• "Among the general population, a full 80 percent believe that “political correctness is a problem in our country.” Even young people are uncomfortable with it, including 74 percent ages 24 to 29, and 79 percent under age 24. On this particular issue, the woke are in a clear minority across all ages." • "One obvious question is what people mean by “political correctness.” In the extended interviews and focus groups, participants made clear that they were concerned about their day-to-day ability to express themselves: They worry that a lack of familiarity with a topic, or an unthinking word choice, could lead to serious social sanctions for them." • "It is obvious that certain elements on the right mock instances in which political correctness goes awry in order to win the license to spew outright racial hatred. And it is understandable that, in the eyes of some progressives, this makes anybody who dares to criticize political correctness a witting tool of—or a useful idiot for—the right. But that’s not fair to the Americans who feel deeply alienated by woke culture. Indeed, while 80 percent of Americans believe that political correctness has become a problem in the country, even more, 82 percent, believe that hate speech is also a problem." • "The study should also make progressives more self-critical about the way in which speech norms serve as a marker of social distinction. I don’t doubt the sincerity of the affluent and highly educated people who call others out if they use “problematic” terms or perpetrate an act of “cultural appropriation.” But what the vast majority of Americans seem to see—at least according to the research conducted for “Hidden Tribes”—is not so much genuine concern for social justice as the preening display of cultural superiority."
======== THE GOOD ========
• Democrats crushed Republicans in the House races, and won back control
• Democrats will likely pick up 7 new Governor seats (they are now evenly split between parties)
• Florida gave ex-felons the right to vote (this is a much bigger deal than it seems)
• Kendra Horn, a Dem from OK, won her House race (the biggest upset in the entire country)
• Wisconsin Gov (and scumbag) Scott Walker looks like he has lost his re-election (barely)
• The only ballot measure that passed in OK was Marsy's Law (the victims' rights measure)
• Colorado elected the country's first-ever openly gay governor
• Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren both won re-election
• Two Muslim women were elected to Congress (there has never been any until now)
• In exit polls, the Dems beat the GOP in *LITERALLY EVERY* age group under 50
• Dem control of the House means that we will probably FINALLY see Trump's tax returns
========= THE BAD =========
• Drew Edmondson lost to Kevin Stitt in the Oklahoma Governor race, so teachers are still fucked
• Republicans increased their lead in the Senate by 3-4 seats
• Beto O'Rourke lost to Ted Cruz in Texas
• Dems lost two important races in Florida (Governor and Senate)
• Republican cheating by way of gerrymandering is still a huge problem
• Oklahoma politics are still largely dominated by know-nothing douchebag yokels
We knew we wanted our engagement photos to be as unique as the rest of our wedding, so we decided to do them in cosplay! Our plan was to update our two best sets of costumes – Link & Zelda, and Steampunk Ghostbusters – and to have Steph's stepmom take our photos with my camera (since I have a very nice camera, and her stepmom has an eye for photography).
We also wanted to have them taken at the Haunted Castle in Muskogee, the October before our wedding, because the setting had enough of a Renaissance-y and Halloween-y look to fit with our costumes. The owners of the Castle were even nice enough to let us in much earlier than the general public was allowed in, to have the place to ourselves for a while.
We redesigned and upgraded our costumes so they would be up to snuff for the pictures – unfortunately, the process ultimately became a 2+ month slog full of hard work and headaches leading up to our trip to Muskogee. Sadly, it was one of the most frustrating parts of the entire pre-wedding, and we were both burnt out on costuming for a good long while (hence the simple and comfortable Star Trek costumes we wore the following Halloween). Never again will I attempt to work on two sets of costumes simultaneously! Oh well - live and learn.
The pictures came out well enough, and the process of actually taking them was pretty fun for the most part. And there were a couple of bigger upshots: first, I got a LOT of new experience about costume-making techniques that I can utilize and iterate on when I go back to working on more cosplays in the future (albeit prioritizing lower stress levels) – second, and more importantly, we got the photos we needed for Steph to make our Save-the-Dates:
I wanted to try my hand at making an epoxy river table for as my mom's birthday gift this year.
Since there's nothing for scale, the table is about 24" x 12". The top is (almost) completely smooth: the river is a layer of opaque-pigmented epoxy, topped with about 1/2" of translucent blue epoxy to give it a "depth" effect. The sides of the river were cut on a 45-degree angle with a jigsaw, to give a "riverbank" effect. And the whole thing is finished with several coats of polyurethane, for durability.
Hell of a learning curve on this sort of thing, but the next one should go much more smoothly!
About halfway into the overall wedding planning, I had an idea.
At huge theme parks like Universal Studios, while you're waiting in the queues for various rides, they'll play either movie scores or generic "epic" orchestrated music as an effective but understated way of getting you pumped up for the ride you're about to be on. So since our wedding broke convention in all sorts of other ways anyway, why not try the same thing for our wedding guests as they wait for the wedding to start?
Steph liked the idea, which ultimately resulted in the following playlist playing in a loop from the time people first started arriving at Myriad Gardens up until the very start of the wedding procession itself:
Our original plan was to have my dad be our wedding DJ, as he was (A) super enthusiastic for the idea, (B) experienced at DJing from his time in college, and (C) free of charge. We ended up having to abandon this plan, because we didn't want him stuck at a laptop for the entire reception, and the layout of the reception building would have made running a cable from the laptop to the PA system extremely difficult. So we went with a playlist we created that we could simply hit the Play button on. That said, my dad still got the job of introducing us into the reception area.
• The song we walked into the reception with: Imagine Dragons – Radioactive
We decided pretty early on that the music for the wedding reception would be (roughly):
• 25% Classic Rock
• 25% 90's Alt
• 25% Chris's picks
• 25% Steph's picks
We first selected about 250 songs, and then (with great effort and anguish) narrowed it down to about 75. We then split our playlist into "before we get to the reception" and "after we get to the reception" (the latter list starting with Radioactive and ending with Closing Time). Finally, I arranged the playlist into an order that kept the balance of all four of our "genres" fairly even.
Here is our ENTIRE reception playlist (click any image to enlarge):
(You'll notice that our playlist is completely devoid of the Chicken Dance, the Cha Cha Slide, YMCA, and the Cupid Shuffle. YOU'RE WELCOME. )
We knew pretty much right off the bat that we wanted our overall wedding to be an even split between "classy" and "nerdy". So we designed our wedding invitations ourselves. Since she and I are both huge fans of the Legend of Zelda series, it was the most dominant of the 'nerdy' aspects of our wedding – and the theme we chose for the invitations. (For those unaware, our invitations are based on the pixel-art treasure chests from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past for the Super Nintendo.)
These invitations, along with our Save-the-Dates, would be our first hints to our guests that our wedding would not be your normal, bland affair: