Monday, October 31, 2005

All Hollow's Eve

I expected my next blog entry to deal with my honeymoon. Instead, I’ve decided to intersperse my tales-from-the-honeymoon series with other “regular” posts, so as to keep things fresh and titillating for my readers. (Aren’t “fresh and titillating” the exact words that always come to your mind when you read my blog???)

And so it is that, inspired my dearest mother’s most recent post, I have decided to examine my thoughts on Halloween. It is a day that, for an incredibly mature adult such as myself, has very little aesthetic appeal. Not once this year, nor in any year of recent memory, has the thought of relishing in Halloween festivities even occurred to me. I’m as likely to skip past the overflowing Halloween displays at my local grocery store as I am the feminine hygiene products. It is adverse to my very nature to even consider pausing to peruse such paraphernalia.

Lest you think this is the adult in me talking, I have no memory of extreme Halloween excitement existing within me as a child. I have vague notions of delighting in my costume year after year, but never did I ecstatically await the end of the month once October rolled around. Never did I foam at the mouth as I anticipated my early evening descent into the city streets, eager to claim my bounteous booty of bubble gum, Blow Pops, and Baby Ruths. And never, even when the said spoils had been seized, did I struggle with eating them in moderation. The only items to tease my tastebuds were candy bars, and even then I was an exclusionist—nougat-dominant bars such as Milky Way and Three Musketeers had no place in my diet, nor did chocolate-only confections (a plain Hershey’s or, heaven forbid, a Special Dark). In all likelihood, 96% of my candy would end up in the garbage sometime around Valentine’s Day.

No, the only Halloween excitement for me was donning a new identity, whether it was the Purple Pie Man or a punk rocker, a classic Mafia man or Dr. Pickanose (a character of my own making, complete with novelty Groucho Marx eyewear), a hermaphroditic devil or a Greek god of beauty (wrapped in a toga made of Rainbow Brite bed sheets). But as I’ve gotten older, the only costumes that sound clever enough to be worth wearing are also not worth the time and/or effort necessary to obtain them. (The only temptation I have had is dressing up as Socrates, because I am a philosophy guy, and having my wife dress up as Play-Doh, because she is a Kindergarten teacher. Because this pairing would not only provide a clever play on words but would also utilize our personal interests, it is the most worthwhile idea had in years. But even still, we haven’t bothered.)

Don’t get me wrong—I’m not anti-Halloween or anything. If I see a kid reveling in the occasion, I’m going to find it cute. I might, every other year or so, go to a haunted house or rent a theoretically scary movie, just because the excuse is there. When I have my own kids, I certainly expect to get caught up in their excitement. And, even now, Halloween affords me the annual tradition of eating hearty beef stew and delectable Parmesan breadsticks at my in-laws’ house. This is a tradition I look forward to and would be sad to miss. But, in and of itself, the holiday seems rather pointless. It may very well be the first holiday I’d give up if one had to be relinquished. Heck, you don’t even get a day off work or school (unless you live in Nevada, where the state’s “birthday” is October 31st). Maybe if I had more of a sweet tooth, I could find the onslaught of candy worthwhile. As it is, I find All Hallow’s Eve fairly hollow.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Introducing Mr. & Mrs. K

What an exciting few weeks it’s been. I’ve gone from living on my own, to living with my parents, to living with my wife (!). In the past eight days alone, I’ve slept in seven different beds. I’ve been on airplanes, buses, ferries, taxis, and choo-choo trains. I’ve checked and claimed (and packed) my baggage almost as many times as I’ve brushed my teeth! And now—finally—I’m simmering down into a newfound sense of “everyday life” that is simultaneously foreign and utterly familiar. It’s splendid and wonderful and not altogether real. Yes, I feel like I went to a wedding recently, but was it really mine? Crazy!

The wedding and the honeymoon went off (almost) without a hitch, except of course for actually getting hitched. It’s funny to think the whole thing is over after months of preparation. No more will wedding plans occupy my thoughts. No more will I readily find excuses for avoiding the stresses of academia. In fact, I’ve already taken a Latin test since my return, and tomorrow I will be tested in Greek. If it weren’t for living in a new apartment, you could probably convince me that the whole wedding was a dream, at least during the daytime hours when my wife is off being the breadwinner.

