The obligatory self-portrait at sunset. Soon thereafter, a nice British couple came over and we took photographs for each other. I hadn’t been in the water much that day, so I jumped in for a while after the sun disappeared from the horizon. I heard that the water there stays at a constant 78 or 79 degrees year-round.
Archive for the 'photography' category
Annie and I were married at 11am on Saturday, October 21, 2006 at the Historic Chapel of St. Rose of Lima Parish in Gaithersburg, Md. The weather was perfect: bright, clear, and brisk. My grandparents, the groomsmen, and I greeted guests until about 10 minutes till. Then, Msgr. Paul, my best man Ray, and I assembled in the rectory while my nerves went haywire. Msgr. Paul then took our hands and said a prayer. Before I knew it, we were walking around the altar; Ray and I took our places.
After a couple of gathering songs that I wasn’t really paying attention to, the organ then belted out Wagner’s wedding march, and the bridesmaids and groomsmen started walking down the aisle. As Annie stood at the doorway of the chapel, the sunlight hit her white dress and temporarily made her glow. I will never forget her smile as she walked arm and arm with her father. He escorted my bride to the sanctuary steps and lifted her veil. We took our seats and tried not to reveal our nervous enthusiasm. When the actual marriage sacrament began, we both became more relaxed. Msgr. Paul helped, too, with his whispered comments to us like: “I’m gonna take care of you both..” and “Don’t worry about a thing…”
During the nuptial blessing, I remember thinking, “Gee, they’re making all this fuss just for us. Everyone is here for us. We were blessed to have not only St. Rose’s pastor, Paul Dudziak, but their finest cantor, Alice Henning and their former director of music, Nancy Novelly. The former has a beautiful, effortless soprano; the latter is a virtuoso at the piano and organ. Their presence really helped; it was much better than having “just anyone” in those roles.
We walked down the aisle together and were followed by the wedding party. One of my groomsmen had the fortunate experience of escorting not one but two bridesmaids. After a brief rendezvous around a fountain in the church garden, we went back into the church for an extended photo session. What we didn’t know until later was that, while the session was taking place, most of our wedding guests were congregating outside the church, apparently waiting for us to come out and say hello.
Our photographer, J. Stuart Harris, had a way of being commanding and authoritative without being bossy. He was definitely in control (and organized) and squeezed some fine pictures out of us in record time. All the while, our faithful videographer, Dean Dykema, documented everything while preserving our spontaneity. When the church photo session was over, we headed outdoors to take advantage of the fall colors (see second photo).
After the outdoor session, we all drove over to my parents’, who were hosting a luncheon for a few dozen guests. We made our appearance, grabbed a few roast beef stuffed tortilla wraps, and then headed back to the townhouse to prepare for the Thai wedding ceremony and reception, held at New Fortune restaurant in Gaithersburg. We arrived there a few hours early to set up the tables and the Phakhuane tree for the Phiti Bai Sri Su Kwan (Holy Threads) ceremony (see third photo).
The ceremony is just a small part of a traditional Thai wedding. Another part would have been a parade from the groom’s house to the bride’s house. That would have meant a seven mile walk up Georgia Avenue in traffic. Oh, and I would have had to yodel a lot. That would have not been good.
Annie and I came up with this text for a postcard we sent out with the invitations:
The Phakhuane (pron. PA-kwon) is a conical-shaped floral arrangement that is the central focus of the Bai Sri Su Kwan ceremony. It is traditionally prepared by respected elders who have had long and happy marriages. At the base of the Phakhuane is food that represents fertility, such as rice, eggs, fruit, et cetera. Flowers are placed throughout the Phakhuane as decoration; in between them are the Holy Threads. At the very top sits a burning candle.
When everyone is seated, we bow down to our parents. This is a time to reflect upon the good and the bad, the past, present, and future. We bow down to thank them for everything they’ve done for us and to ask for their forgiveness for any wrongdoing that we’ve done. It’s also a time for our parents to give us their blessing. The wedding officiator will take the holy threads and place them between our hands as we pray. We will be seated on the floor in front of the Phakhuane opposite from the officiator and surrounded by friends and family.
We will all sit in a prayer position during the ceremony while the officiator chants his blessings and advice for us. He will then ask everyone to call to the spirits (or kwan) to come. Since weddings are big transitions, this is traditionally done to ask the kwan of the bride and groom to come together. Afterward, the guests take the holy threads from the Phakhuane and tie them around our wrists. This is a chance for the guests to give us their blessings and advice for a happy marriage. Please join us to “Thai the Knot!”
The ceremony lasted about an hour; it seemed that nearly everyone in attendance knelt down with us and tied holy threads around our wrists. We were pleasantly surprised at the turnout. Following the ceremony was dinner and dancing. We didn’t get to eat but a few bites of food, as we went around to all the tables for photographs. The food looked really good, though. We were too wound up to notice that we were hungry.
Barry Lyons was our master of ceremonies and DJ for the evening. He can be considered a “freelance” DJ, as he has a fine day job as well. Barry was a must-have for the reception — in fact, we changed our wedding date to accommodate Barry’s schedule! It was well worth it. He gets a lot of gigs through word of mouth, and for good reason. He can get a dance floor jumping and is a master at getting the crowds to participate. Even with the language barrier with some of Annie’s guests, he got them to do strange, American traditions like the Hokey-Pokey, the Chicken Dance, and the YMCA.
Annie and I were seriously on autopilot by then, and smiled at anything that remotely looked like a camera. We danced for hours and the crowd started thinning out at around 11:30 or so.
