Things I forgot to mention last time: On Wed Feb 24, the second AMC was as obnoxious as the first, and official HMIT results are posted online, with us in third place. Reports are that the scoring program used by HMIT is so complicated they screwed it up, and possibly had for the past several years as well. Also, before going to TR for Valentine's Day, I staffed the quiz bowl state championship. BCA ran the table until the final against St. Joseph. Leading late, they wound up losing 335-280.
And now, the new stuff:
I procrastinate. I haven't really gotten out of that habit, well, ever. So the CD that I ordered Jen for her birthday off Amazon (after no store had it) had not yet arrived when it got to be her birthday. Not wanting to show up without a tangible gift, and in return for her having burned me some Rilo Kiley CDs a short time earlier, I spent the Friday night before driving down making an Old 97's collection for her.
I immediately decided I wouldn't limit myself to one disc. My ground rules were that the first disc would be standard stuff; the second would have their live CD plus Rhett Miller's solo songs. I generally preserved catalogue order, with the exception of putting "Nite Club" first, since its opening lyric provided the title of the mix ("Eighteen hundred miles from this old nite club / A girl is turning 22 today"), and putting "Terrible Vision" at the end of the second disc, since it's probably my favorite Miller solo song, and provided the title of Disc Two ("You got terrible vision if you don't see / That I'm in love with you and how that means everything"). If I'm going to title Disc Two, then I need to title Disc One. Unfortunately, a vast majority of Old 97's songs are not especially uplifting. Eventually, I decided on parallelism in titling, using "Indefinitely" as the basic ("There's a fragile girl inside of you and I'm gonna set her free"). Of course, after I burned the disc, there were songs that I realized "How did I not put that there? Dammit!"
Visiting Jen that weekend was fun. We met up with two of her girl friends (Christina and Ally, the latter of whom I hadn't met before) and went to Cheesecake Factory. On Sunday, Jen's mother took us and Jen's brother Marc out to Chili's, and then I watched the US-Canada hockey gold medal game. When the US tied it with under 30 seconds left, I shouted "YES!" so loud that from the basement Marc yelled at me for disturbing his dog. Sadly, of course, Canada won it on overtime, but what a hell of a game. Also during that weekend, the AAST Math Team went to Stanford, though they lost a day of sight-seeing because the snow pushed their flight out from Friday to Saturday, and won out there. There was no question on this win.
The following week was pretty dull, though there was one encounter with a student who was looking for a teacher in regards to a rec letter. The next time I saw that teacher, he said "Tell her I'll have it tomorrow morning." Five minutes later, I see the girl again. "He promised me months ago he'd have it yesterday. And it needs to be in the mail today." That Saturday, however, was the math team's first trip to the Lehigh Math Competition.
Lehigh Valley is the defending ARML champions, and this contest is the first round of weed-out for selecting that team. Since it's not too far, Mr. Holbrook contacted them about us coming. The final arrangement wound up being that we would bring three busloads of students (roughly 70, constituting 1/4 of the total field), but we would contribute $500 towards the prize pool (CASH PRIZES for the top scorers!) and only be eligible to win one of the team plaques. This is good, as we would have won all five team plaques (overall and one for each grade). Michael, sitting next to me during the awards, reacted to that announcement (that we'd shown up and stolen the contest's metaphorical lunch money) by saying "Oh god, we're never coming here again." We borrowed a USAMO winner from last year who attends NV/OT, and he won first place. There is noise about putting him on our ARML team, but I am wary of that idea. Back in 1998-99, I was expressly told by the Bergen County team that they had first dibs; it is undoubtedly the same with this student.
The real fun was before the awards ceremony, with an unofficial team round. The premise was that you form teams of 15, and you get problems five at a time. When you hand in a set of problems, you get a cone party hat for one of your team members; the first team with 15 hats on heads wins. Since I was done with my part of the grading, I went back to the lecture hall, however students and non-students couldn't be on a team, so Michael and I joined up with two random parents. Eventually, the Pigeonhole Principle dictated that we had to wear multiple hats. I'm still wondering when those pictures will show up on the internet.
