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"First off, thank you for Fluxx/Stoner Fluxx -- Absolutely ingenious games. Ingenious in their simplicity. (Simplicity is the key to everything!)" -- Ken B, in a promo card request letter with a SASE.

Thursday, May 27th, 2004
by the Writer's Guild of Wunderland

What's New?

What's Going On? Renée and Alex Get Married!

This weekend the big news was the big wedding! On Friday, preparations were still frantically being done: Izolda, Gina, Janet, and I helped Renee do flowers over at Janet's house. They made corsages, while I made head-wreaths for the flower girls. Izolda showed impressive flower-fu (she insists it was only emerging under emergency circumstances) in the making of the bouquets (a regular one and one to toss) for Renee. We managed to finish up before the evening

The rest of them had to get up very early Saturday to go do bridesmaid-things, but Kristin and I didn't have to get there until around 4:00 when the ceremony started. Unofortunately, for this event, we did not have our photographer, so we had to rely upon the kindness of, well, not strangers, but acquaintances. These photos are all by guest photographer Marcia Litt.

And what a ceremony! It was clear that the whole thing had been planned by a choreographer (that would be Renee). The wedding was a major production, and I mean that in the sense that it really was a lot like a show. There were musical numbers, both instrumental and vocal, dance pieces, juggling, and, of course, monologues in the form of words of wisdom from various people, and the actual vows, rings, kissing, and so forth.

All this took place in Renee and Alex's own house, it being quite a large one, equipped with a lovely ballroom and enough room for over 100 guests. They had bought it from other friends in the (dance) community, who had had it built to their specifications. It's a really nice house. Anyway, I'll try to describe the afternoon, but I'm sure I won't remember everything, and I probably won't get the order right, but here goes:

First the bridesmaids and groomsmen came in carrying these arches of flowers over their heads. They did a stately dance, turning about and changing hands with the arches, until, like magic, they were all arranged to form a little tunnel for everyone to go under. It was really cool. The minister (our friend Dave) then Alex, and his parents, then Renee and her parents as they went up to the front. Kat and Aly Dutton looked beautiful as flower girls, scattering petals before the groom and the bride.

Renee's mom and brother did a piano and cello duet, which was lovely. Her brother did a juggling act as a kind of "parable". It was really cute. Juggling different kinds of fruit representing the husband, the wife, the marriage, and later, potential kids, juggling in different ways, making cute jokes, he described the parallels with marriage. That's when Kristin and I started wishing we had better seats... There was also a song (something by Sondheim) sung by Izolda, as well as another instrumental piece.

We heard several readings from family members and friends, and words of wisdom and encouragement from both sets of parents. And the vows. What great vows. They managed to be loving, sincere, sweet, and entertaining (yes, there were funny bits in the vows!) Hopefully Renee will put up something on her web pages that describes the wedding from their point of view and includes their wonderful words to each other. But not right now. Right now they're on their honeymoon in Paris and Italy.

After the ceremony, there were fancy hors d'oeuvres and drinks, while they cleared out the chairs from the ballroom and took them to the basement for dinner, and took pictures of the bridal party and families in the ballroom. Space was a little tight, since we weren't allowed in the ballroom, and the downstairs was being set up for food, but people spread out there anyhow, and it was fine.

The dinner was delicious, with food for everyone. I won't go into the menu, but there were many vegans on hand, so the options were varied enough for all. With the help of many friends, they had finished up the basement room below the ballroom to use as a dining room. It was tight, but everyone fit! They had the tables named after different types of dances, of course. We were at the Cakewalk table. Cake! Yay!

Speaking of cake, the wedding cake was beautiful. Layer upon towering layer covered with smooth white fondant. Tasteful purple squiggles and steps climbing up the layers were all that decorated it. The figurine at the top was of a dancing couple, and Alex had painted himself. I guess they come unpainted for the creative-minded. The whole ensemble was not only delightful looking, but also delicious.

After the meal, there was, of course, dancing, and people generally chatting about the place. Once the ballroom was opened up again, and people had the run of the entire house, it was a little less crowded. The ballroom filled up for the grand march, which I declared to be "the hokey-pokey of the social dance crowd". It's the one dance that's so easy that no-one has a reasonable excuse not to participate. And it's much less goofy than the hokey-pokey (or the chicken-dance, which thankfully I have never experienced in action - though I do know the tune)

That about sums up the wedding. In the morning there was a brunch over at their house, for those who just couldn't get enough of the event. It was well attended -- a bit less formal. We experienced (again) the strange fascination of the videogame "Dance Dance Revolution", and have determined to get it for ourselves (one of these days). We had some nice chats with Greykell Dutton (that would be the mother of Kat and Aly, the flower girls, for those who don't otherwise know this.) We were impressed with her teenager-fu.

All in all it was an excellent wedding. One of the nicest I've been to. Yes, it was long, but it never felt long. I've been to shorter weddings that really dragged, but this one was entertaining and enjoyable from start to finish. You just couldn't help but grin seeing how happy Renee and Alex were to be making this commitment to each other. We wish them mucho happiness.

Enjoy life! See you at Origins!

the story so far

Thought Residue
I'm here in Amsterdam at the same time as a bunch of Hollywood big-shots, who are here for on-location filming of "Oceans 12" (the sequel to the remake of "Oceans 11"). I haven't actually seen any stars, but I have seen paparazzi types standing around waiting for a glimpse. Anyway, I guess I'll have to see the movie... I hear they filmed a key scene in De Dampkring, one of my favorite coffeeshops!

The lessons of the Dutch Coffeeshop model could be well applied in the states right now -- for cigarette smokers. As Smoking Areas shrink and become increasingly forbidden, tobacco smokers in America will need lounges they can take refuge in, just as cannabis smokers in Holland already have now. (Unless of course, tobacco is simply outlawed, in which case, as we know from the success of the drug war, it will magically be eliminated from every aspect of our lives...)
"Red Alert!" This is what you should say whenever you're playing Binary Homeworlds and you move into a position that would allow you to completely destroy your opponent on the next turn, much like the term "check" in a game of Chess. It's particularly important for more advanced players to announce Red Alerts to newer players (as I learned this week while teaching Shel to play during our visits to Amsterdam's coffeeshops). Optionally, you may also wish to say "Yellow Alert" whenever you have the power to vaporize half of your opponent's home star system.


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