Here are a few pictures from my brother’s July 5 wedding. They are by the incredible Jingzi, and they are copyrighted to her (except for the photo of my “gift” to them, which I took), so drink ’em in now before I get in troubs and have to take them down.
Here we all are at the first ceremony, the traditional Vietnamese wedding. My sister-in-law is wearing traditional Vietnamese bridal dress (as is the bro, minus the headpiece, which the Vietnamese could not make big enough for his massive noggin). My mother and I both really enjoyed wearing traditional dress (my mother a bit too much, as she had a Mariah-Carey-like costume change at the Western ceremony into traditional dress #2); it was especially funny when I went to check into the downtown Portland Embassy Suites wearing this getup and got a lot of stares from the visiting Nebraskan cheeseballs. “You look like a mail-order bride,” said Waldemar, much to his delight.
Here we are the next day before the Western ceremony (which was also Buddhist and mostly in Vietnamese). I told my mom not to wear those shoes with stockings but she insisted. Notice how beautiful my sister-in-law looks; also, notice how elaborate my hair is (it took about 45 minutes and was the subject of much conversation among the approximately 900 family friends who descended upon me at the blessed event).
One of my duties as a quasi-attendant (Lani’s sisters and I marched out as the processional, along with Lani’s grandmother, parents and my parents; no bridesmaids or groomsmen) was to give a toast that was supposed to be part “roast.” I believe the expression on my sister-in-law’s face here is the incredulity that comes from knowing my brother still owed my mother $500 from a bribe to change her 30-year-dated “helmet head” hairstyle which I knew for a fact he had no intention of making good on, something I decided to bring to the attention of all present.
This caused my brother to bestow upon my mother (note the costume change!) the entire contents of his wallet, which, it turns out, was approx. $380 short of the actual sum he owed her, something Lani’s cousin David made sure to point out to everyone. “Ben has stiffed his own mother on his wedding day.” What you can’t see here is me falling on my ass with laughter off screen.
I have always thought wedding registries were for the unimaginative, so rather than “buy” my brother an emotionless gravy boat, I thought I would make them something from the heart. So I once again attempted to mosaic, once again with dubious results. I would not be surprised if this latest offering of my artistic genius is in the matrimonial garage holding half-empty paint cans:
In other news, yesterday I decided, with some friends here in St Louis, to orchestrate a five-course Raw Food dinner party, wherein we served:
- Marinated berry “caviar” with “blinis” consiting of pumpkin seed “cheese” on cucumber (Nachos Flanders Style to the nth!)
- Cold “NRG” soup, which tasted like spicy gaspacho and looked just like vomit (but everyone ate it anyway like a sport)
- “Burritos” in cabbage leaves
- raw carrot cake
- cashew-butter “gelato” which tasted more like fudge.
The food was for the most part really tasty, but oh my FUCKING CHRIST was it a lot of chopping and blending. It’s amazing what I will do to occupy my time when I don’t have TV and have Internet only a few hours a day (which I guess makes me slightly more tech-savvy than John McCain).
So most of these dispatches take place from Northwest Coffee Roasters, which has a fascinating clientele of harmless mental patients (from a group home down the street), hipsters, older people and me (an amazing combination of all three!). When I am not avoiding my dissertation (a task I have failed at spectacularly this week, as another chapter draft is about to eke its way back across the country) and kvetching about the humidity, I am gathering the requisite documents necessary to obtain an Austrian residence permit (them fuckers do NOT like fer’ners, even the ones they INVITE), making odd raw food concoctions, watching “The Office” on DVD (British version, natch) and attempting to persuade Waldemar to watch the entire corpus of “The Kids in the Hall.” Day after tomorrow I think we’re going to take off for upstate NY, where I will have even fewer Internets than I do now, but where more importantly it is slightly cooler and there is nature to partake in.