Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Over-analyzing Stop Motion Save the Date Videos

I have noticed a very interesting trend in Save the Date videos.  In an age when computer-generated animation is becoming increasingly prevalent (even Disney says they're through with hand-drawn animation :( ), stop motion STD (I'm sorry for the abbreviation, but it's just so damn convenient) videos seem to be taking the wedding world by storm.

OK, maybe that's a bit hyperbolic.  After all, only a very small percentage of couples even use STD videos.  However, of those who do, a significant number have made stop motion videos.

Now, I'm a film studies major who wrote as many papers as possible on animation (I once wrote a ten-page film theory paper on The Lion King), so forgive me if I'm delving too deep into analysis here.  But this trend toward stop motion STD videos surprises me for two reasons.

One is that stop motion films are incredibly time-consuming.  You have to set up each frame by hand, and it can take hours to get thirty seconds of material.

The other is that using stop motion requires a surprising level of creativity.  Since they've virtually disappeared from Hollywood cinema (Tim Burton is the only significant exception), I'm surprised so many people thought of it.  Of course, I may have come across all of the other film major's STD videos, or maybe someone started the trend, and the others saw their work and copied the idea.

Regardless, I've been very impressed by them.  You have simple, cutesy ones like this:

 LEGOs Seem Particularly Popular

However, you also get really artsy stuff that looks like it belongs in an avant-garde film festival:

Gotta Love Vampire Weekend

So why are people making such time-consuming films?  And why are they making them so damn long (seriously, you do not need to take four minutes to get the point across)?

As to the latter question, I will keep my opinion to myself out of respect to the filmmakers.  But I think I've got a handle on the former.

Stop motion may take forever, but it is very easy to make well, especially on a low budget.  The biggest thing the above films have in common aside from the mode of filmmaking is that both use household items as their props.  It doesn't get much less expensive than a few LEGO people or some clothing.  Stop motion allows couples to make a cute, unique STD without spending much if any money.

It's the budget bride's dream come true.

Since most people don't avidly search YouTube for STD videos, and also because Hollywood has given up on stop motion, making your STD using this mode of filmmaking creates a completely unique look.  Indeed, you can even make it look professional much more easily than using people.  Fewer variables to deal with.  If you do it right, you won't even need to edit the film.  Add in the low cost, and now I'm surprised more people aren't doing it.

So newly engaged folks, if you want to make unforgettable STDs without shelling out much cash, just jump on the stop motion bandwagon.

And if you've made it through all that, I hereby dub you an honorary member of the Berkeley Film Department.  Or at least I would if Berkeley actually had a Film Department (we're smushed in with Rhetoric.  It's really embarrassing).

Sound reasonable?  Other ideas about why people would produce stop motion STD videos?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I'm the Bride. Bitch.

A long time ago in a blogosphere far, far away, a Daniel groom-inated about this t-shirt:

I too have visions of a bride t-shirt, surrounded by many friendly bridesmaid t-shirts.  Alas, bride t-shirts tend to be boring.  Not that I mind so much.  I largely doubt I'll spend much time wearing it.  Still, I hunger for a bride t-shirt as awesome as Super Groom's.

And now, I have found it:

So bridesmaids, you all know you want to buy this for me.  Right?

Though I must admit, this is pretty good too:

And I would totally wear this to a bachelorette party:

And for my gamer friends, we have this:

Hehe, did you do anything cheesy like this for the day of or bachelorette party?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Invitations are not worth stressing out over. So why am I doing it anyway?

Guys, I feel like a first-class idiot right now.

Remember when I said I didn't care about invitations?  Apparently, I was lying.

The invitation I showed you before did not look so good in print.

The colors of the printed version can only be described as bleak.  Daniel noticed it right away and did not want something so sad to represent our wedding.  Can't really argue with that.

The other sample we got from 123print.com was much happier.

It's a little darker in print too, but it works.  Daniel really liked this one, but it just didn't feel like our wedding to me.  I like the design, but I just don't like it enough.  So we started looking for other invitations.

Unfortunately, I could not find anything nearly as cheap as 123print.com.  The ones we did find and like only barely fit into our budget and would not allow us to use our invitation budget to cover thank you cards also.  Nonetheless, we really liked some of them.