I hope the honeymoon will provide some interesting reading over the next several posts. I’ll probably make a single post out of each day of the trip. And yes, I’ve got plenty of photos to engage all my loyal ADD readers. But, to whet your appetite, I’ll share some photos from the wedding day itself. To protect my highly-prized anonymity, I won’t be sharing anything terribly interesting, but still.

To begin with, here is a picture of the wedding cake. It turned out even more beautiful than we could have imagined. And I like this photo, which comes courtesy of Amie-J. The lighting gives a very classical feel to it all. Very cool.

Here’s my wife’s bouquet. We asked for a variety of flowers in a variety of purples. We weren’t completely sure what to expect, but it turned out beautifully. Don’t you agree?

And finally, here is where we had our wedding luncheon. The food was great, although the portions were considerably smaller than I expected. Still, no complaints. It served our purposes rather well. We only had about 60 guests, and we all fit snugly into one upstairs room.

There you have it. More photos and stories to come. And I promise they won’t be completely boring, “here is the hotel” type of photos. I’ll try to say something interesting. Until then…

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Bye, Bye Bachelorhood

Unless something goes completely kooky, this will be my last post until after I return from my honeymoon. It’s coming down to the final 36 hours or so, and after a week of non-stop mayhem and stress, I am finally relaxing enough to get re-excited. Almost everything that needs to be done is done, and what hasn’t been done is, at this point, such a lost cause that I’ve given up worrying about it. So I’m finally able to focus on what really matters to me and what really brings me joy—beginning my life with Melanie. It’s a welcome change, as school has been nothing but a frustration yet again. Unfortunately, I’ll be coming back from my honeymoon to two tests with only about a day to prepare for them. I know I’ll be hating it at that point, but, in the meantime, I’m more than happy to have put my academic concerns on hiatus.

Speaking of my honeymoon, I originally promised to give more details about it, which I never did. From time to time, I’ve made brief asides that allude to my honeymoon plans, but I’ve yet to give details ... until now. Despite the delay, I’m quite enthusiastic to share them. If the honeymoon plans are executed with the same finesse and quality of service with which they were setup, it’s going to be an awesome trip. I’ve been nothing but impressed with the companies I’ve dealt with, and, at the risk of jinxing everything, I’ll go ahead and start promoting them now. Should the honeymoon turn out to be a disaster, I’m sure you’ll hear about it soon enough.

Day one: Melanie and I will be staying locally, but luxuriously. We’ll be staying downtown at The Grand America Hotel, arguably the fanciest hotel in Salt Lake City. We’ll be staying in a suite, complete with a private balcony, bathrobes and slippers, and an Italian marble bathroom. Should we be so inclined, room service will be available 24-hours-a-day. There’s also two separate swimming pools, one indoor and one outdoor. The outdoor pool is probably closed for the season, but it exists. Fancy, eh?

Day two: Melanie and I fly to Seattle where, compliments of my father’s hotel club bonus points, we’ll be staying in a downtown hotel for absolutely free!

Day three: Melanie and I catch a ferry to Victoria, Canada. We’ll probably freeze—it’ll be a particularly wet time of the year, even for the Pacific Northwest—but it should be a beautiful trip. And Victoria, according to those who have been there, is absolutely gorgeous. We have to get to the pier first thing in the morning, which won’t be fun. But it’s one of our favorite areas on the continent, and we’re willing to put up with some heavy-duty cuddling to keep warm. We’re newlyweds, after all!

In Victoria, we’ll be staying at the Laurel Point Inn. We’ll be right on the water, in a suite with a (supposedly) spectacular view. Again, we’ll have a private balcony, a marble bathroom, and, in lieu of bathrobes, kimonos. Should we wish to further broaden our cultural experience, there’s also a Japanese garden onsite!

Day four: At our own leisure, Melanie and I catch one of the many daily ferries going from Victoria to Vancouver. Upon arrival in Vancouver, we’ll check in at the Marriott Vancouver Pinnacle Downtown. Given that this will be the most casual hotel of our trip, we’re quite blessed. Yet again, we’re promised a room with a view of the water.

Day five: Our vacation package (purchased through the fine folks at Clipper Vacations) includes tickets to the Vancouver Aquarium. Aside from that, we’ll be living spontaneously. We don’t depart Vancouver until 9pm, when we catch a train back to Seattle. Sadly, the sun will probably have set, obscuring what would otherwise be an awe-inspiring view as we travel back into the States. We’ll get to Seattle fairly late, spending our final night in the hip and contemporary Hotel Ändra. Our suite once again offers complimentary robes, but we’re getting a large, flat-screen television instead of a water view. Given our late arrival time, neither would get much use, so that’s fine by us. The unique decor promises to be charming enough. It’ll be a fun place for the honeymoon to conclude.

