Photo credit to Forrest Herr

Our wedding last November was planned and carried out in such a whirlwind, about five weeks of planning, that comparatively speaking, giving ourselves six months to organize last weekend’s reception felt almost like overkill. But then we remembered that our wedding only hosted 20 people, and this reception was being thrown for almost a hundred, and we felt very thankful that we had given ourselves so much time.

In the end, everything came together perfectly, especially thanks to our parents, and friends Blair & Aurelia, who stayed at the condo with us the day beforehand to help with last-minute decorating decisions and providing transport to boxes upon boxes of said decorations to Tenney Park here in Madison, where we had reserved its beautiful pavilion all the way back last December. Camel siblings Branden & Caitlin provided some excellent wine, which was perfectly paired to the three types of picnic-style sandwiches that we selected from Gaylord Catering.

Christine & I had joked about this for years, half-seriously, about doing the Austin Powers dance (mostly based off of the intro to Austin Powers 3) but about two months ago, entirely in secret, we started choreographing and designing a dance to do at the reception. We decided on our moves solely off of looking up what other people had put on the internet, discarding 80% of what we found as “not suitable for people as old and stiff-jointed as we are” and melding the rest into a silly 1.5 minute dance. We figured the other half of the song could have the rest of our guests join us – and they did!

Without further ado, here we are, dancing up a storm. Remember, despite my ~4 years in show choir(s) more than a decade ago, neither of us have any real dance experience, and definitely not any experience choreographing dances! In the middle of it, you might notice our simple “salsa dance” step in there, as an homage to our year in Panama back in 2017-2018.

Video credit to Jonathan Heise & Forrest Herr

About an hour later (plenty of time for me to lose my voice due to happy, and perhaps-too-much-wine-drinking, excitement) Christine pulled out our second prepared duo act – one of her favorite songs, L-O-V-E by Nat King Cole, except to work with our vocal range, she found an arrangement by Nat’s daughter, Natalie Cole, and gave that to our DJ, Tony Cenite. (Great guy, by the way – he didn’t have a lot of reviews online, but we took a chance on him and we’re glad we did) Here it is below! Sure our voices aren’t in the best singing shape, but it was still a lot of fun.

Video credit to Jonathan Heise and Andre Wehrle

The following morning, we also hosted a tour of the nearby Olbrich Botanical Gardens for about a dozen of our family & friends, followed by a hosted brunch at the Breakwater restaurant, over down by where Lake Monona flows into the Yahara river and continues on its journey to the next lake in the watershed. It was great to see so many people, and with some sadness that there were a few people who we really wanted to attend, that couldn’t make it for pandemic-related reasons, it was almost like we hadn’t needed to spend the past two years in CoViD hibernation. Christine & I have been extremely lucky to not have lost any close relatives to the virus – even her 94 year old grandmother!

It’s…probably not supposed to do that.

The one bad piece of luck for the weekend at least turned out to be slightly amusing. Sunday morning, about 10 minutes before Christine & I were to drive off to Olbrich, I had just been commenting on how well Saturday’s reception had gone to my parents in law. They teased me about saying something like that, and I snorted that I didn’t believe in luck. Moments later, Christine calls from the bathroom “oh no! oh god! what’s going on?!” I rushed in to see water spraying from our beloved washlet, that we bought and installed just days before the pandemic, and pooling on the floor. I rushed to the shutoff valve on the wall and turned it off, but not before at least a couple gallons had made it onto the floor. The downstairs neighbor appeared a few minutes later, politely but seriously concerned that water was pouring out of her ceiling vent fan in her bathroom, right below ours. In the end, it could have been far worse – it looked like the pressure in the washlet’s water tank had caused a bit of the plastic casing to explode off when Christine pressed the ‘wash’ button. I just had to laugh (wryly) at the timing of the explosion just as I said I didn’t believe in luck.

Technical note, ignore if you don’t care about tech stuff: These two videos are using a new open-source, royalty-free codec called AV1 that I’m pretty excited about. They should play back in pretty much every browser, except Apple’s Safari. (Get with the times please, Apple) I encoded a separate, slightly-lower quality version of each video and embedded it in such a way that it should only load the lower-quality file if it detects an iPad, iPhone, or the Safari mac browser. To watch the superior file, use any other browser. Please let me know if you have any feedback or issues.

Update 2024-01-06 – I just realized that the beloved AV1 codec I was crowing about a year and a half ago, wasn’t playing properly in any browser! Why was that? Well, I did a bit of looking into things, and found that when I originally posted the code to “dual-stack” both New-AV1 (for good browsers) and Old-H264 (for Apple browsers), I completely forgot to add the various codec parameters needed for AV1 (at least in this day and age). What I had posted was merely "codecs=av01,mp4a.40.2" but what I needed to post, and if you View Source on this post you’ll see it, was "codecs=av01.0.08M.08,mp4a.40.2" The parts separated by periods/dots are the codec parameters, and the parts separated by commas are the Video stream, and then the Audio stream. After fixing that using ffmpeg to scrape the metadata out of the .mp4 AV1 files and then appending that onto the source link… now glorious AV1 should be playing on your browser by default, provided it’s a browser that supports AV1 and you have the codec installed on your computer. Whew! That is annoying though, to dig through an ffmpeg output to find the 4 mandatory parameters required to make DASH (streaming) AV1 streaming work, when H264 doesn’t need that. Hopefully in the future browsers will detect that automatically; AV1 is still pretty new now.