I absolutely love this one.  Even though it's not directly related to our wedding, the water colors sort of feel like the ocean, and it really stands out which I love.  However, Daniel thinks it's not really our wedding, so we scrapped this one.

Daniel really liked this one, but it feels too wintery to me.  Maybe if it was a different blue, but as it is, we scrapped this one as well.

And then there's this one.  Despite the fact that it is in no way related to the theme, colors, or feel of our wedding, we both fell quickly for it.  You can put your own picture too which is pretty cool.  If price were not an issue, we would have ordered it already.

Unfortunately, price is an issue.  Regardless of our budget, we should be going for a cheap invite because it's something neither of us cares much about.  But because I am a first-class idiot, I cannot seem to let go of the invitations I actually like for the cheap one that is only OK.  The swirly blue one above would cost us much less than $100 for the invitations and response cards.  The one we really like is almost $200 even with the huge discount they sent us.  There's no way we can justify spending that much with a perfectly fine option that is so much cheaper.

And yet, and yet, I can't let go and just get the cheap one.  I just can't.  It's not even that I really dislike it.  It's fine.  But because it's my goddamn wedding, fine isn't good enough for me because I'm an idiot.  Even for the stupid invitations that I don't care about, I still want them to be good and unique and memorable.  Because I'm an idiot.

I have some ideas about how to make it work with getting some cooler invitations without spending quite so much, but I really shouldn't be wasting time looking for and ordering more samples, and it would be much better for me to learn to let go.

And yet...I just can't seem to do it.

If you know of any really cheap invitation places/websites, I'd love to hear about them.  We really need invitations and response cards together to be $150 or less.  And if you can knock some sense into my stupid, stubborn brain, that would be good too.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The ABC's of Blogging

I've been sick for a week and soooo have not spent that time working on the wedding.  So in the meantime, I entertain you with this.  Not that I don't talk about myself wayyyyy too much on here already.

A. Age: 23
B. Bed size:  Full, but believe me, I wish it was a king.
C. Chore you hate: Just one?  Really?  We'll go with dishes because they plague my everyday life.  And because Daniel and I used to have a deal where he would do the dishes because I hated them, and I would do the laundry because he hated it...until there became too many dishes for it to be fair.
D. Dogs: Sore subject still.  But someday, we'll get one together.
E. Essential start to your day: Waking up.
F. Favorite color:  Blue/pink.  Why yes, those are two of our wedding colors!
G. Gold or silver: I've made the switch from gold to silver though really I prefer white gold.
H. Height: 5' 4.5".  Yes, the extra half inch matters.
I. Instruments you play: I sing.  I played the flute for about 4 months when I was 9.
J. Job title: Oddly enough, I think the title of both of my jobs is instructor.
K. Kids: Love them, but not having any for a very, very long time.
L. Live: Today, San Jose.
M. Mom’s name: Yeah, that's where I draw the line on personal information.
N. Nicknames: NicoliOliHpf!  as said by Bridesmaid M.
O. Overnight hospital stays: You know, despite my all-too-frequent hospital visits during the last few years, none of them have turned into overnight stays.
P. Pet peeve: Idiots.
Q. Quote from a movie:  I cannot pick one, so I present you with these:

"Once upon a time..."
"It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live." - Albus Dumbledore
"Do you believe in magic?"
"Death cannot stop true love.  It can only delay it for a while." - Wesley
"Inconceivable!" - Vizzini
"Can you sing with all the voices of the mountain?  Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?" - Pocahontas
"When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true."

R. Right or left handed: Right
S. Siblings: Younger brother
T. Time you wake up: Ideally?  About 8am.  Realistically, earlier than I'd like.
U. Underwear: Wouldn't you like to know?
V. Vegetables you dislike: All.  Except corn.
W. What makes you run late: Refusing to get out of bed.  And traffic.  But mostly, I don't do late.
X. X-Rays you’ve had: I don't know if there's anything I haven't had x-rayed.
Y. Yummy food you make: I make a mean blackberry chocolate tart and have gained renown through LauHiLau cookies and gorgonzola gnocchi.  My white wine-soaked scrambled eggs with goat cheese toast are pretty cool too.
Z. Zoo- favorite animal:  Dolphins.  Though I also have a soft spot for sea lions, whales, deer, wolves, and large cats.

