Tuesday, August 11, 2009

That was AWESOME!

We're married! After being together for 14 years and surviving two years of engagement, the big day has finally happened. Woohoo! The weekend at the inn was surreal, but we had an incredible time and we know at least a few other people had fun, too. There are various pictures on Facebook already and we should have the website for the "official" pictures in a few weeks. I'll also be setting up an account on a photo sharing site, so people can upload their pics. If you want to see the pictures from our "engagement session," then you can check them out here.

A huge thank you to all of our friends and family who made it out to celebrate with us. We're very lucky to have so many fantastic people in our lives. We hope everyone had as good of a time as we did.

We're off to Curacao on August 15, so expect some stories and pictures when we return. I may also be posting some random wedding memories on here in the coming days. But maybe not. This is one of my few remaining weeks of vacation, after all.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Food of the Outer Banks

This post is somewhat overdue, but I'm on vacation, so time is of little concern. Anyway, here is a quick review of the food that Briana and I ate on our Outer Banks pre-wedding expedition. Disclaimer: All photos were taken with the crappy cameras on our iPhones.

Friday Dinner:
Blue Moon Beach Grill
Matt ate the Mahi Mahi BLT and Briana ate the Voodoo Pasta.
If you are coming to the OBX, then you MUST come to this restaurant. It was fairly small inside, but the food was fantastic. The Voodoo Pasta was made up of grilled pork, veggies, and a slightly spicy marinara; it was very tasty. The Mahi Mahi BLT--see picture--had a big slab of Mahi Mahi, ample bacon, and an herb mayo. I had to smash it down in order to take a bite out of it. I will be eating another one of these when we head back to the beach in August because it was, in the words of Will Ferrell, scrumtrulescent.

In addition to great food, Blue Moon also had Fat Tire beer on tap. This was a wonderful surprise because before March of 2009, Fat Tire wasn't available anywhere on the East Coast. Even now, it's only in North Carolina. If you have never tasted Fat Tire before, then let me inform you that it is freakin' delicious. I'm certain that angels' sweat is included at some point during the brewing process.

Saturday Lunch:
Pigman's Bar-B-Que
No stay in the OBX is complete without a visit to Pigman's. We had the traditional lunch of Pork BBQ Combo Boats (pulled pork sandwich, fries, cole slaw, and hush puppies). Their BBQ is the North Carolina vinegar-style, so don't expect any sissy tomato-based sauce.
It's like a present waiting under a Christmas Tree.

I managed to pause long enough to snap a picture of the actual sandwich.

Saturday Dinner:
Kelly's Restaurant and Tavern
Since Kelly's will be the caterer at the wedding, we figured we would check them out. Briana ate the Fettuccine Alfredo with crabmeat and Matt ate the Tuna something-or-other (it was the day's special). The fettuccine was creamy, not too oily, and had some pretty sizable chunks of crabmeat. Since Fettuccine Alfredo is just macaroni and cheese for adults (according to Mitch Hedberg, anyway), it usually falls into one of two categories: awful and good. This was good.

The tuna was tasted fine, but it wasn't anything special and was a bit undercooked. I still liked it, but I've had better. Tom, the innkeeper at First Colony, says Kelly's catering is better than the food at the restaurant. We'll see if he's correct very soon... [Editor's Note: We forgot to take a picture until Matt had already eaten his tuna.]

Sunday Lunch:
New York Pizza Pub
Despite all those vacations to the Outer Banks, I couldn't remember eating at this place, so Briana and I checked it out. They had, of course, lots of pizza options, some pastas, and a bunch of sandwiches. We opted for the paninis; the Classic Italiano for Briana and the Pollo Mediterranean for Matt. Both paninis were excellent and the fries were good, too. I'd like to try their pizza on the next visit. Oh, and they had Fat Tire. It was bottled, which wasn't as good as on tap, but still like liquid sunshine.

Mmm... Fat Tire.

Sunday Dinner: La Fogata
We needed a cheap dinner on Sunday, so we hit up La Fogata, the local Mexican restaurant. It was what we expected: good Mexican food at a decent price. If you want Mexican while you're at the OBX, then this is the place. I honestly can't remember what we ordered and the picture is of little help. Not that it really matters because Mexican food is all the same: tortilla, cheese, meat, and vegetables. [Editor's Note: That's a Jim Gaffigan joke.]