After the wedding rehearsal — which was actually more nerve-wracking for me than the wedding itself — we made our way over to the Golden Bull Grand Cafe in Gaithersburg. Many thanks go to my parents, who paid for the occasion.
Meet my new baby nephew, Tyler Jordan Kinzy. He was born on Friday, Sept 1st at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air, Maryland. I went to see him on Saturday and got to hold him. Luckily he was sleeping and not displaying his waaing ability at the time.
Congratulations to Nancy and Brad, Annie’s sister and brother-in-law.
I saw David Bazan (of Pedro the Lion fame) last night at the Black Cat in DC. His solitary voice was accompanied by only his acoustic guitar, and his playing was competent, save for the handful of requests that he granted on the spur of the moment. He managed to play all five songs from his recent EP, Fewer Moving Parts, albeit spread out over the course of his 70 minute set.
He puzzlingly described the new song “Fewer Broken Pieces” as his saddest song ever. I had been listening to it for for a few days, but didn’t regard it as especially sad. Sometimes, you need someone to sing it to you live for it to set in properly. The lyrics are personal and describe the breakup of Pedro the Lion. Bazan appears to be writing from the deepest part of his heart on this one — there’s no pretense. From that perspective, it is the saddest song he’s written. His stories of infidelity, murder, suicide, and depression are sad in their own ways, but only to the extent that the listener draw parallels between the songs and his own memories. “Fewer Broken Pieces” doesn’t ask much of the listener, but it demands much from Bazan.
Opening first for Bazan was Anousheh Khalili, a young woman who has recently gained some notoriety as the voice on a couple of Deep Dish tracks, “Flashdance” and “Say Hello”. Khalili’s voice begged comparison with Neko Case at first, but it had a sly swagger not unlike that of Fiona Apple.
Following Khalili was Andy Zipf. He, like Bazan, had no band and accompanied himself on an acoustic guitar. His voice sounded at times like Cinjun Tate of Remy Zero, and at other times like Greg Gilbert of the Delays. Toward the end of his set, he did an offbeat cover of “Goodbye, Yellowbrick Road”. I could tell he was struggling a bit with the chord changes; I never really realized what a complex song it was.
Yes, I know this is a few weeks late, but better late than never. Here are a few of pictures from Miko and Garin’s engagement party (28 May 2006). Funny, I couldn’t even find a single decent picture of both Miko and Garin.
Annie just recently brought some bettas back to the townhouse. She’s in charge of taking care of them, cleaning their bowls, etc. However, I’ve been assigned the task of naming the little rascals (there’s eight of them): BlueBoo (a.k.a. “MSIE”), OpenOffice 2.0.1 (a.k.a. “Opie”), Mozilla, Firefox, Linus “Linux” Torvalds, Wikipedia, Launchy 4.2.0 (pictured), and Zippy (a.k.a “.tgz”).
I went to see the Undertow Orchestra last night at the Iota Club and Cafe in Arlington VA. The “Orchestra” is an amalgamation of David Bazan of Pedro the Lion, Will Johnson of Centro-matic, Mark Eitzel of American Music Club, and the ever-enigmatic Vic Chesnutt. You could call them a mope-rock supergroup of sorts.
Iota is a small venue — I’d say not room for more than 100 to 150 in the main room. I saw Bazan before the show — he was mulling about, setting up, procuring drinks, etc. I smiled at him and got his attention. We ended up talking for a few minutes — mostly about his music (what else?). He was very forthcoming in his answers and sounded natural —very grounded. He confirmed my suspicions about the demise of Pedro the Lion but assured me that it was a death in name only. While Bazan will not be recording under that name, I wouldn’t consider the band’s breakup a great loss. The heart and soul of Pedro has always been Bazan — in fact his revolving cast of touring and session musicians can rightly be deemed Bazan’s band. Meaning no disrespect to said members, Bazan is Pedro the Lion. The others are simply his messengers. He may in fact employ a drummer and/or basist when he records his first proper solo album and tours. Nothing — save for the name — will have changed.
Singer/songwriter Jesse Harris opened for the band, and did a short seven or eight song set which consisted entirely of down-tempo ballads. During the set, I thought that his sound/intonation/lyrics were similar to Norah Jones’ debut album. I guess I didn’t put two and two together, because it turns out that he did indeed co-write Jones’ signature song “Don’t Know Why”, as well as a few others on the album. He even played guitar on about half the album. Bowl me over, why don’t you?!? Not only did he not perform any of the songs he wrote for Jones, but he didn’t even mention anything remotely pertaining to her during the set! The nerve of some people, I swear.
The Undertow Orchestra’s sound was more or less cohesive, considering that their first rehearsal was February 3, a mere eight days prior to the show. Will, David, Mark, and Vic took turns on lead vocals; all told, they did about six songs a piece.
Bazan’s sets consisted of “Bands With Managers”, “Priests and Paramedics”, and “Slow Car Crash”; then “Criticism as Inspiration”, “The Devil is Beating His Wife”, and “I Do”. “The Devil…” was a song from Pedro the Lion’s abandoned 2006 album sessions, originally recorded in demo form in fall 2005. I asked David about the song before the show; he said he liked it and would be incorporating it into his solo project. Hearing it live proved his was serious. It was also refreshing to hear “Slow Car Crash”, a standout synthesizer-infused song from Bazan’s side project, Headphones. It’s one of Bazan’s more “romantic” songs, albeit within the context of impending death.
However, the show ended on a high note of sorts, with Vic Chesnutt and the band singing his “In My Way, Yes”, a strong show closer. One would hope that this song exemplifies Chesnutt. But that’s just the optimist in me.