Care to share some of yours?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Becoming an Adult

I got a job!  Actually, I got 4 job offers over the weekend because I'm spiffy like that, and I've accepted 2 of them for the time being.

This is radically different from job hunting last year.  Not only did I get a plethora of offers mere weeks after I started applying, I'm going to be working at jobs I actually want!  And from what I've experienced so far, I'll be working with good people who have their shit together.  Crazy!

So I started the main job this week.  I'll be teaching kids' gymnastics as part of a movement skills development program, and my boss has been telling me a lot about growth opportunities.  Because for the first time at a job, they're actually available, and it's a job I think I may actually stay at for a while.  The franchise is even international.  So my boss has me thinking about careers now, a subject I have been avoiding like the neighborhood cat avoids our pool for the last few years.  And I could actually make some sort of career out of this.  Maybe.

But then, I feel sort of weird about that.  Having gone to Berkeley, I have come to expect either an artsy elitist sort of career or the kind that involves wearing a suit and making lots of money.  Obviously, I haven't tended toward either in my job choices thus far, but it's hard to have gone to all the trouble of schooling to do something that doesn't even require a bachelor's degree.  You know, on a permanent basis.

But I am getting way ahead of myself anyway.  And I should probably be much more concerned with whether I like working here since it would be a first if I did.  Career choices don't have to happen yet, right?

Sigh.  Becoming an adult is hard.  At least one of us knows what he wants to do.  And at least I have a job that I think I'll actually like.

P.S.  I may not be here much longer because my other job is teaching kids to build using LEGOs.  Daniel says once I actually start getting paid to play with LEGOs, he is going to kill me, so if I disappear without a trace, you'll know why.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Geeking out the Ceremony

At this point, you guys know about my geekish tendencies.  And if I've had one obsession in my life to stand out above the rest, it's Harry Potter.

I've done it all:  midnight premieres, conventions, dressing up, scouring the internet for rumors.  I have my own website, and I've read each book more times than I care to admit.  I've even taught two classes on Harry Potter at Berkeley.

But over the last few years, Harry Potter and I have grown further and further apart.  I haven't read the series through since before the seventh book came out.  I don't spend hours thinking about it, I don't obsessively check for news, I don't even know what's going on with J.K. Rowling anymore.

But still when I take the time to read a passage or two, I remember how much it meant to me, how much it still means to me.  No book has ever affected me quite as much as Harry Potter, and I will never relinquish my love for it.

And that is why I would like to include a passage from the books somewhere in our ceremony.  It has been important to me and my life and my view on life, and after all, Daniel and I never would have met without those books.

However, finding a readable passage is somewhat more challenging.  As much as I respect JKR and her writing, if there is one thing the woman cannot write about, it is love.  At least, not real love.  Awkward teenage romance sure, but the intricacies and importance of true love between two people?  Not so much.  Dumbledore has a decent number of one liners about love, but the only real passage in the entire series is this one:

"There is a room in the Department of Mysteries that is kept locked at all times. It contains a force that is at once more wonderful and more terrible than death, than human intelligence, than the forces of nature. It is also, perhaps, the most mysterious of the many subjects for study that reside there. It is the power held within that room that you possess in such quantities and which Voldemort has not at all."
    —Albus Dumbledore to Harry Potter, Order of the Phoenix

That's all well and good except for the bit about the Department of Mysteries and the mention of Voldemort.  But I can't quite seem to edit them out without ruining it.

I have not decided whether I actually care if people don't get it, but you all seem like reasonable, mostly non-geeky people.  Would you be confused if you heard this at a ceremony?  Would you care if you were?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Budget Envy

Sometimes I get jealous of people who obviously have higher budgets than we do.  Not even high budgets, just average (average = $25,000, apparently).