Tortilla, cheese, meat, and vegetables. Yup.

Matt's final thoughts:
  1. Eat at the Blue Moon Beach Grill
  2. Fat Tire beer = incredible.
  3. Patronize the local food establishments! If you eat at Outback or Applebee's while at the OBX, then you're a moron.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Invitation Saga

Since the invitations have finally been sent, I figure it's time to tell the story behind them. The story starts like this: Briana and I found the perfect invitations, but they were going to cost $600. We--trying to stay within budget and sticking to the DIY theme of our wedding--decided we could make them ourselves. And so we did. Even with the assistance of Penny, Tamisha, and Brianne (our intrepid helpers), the invites took a ridiculous amount of time to finish. The following is a photo essay of the process.

DAY 1- Creating the sandal invitations.
1. Matt gets frustrated easily. Especially when trying to format text on sandal-shaped invitations.

2. Every invitation was handcrafted by our expert craftsmen. Matt's thumb still has nerve damage from the scissors. This is what the invitations looked like before the trimming process.

3. Brianne expertly folds the invitation prior to cutting.

4. Tamisha adheres the sandal strap using glue dots. (Side note: Glue dots are awesome!)

5. Penny manages to wound herself while cutting the ribbon for the sandal straps.

4. Everyone working at her respective post.

5. Brianne and Tamisha work diligently. Matt eats chips and queso dip.

6. The mess.

7. A stack of lovely invitations.

DAY 2-- Creating the FAQ sheet and RSVP cards.
1. The happy couple makes important decisions about the wording of the RSVP cards.

2. Matt gets frustrated because the FAQ page printed on two pages instead of one, thus wasting 40 sheets of paper.

3. Briana expertly stamps the backs of the RSVP cards.

4. Briana shows off her handiwork. Kona looks outside for squirrels.

5. Matt attaches address labels. (Side note: He was forced to do this job because the invitations he made looked terrible and had to be thrown away.)

6. Briana tests out her skills as an aeronautical engineer. (Side note: I witnessed the test flights and I wouldn't recommend flying in any planes that she designs.)

7. The dining room table serving as a drying area. (Side note: Make sure any ink is DRY before stacking RSVP cards. We learned this one the hard way.)

8. Done!

If you want to test your relationship before your marriage, then I recommend making your own wedding invitations. Not killing each other during the process is a sign that you were meant to be together.

We're really happy with the way our invitations turned out and saved a ton of money by doing it ourselves. I'll have to check the receipts for the total, but stayed under $200 for sure. And, of course, we couldn't have done it without the help of Penny, Tamisha, and Brianne. Thank you!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Ben Franklin Incident

In case you haven’t heard the story yet, the authors of this blog—your favorite soon-to-be-married couple—almost met a tragic demise in Ben Franklin last Sunday. While I’ve done a lot of stupid, dangerous, and potentially life-threatening things over the years, I never thought that an arts and crafts store would be the scene of my near-death.

As we were perusing the wall of ribbon at Ben Franklin, there was a tremendous crash from the front of the store—about 20 feet to our right. At first I thought some shelves had collapsed, but then I heard the sound of a car horn croaking for life. It was then that I realized what had happened: someone had driven their car into the front of the building. Needless to say, Briana and I ran out to investigate and/or help. When we got out of the store, we saw this:

Well, when we first came out, there was someone helping the elderly driver out of the car, so imagine them in the picture, and then you can properly visualize what we first saw. The driver was disoriented but otherwise okay. Driving through that wall was no easy feat. There is a curb and sidewalk in front of the store and the parking lot attached to store is pretty small. She must have jammed down the accelerator to get enough momentum. Briana and I are lucky that the parking lot wasn’t any bigger; otherwise, she might have gone further into the store and smashed us.

The picture to the left is the scene from inside the store. Notice the employee who was experiencing the most exciting day of any Ben Franklin employee in the history of the store. Briana and I were standing just to the left of this picture against the far wall, which was directly in the car's path.

So, that’s the story. We almost died buying ribbon for our wedding invitations, thus proving that we should have just paid for the pre-made invites. Oh, and speaking of which, check back tomorrow for the full story on the DIY invitations.

