Updated Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Saturday, August 29, 2009

T minus 2 hours

This is it folks... in two hours I'm going to be getting married.

2 hours.

I'd like to say that my palms aren't doing that thing where mini-waterspouts suddenly erupt from my palms or that not I'm neurotically obsessing over small details (yes, every single rechargeable battery in the house has been charged, thank you very much)... but alas, that's not the case.

That said, I'm not so much nervous for us (I'm relatively sure she's going to say 'I do')... I just want everyone to show up and have a great time.

See, in that purely logical part of my brain I know that everything's going to go fine, we're surrounded by friends and family -- well-wishers all.

And yet I can still feel that cyclone forming in my gut. Yes, sometimes emotion just tackles reason to the ground and beats it with a pointy-club. (Caveman definitely trumps Astronaut).

At least we've gotten quite comfortable in tackling our problems together. (Can Tag-Team Astronauts beat a Caveman...??)

We tried creating a battle-plan for the night but soon came to the realisation that this thing is most likely not going to go off as planned. Thus we created the 'Battle-short-form-list-of-things-that-absolutely-must-happen'.

Much more flexible.

Also, big props to my Dad who's decided to brave the crowds and perform for us a song that he wrote himself. He's nervous as hell (he's never performed in public before - let alone a song he wrote) but I know he'll knock it out of the park. Thanks Dad!

Alright, time to get dressed. (Showing up at the wedding in shorts and a T-shirt is probably a bit of a no-no).

Cheers!
Brandon

P.S: Yes, that's me in my 'grown-up' face. Serious business. Not sure how I feel about it just yet.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bachelorized - T minus 2 days

Sooo... last night was my bachelor party.

My warm and fuzzy send-off from the land of being a single man.

And I gotta say, it was a damn fine time. Of course, leave it to my best friend (and best man) to think outside the box on this one. No strippers, no carousing, no debauchery.

No tag-alongs.

Just me and the hardcore. The close friends. My comrades.

Honestly, it wasn't the kind of bachelor party they show to you on the big screen (or the small screen for that matter)... and really, I couldn't ask for more.

We started at 11pm -- which worked out rather well 'cause I spent most of the lead-in time going over our playlist for the wedding -- and drove off into the night.

Our first stop was in my ol' stompin' grounds. Wandering around the area, marvelling about how much it had changed -- or hadn't. Lots of reminiscing, lots laughter... and of course, no visit to the ol' area would be complete without running into a loud, obnoxious drunk man yelling at the sides of houses for the voices inside to come out and fight him like a man.

To his credit, he turned to us with a crooked smile and proudly announced "Never mind me, I'm drunk!" to which I replied "No problem, have a good night".

He smiled, nodded and then returned to yelling at houses.

Ahhh how I've missed the ol' neighbourhood.

What followed probably would've been more justified if I had've been drunk, but hey, last night on Earth and such, right? Laughing like the goofballs we were, we basically regressed about 15 years and proceeded to go off on our own lil' adventure -- which included us disappearing down a strange, dark wooded trail at 1 in the morning, laughing and joking about how 'these young men entered the woods, never to be heard from again'.

Ahh yes, good times! Celebrate the end of an era by opening ourselves up to being slasher movie fodder (I did end up getting a great idea for a movie from the whole thing... so yeah... bonus!).

We hiked through the woods, listening to the odd sounds of things rummaging around in the foliage, doing our best to follow the path while scaring ourselves silly.

It was a bunch of spooky fun as we stumbled amongst the bush, stopping to take random pictures and eventually emerging (safe and sound) far from where we parked. A good 40 min walk actually.

Yeah, needless to say I slept rather soundly last night.

I know that there probably aren't a whole lot of people who would have enjoyed spending their bachelor party like that -- it certainly doesn't sound like much on paper... but that's what makes it so frickin' great: a night tailored to all my best quirks accompanied by my closest mates.

Simple and fun... hell, I wouldn't have had it any other way.

Thanks guys!
Brandon

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

T minus 4 Days

Holy crap! 4 Days.

In 4 days I'm getting married.

And we're still figuring out what music we're going to use.

Incidentally, little things like 'what music are you going to play at the wedding?' should not just start to be addressed 1 week before the wedding.

Also, it's good to really establish one's musical 'tone' as early on as possible.

We, uh, didn't... thus there's been a lot of nights this week of us staying up, side by side -- computer by computer (awww!) -- until 2-3 am submitting, bartering for and/or vetting each others tracks for the wedding. The goal is to come up with a master list first and then figure out where/how to slot it all in (hopefully) before the actual day of the wedding.

I'll trade you one 'Back In Black' for two of your 'The Power Of Love's.

So far we're doing pretty good we're also mixing some Chinese tracks into the mix and that's been the easiest of them all to pick out. Most of the songs she's presented to me are ones that are true hits, some that've earned literally billions of people's approval (a nationwide hit is a REAL nationwide hit... no joke). All of them -- even though I can barely understand a word they're saying (my Mandarin, frankly, sucks) -- are beautiful in some way or another.