I am all for everyone using whatever funds they have at their disposal for their wedding and am totally happy that they can have what we cannot.  And I've got to admit, I would feel like I failed somehow if we were spending any more than we are.  Because weddings are so ridiculously expensive, and I feel like if I can do it well for less, I should.

Still, when I see posts about people's pre-packaged ball rooms with chivari chairs, color-coordinated napkins, and fancy centerpieces included, it makes me think about the wedding I really wanted to have.  The wedding with a perfect ocean view, no budget for my dress, an open bar all night, a week-long honeymoon at Sandals Grand Caribbean, and large, cascading flowery centerpieces.  The wedding where we could order colored napkins and round tables even though they're extra and pay for someone else to make the centerpieces (working on flowers = much thought of centerpieces).  Or at least the wedding that would allow us to pay for everyone's parking or ship our guests over to Catalina (yes, I still dream about having the wedding there, so shoot me).

Our wedding is going to be beautiful, unique, very us, and much, much nicer than I thought it would be.  I'm very satisfied with the amount our budget has settled at, and I'm so grateful for everything we're going to have.  Our wedding will be almost everything I wanted it to be.


Sometimes, I just wish we could actually have "the dream."

At least for the ceremony location.

Oh well.

Sorry about the ranty, disjointed posting of today.  I'm blogging under the influence of exhaustion and do not care enough to wait to post until sober.

Thoughts?  Agreement?  Empathy?  Sympathy?  Shut up you bitchy whiner?

Things I Will Not Be Making My Bridesmaids Wear

Personal Photo

I think it's hot, but no one else, it appears, agrees with me.  On sale at Macy's if you do!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Organization Is My Friend

You may have noticed from my lack of enthusiastic posting lately that I've been in a bit of a wedding hiatus.  Between surgery, recovery, moving, and the bar exam, the wedding just has not been a high priority.  But now I can feel the clock ticking with ever-increasing voracity, and now that we are, if not settled, at least at a permanent residence (permanent = 1 year in Nicoleland), it is time to kick the wedding stuff into high geer.

And so this week I set out to take care of some things that should have been taken care of long ago.  Among these are a complete list of everything that must be done before and during the wedding and a complete spreadsheet with all of our foreseeable expenses.

Most bloggers I know describe themselves as having a "type-A" personality.  I hate this phrase.  Mostly because I hate the kinds of tests that determine these things.  However, the shoe fits in my case.  I need order, I need structure, and I need organization, or I just get frustrated.

Now that I have everything written down and sorted, I feel much better about this whole wedding business, and I am ready to tackle my Knot list.  Especially since we now have a thorough and comprehensive budget that actually puts us within our means.  Yay for not going over budget!

Today:  order.  Tomorrow:  invitations, registries, honeymoon, and bridesmaid dresses.

And job applications.

What helps you keep from being overwhelmed?  Is there a system you use(d) to help you remember everything?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Meet the Wedding Party: Everyone Else

FINALLY!  I wrote this months ago and having been waiting until Daniel finished his groomspeople post to share it with you.  And now, the time has finally arrived!

You've met the bridespeoples, you've met the groomspeoples, NOW meet the OTHER PEOPLES!  Woooooo!

Officiant:  Nicole

No, I'm not officiating our wedding!  This Nicole, also know as Andrew's Nicole (as she is married to one of Daniel's groomsmen) and the Other Nicole (though I also hold that title), is the sole reason that Daniel and I know each other at all.  If she hadn't pushed BookWorlds to accept a Harry Potter class and then proceeded to teach said class, Daniel and I never would have met.  He wouldn't have spent time in our class, and I probably wouldn't have decided to teach.  So it seemed fitting to have Nicole be the one to marry us.  But that's not why we chose her.  Due to the chasms of time Daniel and I have spent apart, we haven't had much time to get to know each other's friends considering how long we've been together.  There are a few exceptions, but Nicole is the only one of Daniel's friends that I feel like I have a friendship with that's separate from Daniel.  Since Nicole has spent over 3 years abroad, we've exchanged emails and read each other's blogs so that Nicole and I have had a chance to talk on our own, even if most of it wasn't it person.  Besides, we have a lot in common, not least of which is this:

Nicoles in Front of the ACTUAL WEASLEY CAR!!!!!!