The following weekend was great fun, as my high school classmate Eileen got married! There was a long email sent out by Betty informing us of the carpool arrangements, from morning set-up to end-of-night drop-off at the hotel we were staying at. Then Eileen called me a few nights before to say that I wasn't needed at set-up (and neither was Tamsin, who I was supposed to be driving). So Jen and I got ready at home, picked up Tamsin, and went to Tracy's house, where we met up with Dave. By this time, the rain had started in earnest, leaving us rushing out the door to the cars. I had to pick Jess and Brent up, as some of the last-minute back-and-forth left her at home, and her mom at the church.
The ceremony was wonderful, with a funny officiant. "Marriage is final. There is no divorce in the Christian church. So, right now, your last chance. You can change your mind right now, we'll all go home, no hard feelings. Are you sure?" Yes, I'm sure. "Certain?" Yes. "100%?" I've already had a paper published with my [new] last name! "OK. [turns to Greg] Are you sure?" There was also an interesting sermon, regarding spousal "service" that Jess couldn't help but crack up at.
After photo posing that may have taken longer than the ceremony itself, we got in the carpool to go to the reception (Jess commended Jen on training me to go through the rain to get the car myself and pick them up at the door; Jen said I came pre-trained in that respect). After first driving past the hotel where we were to drop off my car, we doubled back. Jess, Brent, and Tamsin got in Pat's car, while Jen and I were to wait for Kent. Someone warned that Kent would almost surely get lost. He didn't quite get lost, but in fact mis-read the plan and went right to the reception. Tamsin said later, "I got here, and Kent was already drinking and I thought 'Oh fuck.' " It took ten more minutes of unanswered calls before I was able to determine as much, but whatever.
We got to the reception just as cocktail hour was ending, and after going upstairs and entering the main room, I hear "Mr. Pinyan, what are you doing here?" It was Mike, one of the students on the AAST Math Team. "Oh, you must've been one of Eileen's teachers!" Oh, teenagers. You have no sense of relative age. It turns out Mike is one of Eileen's cousins. Jen and I wind up being at the table next to everyone else from our group of friends, so we sit on the end nearest that table, and Jess and Brent sit next to us at that table (Jess tells me later that Jen has received Brent's seal of approval).
Introduction, Chinese line dance, speeches, soup, salad, etc. go by. Then just as dinner is about to come out, the lights dim. Then they go out. They stay out. Blackout. The tiny candles on each table provide the only light left, and are quickly doubled. The bouquet toss happens anyway, with some six-year-old catching the bouquet and Kent catching the garter. Eventually, the newlyweds wanted to depart to rest up for their trip to Hawaii. As the last pictures were being taken, the lights come back on! After more than two hours of being off.
I am told that I am responsible for carrying the vase with several of the table bouquets, with Tracy informing me, "There are four of them, so if you screw this up you will have four slightly drunk girls pissed off at you." Jen had volunteered to not drink so she could drive my car back to the hotel. Jess and Brent and Jen and I get the couples room, while the other six are all together in the singles room. Before we went to bed, we all got caught up on each others' lives and told stories. Dave took a ton of photos, but also some stories about his stealth mission to make sure the newlyweds were, uh, prepared, as well as share the entire list of Everything That Went Wrong, up to and including Greg's car completely dying within sight of the church in the torrential downpour two hours before the wedding.
The next morning, I drive Jess and Brent home through the wreckage of the previous night's storm, though it takes some maneuvering when 208, Maple Ave, Godwin Ave, Glen Ave, and Wyckoff Ave (in Waldwick) all are closed at various points due to trees down. I tried to slow down enough for someone to take a picture of a gigantic tree that lay across the road right near Waldwick HS, but a line of cars was behind me, so no one got the shot. Jen and I got back to my place and were still pretty well exhausted (long day + late night + Daylight Saving Time = still tired) so we didn't do much except watch Disc 2 of Firefly.