Monday, May 18, 2009

My brain hurts

With the completion of the Freedom Fest invites, Briana and I decided we should probably get to work on our wedding invitations (priorities!). She, not surprisingly, loved the most expensive invitations we could find. Here’s how the conversations went:

Briana: These are my favorite.
Matt: Yeah, those are cool, but, uh, I don’t think we have $600 to spend on invitations.
Briana: But these are so perfect.
Matt: I forget, which kidney are you selling to pay for this wedding?
Briana: (angry face)
Matt: You know, we could totally make these ourselves.
Briana: How?
Matt: I don’t know, but I’m sure Tamisha could figure it out. She’s craft and whatnot.

Low and behold, Tamisha was indeed crafty and whatnot. She tossed out some ideas, we got to work, and it has since been a serious pain in my butt. This whole do-it-yourself wedding invitation thing is going to save a ton of money, and I’m sure I’ll have a warm, fuzzy feeling about the end result, but right now it’s making my eye spasm.

Briana and I spent 30 minutes last night scouring the Internet in hopes of finding cardstock with a hibiscus print on it. It couldn’t be just any hibiscus print, though; it had to a very light color so the invitation’s text would still be readable. Keep in mind that Briana was ready to settle on a different print, but I was being stubborn. I eventually had to go with the DIY route, taking this graphic:

And turning it into this:

Why I didn’t think of doing that in the first pace is beyond me.

All the pieces are starting to come together, and I’m beginning to think the invites will turn out really well. Plus, they should cost less than $100. Of course, we still have a long way to go before they’re ready to be sent out; I’m just being optimistic for once.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The End Is Nigh

In a sure sign of the impending apocalypse, Creed has reunited and is recording a new album. Why do I care? Because Creed represents everything that sucks about rock and roll. Specifically:

  • Terrible lyrics
  • Wannabe Eddie Vedder vocals
  • Uninspired and unoriginal song structures
  • An undeserved sense of self-worth (watch ANY of their music videos for Scott Stapp’s Jesus Christ pose)

I think of Creed as the waste product of a giant, music-eating monster that consumed all the elements of 90s hard rock, digested it, and pooped it out. The resulting steaming, musical pile of crap—named Creed—was the undigested remnants of great bands like Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, Tool, and Metallica. It was awful, yet they somehow sold millions of albums.

Creed is a lot like Nickelback (another bunch of no-talent-ass-clowns), in that no one ever admits to actually liking the band. No one, that is, except for the guy I parked next to last summer at a triathlon who was BLASTING Creed from his car’s stereo. I’m sure this moron will be calling Tickmaster the second tickets go on sale for Creed’s upcoming tour where they make tons of money that they don’t deserve.

In short, I hate Creed. Please do not support this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad band. Perhaps only then will they fester away into the obscurity they deserve.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Way Off Topic: The Extinction of the Dinosaurs

An asteroid didn’t kill the dinosaurs? Say it ain’t so! A recent article from The Journal of the Geological Society (Time reports on it here) claims that perhaps an asteroid wasn’t the cause of the mass extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

For those less familiar with the death of the “terrible lizards,” the common theory goes like this: 65 million years ago an asteroid hit the Yucatán peninsula resulting in a massive dust cloud that cooled Earth, thus killing the cold-blooded dinosaurs. There’s lots of proof for this theory, including a telltale 65-million-year-old, 112-mile crater on the Yucatán peninsula. There’s also a layer of iridium in the sediment layer at the 65-million-year depth; iridium is rare on Earth but common in asteroids.

Geoscientists Gerta Keller and Thierry Addate—don’t laugh, they’re Swiss—did some digging around the Yucatán and discovered that just below and above the layer of iridium were the same 52 fossilized species. These findings would indicate that there wasn’t an immediate, massive extinction caused by the asteroid. It was only after they looked at sediment 30 feet above that they found species disappear. According to Keller and Addate, that 30-foot layer of sediment would have taken 300,000 years to accumulate.

The research by Keller and Addate is controversial because it contradicts the findings of other digs from around the world. According to the article, theirs is the first survey that looks at the sediment record so close to the impact site. They claim that their research is more accurate because it was close to the impact, but, of course, other paleontologists say that its proximity makes it less accurate. Wait, the experts disagree? Shocking.

So what does this mean for amateur dino-nerds like me? Unfortunately, not much. Until there is further disproof of the asteroid extinction theory, it seems to make the most sense. Although I think Gary Larson figured it out a while back:


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