And of course, Nicole and Daniel were already friends.  They taught classes together on Lord of the Rings and have been close for a very long time.  Nicole believes that she and Andrew will one day live across the street from Daniel and I in Berkeley despite my utter refusal to move back.  But it could totally happen somewhere else in the Bay Area if they ever come back to the US!

Flower Girl:  Lizzy

Lizzy is my baby!  All right, she's not actually mine, but she is my favorite baby from the preschool I taught at last year.  She was usually the last baby there in the evenings, and we got to spend a lot of time one-on-one as a result which was great for me because Lizzy is an amazing kid.  Incredibly precocious and inquisitive, Lizzy is as exceptional as she is adorable...and she's pretty darn adorable.  Her mom is amazing too, and she's flying the two of them out all the way from Chicago for Lizzy to be my flower girl!  After I casually told Mom that I wanted to have Lizzy as my flower girl, we played a long game of "I'm serious if you are," and they are officially going to make it out.  Both of them are great people, and we've managed to keep in touch since I left which I'm very grateful for, partly because I'll have the cutest flower girl ever!

There will be other important people involved with the wedding.  Like, I don't know, our parents maybe.  But we had to draw the line somewhere, and I drew it at people standing up there with us during the ceremony.

How did you choose your officiant?  Did you have a friend do it like us or a religious figure or something else?  And are there any other brides out there who did not choose a family member as their flower girl?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Meet the Wedding Party - Groom-ination Style

I'm Daniel.  I'm the Groom.

So, I was gonna do a groom-inations post about all the crap I've been doing instead of doing groom-inations posts.  But, it turns out that I've been promising Nicole that I would do a post about my grooms people for a while now.  Like a long while.  Still haven't done it.  Feel pretty bad.  But better late than never, I hope. Anyway...  In chronological order... Joey! Becca! Andrew!   Yeahh! The crowd goes willllddddd!!!!  ROARyeahWOoooh!


So I've known Joey the longest, since sixth grade, way back in Miller Creek Middle School.  We knew each other and we were certainly friendly, but we didn't really become friends until high school.  We had a ton of classes together and have been best friends ever since.  Joey and I still get together with four other guys about once a year, Victor, Everly, Minh-Hai, and Jimmy.  We all used to hang out in high school, though I stayed closest with Joey.  Joey and I saw a lot more of each other than the rest of the guys because we also went to the same school for college, and even after that lived pretty close to each other.  It wasn't until I left for Chicago to go to law school that we stopped hanging out.  But it's not like we were ever gonna be less of friends or anything.  I've known Joey for so long, and we give each other so much crap, he's probably the closest thing I'll ever have to knowing what it's like to have a sibling.  (Did I just call Joey a thing?  Oh well, he knows I've said worse about him)


I met Rebecca (no one calls her that) when I moved into the dorms at UC Berkeley in August of 2000.  I think I met her the first day there, even though she lived one floor below me.  She and her roommate Rachel (Rach) very quickly became good friends with Maureen (Mo), who lived down the hall from me.  (And they called me Dan, not Daniel.  Everyone's name was shorter. what gives?)  And Rach dated my roommate Will for a while, so then I got close with all of them.  I remember a lot of good times I had hanging out in the dorm with their feminine triumvirate (ooh, big words!).  I've always had an easier time connecting with women as friends.  Not sure why.  So anyway, for a while there I never thought I would be as close to Becca as either Rach or Maureen.  I just wasn't as close a friend with her when we first met, especially since I shared an apartment with Mo for three years.  But sometimes the years go by and things surprise you.  Mo and Rach both moved away but Becca and I stuck around after graduation.  We became really close.  The kind of friend you just know will be there when you need them.  (And, by the way, that whole thing about how guys and girls can't be friends cause of the sex issue is bullshit.  I'm just saying.)  So, it never occurred to me to have a groomsman who wasn't a man.  But one day Nicole talked to me about how much she wanted to have her brother Cody stand on her side, to which I immediately responded, "well, then I should get Becca on my side."  Nicole pointed out that yeah, I should.  So here she is.  She'll be dressed like a bridesmaid but she'll stand with Joey and Andrew on my side.