As stated, our vacation package was purchased through Clipper Vacations, and it includes not only hotels and the Vancouver Aquarium, but the ferries, train, and several taxis as well. Melanie and I definitely feel we got a good deal, and the customer service representative I spoke with was phenomenal. He asked us where we were staying on nights that weren’t part of the package and freely offered suggestions for getting to and from such places. He also said to call him if a concierge is ever less-than-helpful, or if we simply want dining suggestions, etc. In short, he offered as much information as he could, even when it wasn’t part of what he was selling me. He put me completely at ease, and I appreciate that.

Naturally, I’ll be telling you all about it when I return. And, if all goes well, I should have ample pictures of the hotels, the scenery, and anything else worth noting. I’ll do my best to make you jealous. But until then, it’s on with the wedding. The next time you hear from me, I’ll be a married man. There’ll be a Mrs. K in my life. Our new apartment will give birth to most of my blogs of the future. It will be a new life. Crazy. So until I’m a husband, take care....

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Home Bittersweet Home

Benny K here, coming to you live from my parents’ house. I’m just past the half-week mark of again living with those who begat me. The transition, I am pleased to say, has been relatively smooth. I sleep comfortably, I am well fed, and, despite my initial concerns, my homework responsibilities have been maintained with diligence. The only downside is an unavoidable lack of organization, since most of my stuff is now located in the new apartment though I am living here. While I have only brought along the basics, it is laundry—both clean and dirty—that most readily poses a threat to the limited space consigned to me. Then again, having ready access to a (free!) washer and dryer almost compensates. I’ve done more wash in the last 24 hours than I have done in months. Oh, I probably shouldn’t admit that....

Truth be known, it’s been kind of fun hanging out with everyone. Rather than spending my “lunch breaks” parked in front of a television alone, I can now enjoy the company of those I hold dear. Even if this still results in watching crappy daytime television, at least I have someone at whom I can roll my eyes. It’s kind of nice. When I leave here in just over a week, I’m sure I’ll be sad to lose that. I’m sure I’ll feel the loss of being a witness to my family’s life, rather than someone who just gets the biweekly recaps and abridged best-of’s. And I’m hoping, just hoping, that perhaps my presence is a positive one for them as well, for whatever it may be worth.

Well, the move from my old apartment to the new apartment went lickety-split thanks to the many recruited volunteers. My brother, his wife, their son, and their son’s friend lent eight wonderfully helping hands, as did Melanie’s mother and father (well, they only lent four, but I’m sure they’d have lent all eight if they were born mutants). Due to the overwhelming abundance of help, it seemed my old apartment was empty before I had much cognizance of what had happened. I guess you couldn’t ask for it to go much better than that. Now that the new place is chock full of familiar items, I can see just how easily it will feel like home. I’m very excited about this, and I’m glad Melanie and I have made the “goofy” decision to leave the premises (biologically) vacant until we return from our honeymoon an official married couple. We don’t want it to feel like either one of us is just moving in with the other. We want it to feel like our home from the get-go. So far, so good.

I guess that’s it for now. My birthday, as humble as it may have been compared to many years past, was one of the best ever. Melanie and I got some chores done (I’ve been fitted for a tux, so all we have left to do is get a sign-in book for the luncheon), and then we went to dinner and a movie, as I so amazingly predicted in my last post. There weren’t many movies to pique my interest, and I didn’t want a heavy drama on my day of celebration, so we went for the romantic comedy Just Like Heaven. It lacked development and thus was ho-hum until the last few minutes, which were finally somewhat entertaining. Mark Ruffalo, despite the thinness of his character, pulled out some charm, so that made it watchable. After the movie, we celebrated the rarity of going to dinner by partaking of Tony Roma’s all-you-can-eat ribfest. Gluttony ensued, at least on my part. Sadly I missed out on what could have been the neatest experience of the night—Gary Coleman was dining at the table directly next to ours. I actually heard his voice and thought it sounded familiar, but I dismissed it and never noticed who it was. When his party dismissed, the waitress was excited to ask us if we noticed whom we were sitting by. When we said no, she excitedly gave us the whole spiel, which of course didn't amount to much, except that, apparently, Mr. Coleman lives in Utah.