She's also introduced me to the Pipa and the Chinese Violin -- instruments whose sounds I've fallen in love with at an almost molecular level.

In other news, our MC issues appear to be figured out. We're toughing it out with this guy, hoping he'll pull through for us -- this is mostly due to the fact that, well, there aren't any other options. The others I've called are booked or exceedingly expensive.

On the plus side, he's actually responding to emails now -- I think the not-too-subtle mention of looking elsewhere helped get hit attention back on track.

Worst comes to worst I'm practicing my mad juggling skills (in which I have zero proficiency) to help keep the crowd interested in a worst case scenario.

Consider my fingers officially crossed for the better.

On a final note: I decided to scare my ass silly about the honeymoon (as us storytellers are wont to do) and did a Google-search on 'Hawaii + Danger'.

Apparently the most deadly marine creature in the world hangs out near the beaches of Waikiki.

Yes folks, the Box Jellyfish can apparently kill you from the intense agony of its sting alone in about 2-3 minutes. One full-grown Box Jellyfish has enough venom in its stingers to kill 20 full grown humans without breaking a sweat.



Cool beans, eh?!

Don't even get me started on the Portuguese Man o' Wars.



On the bright side, the chances of getting stung by any of these things is pretty slim... but still, yeah...

Mother Nature does not dick around!

Cheers,
Brandon

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Professionalism - or the Lack Thereof

There is no more stressful occasion than to deal with someone who presents themself as a 'professional' yet, when hired, cannot understand the concepts at work behind the word.

One-and-a-half weeks before our wedding, we're discovering (the hard way) that our MC is... well... a bit of a flake.

Our first meeting was this last Sunday - everything seemed to go well, he seemed intelligent and fun and knowledgeable... he talked a good game. Tab A goes into slot B sort of stuff, but seemed experienced enough.

We ended the meeting on a positive note with him agreeing to email us a list of wedding games and an itinerary of how he sees the reception playing out. That was Sunday afternoon.

I've since called and emailed him several times, each time he's jovial - he's been busy, he forgot, he'll do it by end of day.

Except that the days keep passing and every day nothing happens. We even let him upsell us on having an audio setup (with mixer, nice speakers, mic stand, etc.) - an extra $100 but hey, it's our wedding. He came highly recommended and his price ($250 for the night) was damn good and hard to beat.

Thing is, sometimes you do - in fact - get what you pay for.

A week and a half out from our big day and this guy's not shaking a leg. Worse off, he's not communicating. You see, rather than emailing us or calling us to apologize - to say that he's been busy, that he didn't get around to it today - he's just gone dark.

And you can't go dark a week and a half before a wedding. I'm sorry.

Thing is, time's wasting and we're feeling sort of screwed - having an MC that's fluent in Mandarin and English is a must for us (which severely limits the field). We're stressed enough getting everything together as it is and now I have to harass someone I'm paying to do the job I'm paying them for.

Yeah. Not good.

I called him this morning and it rang twice before going right to voice mail. Moreso, the frustrated part of my brain knows that he saw my number and chose to ignore me (I've called and left messages before where it's rang like 5 times before voice mail kicks in... essentially, he sent my call to voice mail).

Anyways, I left a message for him to call me at 12-1pm today so we can discuss things. It's 1:30, not a word. I got into work today and sent him an email at 10am, asking him to email that list for me this afternoon. No response.

There's something to be learned in all this and it's actually quite simple: Don't take the job if you can't do the job.

What bothers me most about this isn't even the fact that he's not treating this like a priority (he may have other jobs on the go, I dunno). What bothers me is that he doesn't take the time to communicate.

Especially the (rather important) fact that he's not capable of living up to his word.

And so now I've got to try and find us a good backup MC who can put something together in a week or less who won't utterly destroy our budget in the process. My fiancée is worried about me ticking him off and then he might not show at all, but I refuse to be held hostage by someone who clearly doesn't give a shit.

If you work for me, you work for me - if you can't do that then let me know and hit the road.

Simple as that.

Ugh.

Wish me luck,
Brandon

Monday, August 17, 2009

Booked

Peeking up from the mess - we're officially 12 days out from the big day and man are things starting to get hairy.

On the bright side, this last week has been über-productive on the wedding front.

We're booked, booked and booked on the Honeymoon - finally. Coming up with the game plan was hard enough, figuring out how to execute it was... yeah.

I just wanna say that we went through a good number of travel agents, trying to find the kind of honeymoon we wanted at a price that wasn't... well... death to ze wallet. Turns out that if you want something done right, you ask your fiancée.

Unhappy with the kinds of deals and such we were getting, she said 'I can do better' - and then she did. Within minutes of receiving an email stating 'this is the very best price you're going to get' she hit the web and - literally, within minutes - beat that 'best price' by several hundred dollars. So... uh... yeah. Wow.