This is gonna sound weird, since I only have three groomsmenpeople, but I haven't seen Andrew in over three and a half years.  He and his wife (also a Nicole) were in Mali with the peace corps for two years, then they taught in France for a year, and now they are in the Qinhuangdao province of China for one more year.  They have been back a couple of times, separately.  I've seen Nicole, but somehow I never managed to see Andrew.  Actually, now that I'm writing it down, it just sucks.  We were so close that last couple of years before he left.  And I suck at long distance friendships.  Like really suck.  But you know what, we both know it doesn't matter.  We're still gonna do our damnedest to make sure we live in the same area and are friends for many years to come.
Anyway, Andrew and I met through a wonderful little organization called BookWorlds.  I'm sure Nicole (mine this time) has mentioned it, but here's the summary.  BookWorlds is a club of friends that teaches real undergraduate courses at UC Berkeley about books that have their own worlds.  In their second semester, Andrew co-taught a course on Lord of the Rings.  I loved it.  It was the best thing I'd ever done in college.  I joined up with so much enthusiasm it was scary.  Andrew and I were both part of the core group of bookworlders for several years and it was a really fun time in my life.  So, thanks for that.  Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing my friend again this summer and having him stand up at my wedding.

So... yeah, that's it.  There's probably more to say.  I ramble too much though.  (I bet you can tell from the overuse of parentheses)  I'm glad Nicole only had three people on her side.  Being reduced to three spots made things a lot easier for me.  Otherwise I'd have a crappy choice of choosing who else to have stand and who not to.  I mean, Vic, Ev, Danny, Leslie, lots of people I would love to have up there with me.  I'm an over-inclusive kind of guy to begin with.  I want everyone in on the fun.  Without Nicole reigning me in a bit, I might have had a whole crowd up there with me.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Invitations that go with your wedding theme/feel or invitations that you like better but are totally unrelated to the wedding theme/feel?

More on this to come, but for now, I just want your opinion.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

If Nirvana Needed Somewhere to Store Shit

For my first post from San Jose, it seemed only fitting to write about the huge, sprawling chain stores that characterize massive suburbs such as this.  In my case, the Container Store.
I have always been rather intrigued by this containment center for containers.  How would such a large store that sells only containers stay in business?
Well, Daniel and I visited one of these two-story monstrosities this weekend, and now I can say with utter confidence that I totally get it.
For those still in the shadows about the wonders of the Container Store, it is a magical place with a variety of containers for everything.  But it’s not all boxes, tubs, cabinets, and receptacles.  There are items you wouldn’t normally think of as containers but totally hold stuff, like a wall of hangars and a tie rack.
Say it with me now:  weeeeeeeee!
But there are also everyday household items that technically contain stuff but are really more just useful items like our new spice rack.
It folds down so you can store it somewhere high...
...and then pull it down to use it!  We totally have the perfect shelf for it:  high but no longer inaccessible.  Yes, I’m a little too excited.
We had a lot of fun looking at all the new and shiny objects around the store.  There were so many, and they were so cool and useful!  And there were some that were just fun.
 Giant bag of peanuts!  Heaven!  Made out of peanuts!
*All Personal Photos
Anyway, the reason I bring it up is that this would be an awesome place to register if you need container-type stuff.  There were lots of things that we would have liked people to buy for us, like nice trash cans, file cabinets, kitchen stuff, various types of paper storage, wickery baskets for every occasion, and these cute containers for specific types of food, like hot dogs (with actual rounded ends for each hot dog, hehe).
It was reasonably priced, had better quality and more selection than Target, provided lots of options, patterns, and styles, and had a range of prices and qualities for most items that would allow a couple to tailor their selections to their and their guests’ needs.
Unfortunately, the last thing we need is more stuff, particularly stuff that would give us an excuse to acquire more stuff, so we will not be creating a Container Store registry.  Still, I bet a lot of couples could really use one.  And believe me, we’re sad that we don’t get one.
Did you register somewhere a little off the beaten path (i.e. not Target, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, or Macy’s)?  Where would you recommend couples register that they might not have thought of?

Classy Wedding by the Sea