September 24th, 2011

Our wedding

On August 27th, Alex oniugnip and I got married!

It was perfect.

We wrote the ceremony together, with some last-minute help from my dad. The structure of the ceremony, as well as some of the content, was inspired by the wedding ceremony of my friends Ginny and Chris, who were kind enough to make theirs available under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license; therefore, ours is now available under the current version of the same license. Remix at will!

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We had a fabulous reception afterward. Some highlights:

  • We left paper and crayons out on the tables at dinner, with the suggestion that people draw us a picture or tell us a story and leave their completed works of art in a designated box before they left. We didn't actually see any of the drawings or stories until a week later, when we received them all in a giant shipment from my parents, along with a ton of gifts and cards! (Thanks, everyone!) The drawings were amazing -- some of them truly take my breath away. We're lucky to have such talented friends. I'm planning to frame some of them, and we'll take pictures to share them with the world.
  • Will brought his adorable, handmade Spazzi dancebot to the wedding, where it made friends with Ryan and Janice. And danced to Daft Punk. And to all the rest of the music. And, loudly and clickily, to my dad giving his father-of-the-bride speech, until Will ran up and turned it off.
  • Paul stereotype441 rickrolled our wedding. Yes. He'd told me in advance that he wanted to perform a "musical tribute" to us, and that since there was no microphone stand, I'd need to hold the mic for him. I was happy to help, and Paul pointed out that holding the mic meant that I'd be right there if I wanted to sing, too. "But I won't know the song," I protested. "Oh," Paul said, "I think you'll recognize it." He wouldn't give me any more details, so I was as surprised as everyone else was when he busted out in "We've been together for a while...". But, of course, I sang along. As if that weren't enough, Paul also performed his version of the Super Mario Bros. theme, with Alex's assistance for the coin sounds. Watching everyone dance to this was one of the highlights of my life so far.
  • People danced the hora to the traditional accompaniment. Being an outsider to Jewish tradition myself, I thought it was kind of amazing and really sort of beautiful how, e.g., Akiva aleffert knew exactly what to do as soon as the music started. And then they lifted us up in chairs! First, a bunch of people lifted me up and carried me around; then they did the same for Alex, and finally, they lifted me up again so we were both up at the same time. It is a surreal experience to have a dozen wild-eyed and possibly drunken people run toward you and lift you up in your chair to the strains of "Rock Lobster", which was the song that our amazing DJ, Rob poodleface, somehow smoothly transitioned into when "Hava Nagila" ended. I put on a brave face, but I'm not gonna lie: I was terrified of falling. I'm pretty sure Alex had his hands in the air most of the time we were up there, but I was clinging to the chair for dear life the whole time. I didn't fall, though!

Throughout the afternoon and evening, our dear friend Brett took more than 500 pictures that are available for your perusal; if you were at the wedding, you're probably represented somewhere in there! Thanks for being a part of it.

My progress appears to be satisfactory!

So, I forgot to write about this back in April when it happened, but I got my annual review letter from the department program department program. It reads:

Your progress appears to be satisfactory. Upon return from your internship, you must proceed towards filing for Ph.D. candidacy and forming a research committee that will guide you towards thesis proposal. You are likely to be offered an AI position in the coming year.

In 2010 and 2009, the letters started with some variation on "We are pleased with your progress," so "Your progress appears to be satisfactory" feels like a bit of a downgrade. On the other hand, last year's letter, as Monica keystricken aptly put it, was more or less, "Congratulations on your accomplishments! We would like to remind you that you are on the brink of disaster," like something out of Portal. Compared to that, this is a step up! I'm working on filing for candidacy and forming my research committee now.

The "brink of disaster" that I was on when I got my spring 2010 letter was that my last chance to pass written quals was approaching, and I hadn't started preparing for oral quals yet. Between spring 2010 and spring 2011, not only did I pass written quals and oral quals, but I also did an internship at GrammaTech and put out my first tech report; made a lot of progress on my project with Amal and gave my first invited talk; and started working on Rust at Mozilla. So I'm pleased with my progress, regardless of whether anyone else is!