicked off a truncated two-player game just to get a feel for the mechanics before we ran out of time and cut the game short for the wedding rehearsal.

The rehearsal was at the College View Church. As I entered the church, I tried to remember when the last time I was there and what it had looked like at the time. The last time I attended this particular church regularly was as an undergraduate more than ten years ago; since then, they had significantly expanded the eastern wing and redone the entry, but the layout of the sanctuary itself remained.

I settled into a pew in the church and waited for something interesting to happen. I was not actually involved in the wedding itself, so my role was limited to watching the wedding party run around trying to figure out what they were supposed to be doing. I remembered, once again, how very glad I was that my wedding was a distant and fading memory; I'm quite happy to be married and quite happy I don't have to go through a wedding more than once. I pulled out my netbook and finished writing a changelog, then tried to figure out if I could upload it without proper Internet access using my phone instead. I haven't seen fit to pay Sprint a sum nearly equal to my current monthly phone bill for a "phone-as-modem" plan to let me tether legitimately, and neither have I tried to tether illegitimately, but I was able to upload the file containing my changelog to my phone using a USB cable, then e-mail the file to myself, then ssh to Ziyal to upload the file to Honor, then ssh to Honor to commit the changelog. The last step involved two tries; my ssh client gives me no opportunity to send an "escape" key, which I needed to exit vim when I accidently entered insert mode while trying to commit my changelog. The whole thing ultimately worked and I was left feeling pleased with myself for actually pulling it off even as I wondered whether I ought to come up with a better scheme for doing this in the future.

As the rehearsal itself wound down, I joined the decorating effort by carrying fake potted trees from a holding room onto the platform and then wrapping the trees in strings of white lights. When the decorating was complete, I began to contemplate the structure of the church's roof and discussed my thoughts with fellow engineer Nemo. The sanctuary was roughly pie-shaped, with the platform at the tip and the main corridor at the crust, with large laminate wooden beams running as ribs from above the platform to the wall at the back of the sanctuary. It was clear these beams were intended to hold up the roof itself, but I couldn't immediately tell how the beams were themselves suspended: they seemed to end in mid-air above the platform, without any obvious means of support. I wondered if they were cantilevered from the rear walls, which would be a neat engineering trick but didn't seem likely given what we could see of the size and apparent strength of the rear walls. Nemo and I wandered around the platform looking up until we found the means of support: the beams terminated in steel end caps that were attached to a giant truss above the ceiling. Satisfied that we had uncovered the engineering mystery of the roof, we studied the organ console and debated the relative merits of this organ versus the Walla Walla College Church's organ.

Ceiling of the College View Church
Ceiling of the College View Church

The next stop was Humblik's bachelor party, hosted by his future in-laws. I plugged their address into my phone and navigated for Yanthor to their house under Holmes Lake. (Their living room featured a large wooden beam running perpendicular to the main axis of the house, floating above head level but under the vaulted ceiling. At first glance it appeared to be a tie-down to keep the truss from flattening under load, but the beam terminated in an interior wall in the kitchen and did not extend to the opposite wall, so Nemo and I were forced to conclude it was not structural at all.) We ate pizza and tried to come up with something intelligent to say in the notebook that was handed around to give wishes and advice to Humblik. (I was pleased to see that it was a Paper Blanks book but struggled to come up with something interesting to say. I quoted Humblik from my quotes file, "dew, nectar of the gods, should always have nectar of the gods added on to the end of it.", then scribbled something semi-coherent as the evening wore on. I learned that I have apparently cultivated something of a network of memes surrounding my time in the Commune eleven years ago by quoting memorable moments on my webpage, which creates a common frame of reference even for those who weren't physically present themselves.) Yanthor brought Agricola and we pulled it out, annexed the coffee table, and played our first proper five-player game (though I still didn't fully understand how to play and kept consulting the rules throughout the game, adjusting our knowledge as we went). Linknoid collected a giant hoard of wood and built all of his fifteen fences at once, but then couldn't manage to keep his pastures supplied with livestock. I emphasized wheat and ran into trouble in the last turn when I couldn't fence in my pastures to avoid losing points for unoccupied tiles.

We headed back to Yanthor's house and finally went to bed sometime well after midnight.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Yanthor and I went for coffee before breakfast, then sat down to a three-player game of Agricola with Yanthor, Nemo, and I. Now that we understood more of the rules the game went more smoothly, though we still played the "family" rules to keep things simple.