Friday, October 07, 2005


Being the weirdo I am, I take note of such insignificant matters as what letters have or have not been used as the first letter in the title of one of my posts. After today, the only letters I won’t have used as a first letter are U, V, and Z. Those will have to come, but for today, I finally found a way to start with the letter X, and that is by celebrating my 27th birthday, Roman style.

Originally, I didn’t think I would announce my birthday on here. You know, protect my anonymity and discourage identity theft by keeping myself as enigmatic as possible. Now anyone who reads this will know right away that my birthday is October 7, 1978. But what’s the sense in living in paranoia? Anyone who would make the effort to find out more information on me, thus making my birth date even slightly useful, could probably have done so without the assistance of my blog. I’ll save my regret for the day I end up like one of those people in the Citibank commercials. Until then, I'll enjoy sharing my day with my cyberfriends.

So what’s on the agenda for my “big day”? Sadly, it’s much more chore-oriented than I would like. But I guess that’s okay. It’s started off well enough. My fiancée bought me some Krispy Kreme to be sweet. I’ve already eaten the original glazed, but I still have left a raspberry Bismarck (does this really have to be capitalized? My word processor seems to think so) and a cinnamon apple filled (which is probably my favorite of the Krispy Kreme clan). And we’ll probably go out to dinner and a movie tonight, which, after a month of frugality, will seem very special. Other than that, I need to do some shopping, get fitted for a tuxedo, and probably move more of my stuff. I have until tomorrow night to be completely out of here, but there’s still more left than I would like at this point. Oh well.

But to give my readers a bit more substance, aren’t birthdays a funny thing once you’re out of high school? It is at this point that age becomes ambiguous. Once you can’t fall back on what grade you’re in to give you an automatic chronological framework for your life, it’s hard to remember how old you are. You honestly have to stop and think about it for a minute. In college (and in the work field), your peers are all different ages, so there’s nothing to go on. In fact, being 27, I sometimes remember that, for all I know, my fellow students think of me as “the older guy.” Not because 27 is all that old, but because I have a receding hairline and a beard and, ever since my early 20’s, some people have honestly assumed I’m in my early 30’s. So it’s weird to think I’m chatting it up with these 20-year-olds that I think of as being the same age as I am, and maybe they’re thinking they’re talking to the “middle-aged” guy in class or something. Then again, there are students I have assumed are younger than me that have ended up being older. So I probably shouldn’t assume so much of myself, even if negatively so.

Okay, that’s my attempt at deep thinking for this week. Give me a break, it’s my birthday. And it's early, and I'm tired, because I got up early. So I'm very rambly. Deal with it. Maybe in my next post, I’ll discuss my social security number.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Potpourri No. 7

  • To those who donate incredibly generous bags of groceries to hungry friends, know that you are incredibly appreciated and loved. Thank you for your overwhelming kindness.
  • I’m down to the last few nights in my apartment. While the summers can be quite miserable here, overall I have been quite happy to call this place home. Many developments have taken place while I’ve lived inside these walls, and I’ve learned much about myself and my dreams and goals in life. I will be sad to leave the general downtown area, and I will miss the quick and easy accessibility to campus. It is with mixed emotions that I will leave (though when I’m doing the final cleaning, sadness will probably be the primary emotion). It will certainly be an interesting experiment to live at home again for the two weeks prior to my wedding. Has anyone seen the Albert Brooks film, Mother? Not that one has to do with the other, of course…. (It is a good film, though, so feel free to check it out.)
  • Speaking of film, someone has edited a new trailer (i.e., movie preview) for Stanley Kubrick’s classic 1980 horror flick, The Shining. This is an absolute must-see for anyone familiar with the film. The end result, comprised entirely from clips of the original, is a Shining fit for the whole family—a lighthearted family drama with plenty of comedic moments. I have seen this alternative approach trailer in a few places around the Web, but in the interest of promoting the blog of a personal friend, I will give kudos to Marginalia. However, to save you the effort of clicking a mouse button more than once, you can simply click here to download the file. It’ll take a few minutes, but I command you to do it.
  • I’m starting to get a sore throat. I haven’t been sick in a long time, it seems, and I’m not really all that interested in doing it now. Bummerrama, as I so often say in “real” life.
  • I have been reading a handful of new (to me, anyway) blogs lately. I usually test them out for a little while before I’ll slap ‘em onto my sidebar, but keep your eyes peeled. There may be two or three new links soon.