In total, thanks to her dogged research and general badass-ness, we've managed to shave a good $1200 or so off their 'best' price. So, yeah, we're going to Hawaii for 2 weeks - including staying at a 5 star resort... pretty swanky!! I helped mostly by reading reviews and travel books and sites like Tripadvisor.com (which seriously, seriously rocks!) - lots of comparing places and chats about what's closest to the best activities (let alone what the best activities are).

Some of it was good timing (including a fortuitous 3am seat sale) but most of it was just good ol' fashioned digging in the heels and saying 'this is what we want, now how can we get the best bang for our buck?'

Yes, I'm definitely a lucky, lucky man :P

We also managed to get the cake ordered and have a meeting with our MC - trying to figure out how this thing is actually going to be pulled off. We started talking about music, about the mood we want to create, and we realized that 'traditional' isn't really our style. Sure, we'll try and get some classic stuff in there but we definitely don't want it to be too mushy.

I started looking up wedding playlists to get an idea of what seems to get a lot of air play and... wow, yeah, I dunno, most of it seems to be just dripping with the saccharine-y sweetness.

For now we're mixing it up with Chinese and English music, trying to hit a nice balance that shows who we are. Which can be hard 'cause, well, I'm a big ol' geek.

I tried to see if we can fit The Final Countdown in there but alas, I was denied.

Also tried to get this in for the Wedding march. Shot down again.

I tell ya... so hard to please. :P

More to come soon.

Cheers,
Brandon

Friday, August 07, 2009

IGN lies about GI Joe review

Just happened upon this - what can I say, I was expecting to read that GI Joe was shambles. I was expecting it to be a trainwreck.

Then I go and see this while perusing one of my favourite game and move review sites:

And hell yeah! I wanna know if it is, indeed, 'Yo, Joe!' or 'Oh, No'!

So I click the link and read the review.

It practically gushes about the depth of the characters and the action-packed set pieces. It goes on to talk about how great this flick is if you just give in to your inner child.

And, well, I scoff. 'cause well, it sounds like utter bullshit.

Then I see this and my eyebrows raise 3 official notches:

Apparently Rotten Tomatoes - a site that I visit often and tend to agree with on most things - loves the shit out of this movie. 86 critics think that this movie is the utter shiznit.

Wow.

How could several shitty trailers and horrible industry buzz be so absolutely wrong?!

Hell, now I gotta read these reviews!

So I click the link, waiting to see who drooled all over themselves for this flick. I mean, this thing must be the next goddamn Titanic with scores that high.

Uh, yeah, apparently not.

Apparently, IGN's fudging the numbers... just a tad. Or, you know... bald-faced lying.

On RT's site proper, only 53 reviewers have even bothered to weigh in on this flick and of them 30 think the movie is utter shite.

It's simple logic, really - the numbers were down (not really reflecting the tone of the kick-ass review they'd pre-written) so IGN just figured that the next 33 reviews would be AWESOME and went accordingly.

So, yeah, IGN obviously wants to sell some tickets. They've probably got lots of money flowing in to make this crapfest look good.

But how'd RT get suckered into this?

Oh. Well, colour me surprised.

IGN Entertainment OWNS Rotten Tomatoes.

Right. Uhhh... when did that happen?? Man, have I been asleep at the wheel or what.

So, it looks like I'm in need of a new movie review site 'cause, yeah... this is pretty pathetic.

From what I'd heard, they wouldn't even screen this movie for critics.

Luckily, IGN and Rotten Tomatoes have our collective backs.

Thanks guys. Glad to know that you're on our side.

Cheers,
Brandon

Note: These screen shots were taken around 12pm today - who knows how long this review's been up on the site?

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Wedding Blitz

My life has become all about the wedding these days.

Nothing before, nothing after - just, The Wedding.

We're still locking down the MC. Still figuring out the cake. Still figuring out the honeymoon. Really, it's all in a state of flux right now... and time is, yeah.

It's not slowing down.

August 29th is the big day and daaamn, it's comin' hard and fast over the horizon.

On Friday I cleared out my room, everything that I own (and could take with me) packed into various boxes and bags and placed into the back of my dad's minivan.

My fiancée and I are officially roommates now. We're trying to figure out where everything goes, who's stuff trumps who's (note: hers trumps mine...) and how this is all going to work long term. It's a work in progress.

In other news, any semblance of me being a 'writer' these days has taken a long walk off a short pier - as well as pretty much most of my interaction with Ink Canada lately. Hopefully Karen's not too peeved - trying to juggle everything (including my 9-5 job) is getting slippery as all hell. I'm still trying to help where I can but I'm having a hard time keeping my mind on a single track for more than 5 mins at a time these days.

Distracted. Yes, definitely distracted.

But not giving up. I'm distracted but with good intentions.

And don't even get me started on keeping up with the CRTC... ugh. That one's driving me up the wall 'cause I've been trying to keep that bit under my thumb and it keeps scurrying away from me.

Anyways, enough whining.

Rich Baldwin's got a great new interview with Jill Golick up on Ink Canada - if you're interested in getting something up and running online, New Media or otherwise, this is probably something right up your alley. Take a gander.

Cheers,
Brandon