Nemo studies recently-completed game of Agricola
Nemo studies recently-completed game of Agricola

When the game finished in the middle of the afternoon, Nemo and Yanthor headed off for wedding photos and I settled into the couch to write a changelog, though I was briefly sidetracked by Yanthor's DirecTV HR-20 set-top box, which included my code buried deep within it. I dressed in my suit, which no longer fits me as well as it used to, as I've apparently lost weight even from the beginning of my freshman year when I got the suit. (If I dressed up more than once every two years I might care and might need to get a suit and associated dress clothing that fit me a bit better.) I caught a ride to the church with Anya, arriving an hour before the wedding was to start, and found Yanthor and Linknoid hanging out in a room off the main entrance. We found Humblik and hung out in a holding room at the far corner of the church, with a curtain separating us from the sanctuary, and waited for the wedding to begin.

Nemo waits for Humblik's wedding
Nemo waits for Humblik's wedding
Yanthor and Humblik before Humblik's wedding
Yanthor and Humblik before Humblik's wedding

The wedding was scheduled to start at 18:00, but when the actual hour arrived, guests were still backed up behind the guest book. When they subsided, the ceremony began with a slide show of pictures from the childhood of Humblik and his bride, known by the hacker alias Ashia. We turned off the lights and opened the curtain to watch the slide show and I saw Humblik silhouetted against the church. The lighting was lousy as I tried to prop my camera up on my knee to get a semi-stable shot but I think it turned out:

Humblik observes the church at the beginning of his wedding
Humblik observes the church at the beginning of his wedding

The wedding party headed off for their grand entry and Linknoid and I, being the two remaining stragglers, slipped into the back of the church for the wedding ceremony. I live-tweeted the event under the hashtag #humblikswedding and was not especially surprised that no one else joined the Twitter fray, as everyone else who actually knows Humblik by that alias was on the platform and unable to pull out their phones for the event. (It may be appropriate at some weddings for attendants to tweet the event, but this was not one of those weddings.) I tried not to flash back to my own wedding and sat back to enjoy the service.

After the wedding, I joined the wedding party in the broad main hallway at the back of the church and ran into a couple of my professors from my time at Union whom I hadn't seen in years. (I had my photos of of Calvin ready on my phone; these photos elicited a "Someone had a baby with you?" from a classmate I hadn't seen in a decade.)

We headed across the street to the reception in the the ground floor of Culver Hall, which had been significantly renovated from the cafeteria I knew and REDACTED from my undergraduate days. I wrote "Study Well?" on a quilt square, trying desperately to find something to reference the Commune Era. (I remember far more embarrassing moments from Yanthor and my lives during the Commune Era than Humblik's life; by comparison, Humblik was boring.)

When the reception wound down, I headed back to the church to take down the decorated trees, then headed back to Yanthor's house as the night wore on. Rather than do the sensible thing and go to bed, we launched into another game of Agricola, ending well after midnight. I contemplated my flight arrangements for Monday; when I first talked to Yanthor he was planning on working, so I planned to head home on a late-morning flight, but he decided he'd take the day off since Nemo and I were both around, so I changed my flight to a late-afternoon flight to give us a few more hours (and an extra game of Agricola or two). I was unable to change my flight on United's website, for reasons that were not clear, so I had to call reservations, where I talked to a guy with a distinct Indian accent who kept putting me on hold for random reasons but eventually managed to change my flight, after fifteen minutes on the phone. (At 02:00 CST, it was actually daylight in India.)

Monday, 15 November 2010

I realized I had made a good move by changing my flight when I barely managed to drag myself out of bed, shower, and start eating breakfast by 11:00, when my originally-scheduled flight was pushing back from Omaha. We played one last game of Agricola, then chatted for a bit before heading off to Eppley Airfield. I grabbed coffee before heading to my gate, and barely managed to avoid the x-ray backscatter ("naked") scanners by randomly picking the right lane. (This was the day after the "Don't touch my junk" incident in San Diego, which now seems poised to trigger a populist backlash against the invasive and ineffective TSA security theater procedures.)

I made it home without incident, despite being crammed into a middle seat. I arrived home early in the evening, only shortly after I'd normally arrive home from work, totally exhausted from my time in Lincoln but happy to have gone.