Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Mike & Steph's Wedding

[Edited post: General cleanup.]

Saturday morning dawned clear and bright. No rain on this wedding, day, Alanis! I quickly donned the Must Uncomfortable Tuxedo Ever (tm) and jumped my ride to the church. Despite my worries, everything went off without a hitch. On our way out and down the aisle, I spotted a number of friends I wasn't even sure would have made it... Louis and Noriko, Eldon, Wade and Katie, and so on. Don't get me wrong, I was happy about everyone that made it, but some of these people I had not visited for months or years.

At the reception, once the bouquet toss, garter toss, and dollar dances got going, the party really picked up, even though were about an hour "ahead" of schedule, as it were. No problem with me, says I! At the announcement that the last three dances were on deck, the floor flooded with people. It was a strange party and went by so fast I was in a constant daze, but in the end it was all good!

Steph's hair was just incredible. You had to see it. And that was all her real hair, too, not some sort of extension. She had plenty for the stylist to utilize. This was the big payoff from Steph believing in me when I told her that women look best with very long hair. I concede that the women who chop their hair short may be enjoying some measure of convenience, but I maintain that it makes them look like they don't care about being beautiful. And if they look that way, what does that say about their husbands? It's not a universal rule, but where it applies, it really applies.

Steph's stepfather, Tom, stood in for her departed father and gave her away at the wedding. I could tell this meant a lot to both of them and I was glad to be a part of that. For Steph, it was the culmination of a lifetime of waiting for her turn to have that happen, and for Tom, who has sons but never had a daughter and for whom Steph was his only stepdaughter as well, it was one of those moments that dads hope they'll be lucky enough to enjoy.

My grandmother showed up wearing a seventy-five-year-old coat, the likes of which you just never see anymore... coupled with the rest of her similarly venerable ensemble, it was like having royalty at the wedding. A photograph just doesn't tell the story. You had to see her in person to understand the full effect. Plus, I'm pretty sure that coat was once a woodland animal of some sort.

Jay and Steve arrived in pimp threads the likes of which I imagine they might wear at the final table of a large televised poker tournament. Complete with ties matching the pocket handkerchief. I'm not sure which surprised me more: seeing them in full slick mode or seeing John wearing clothing that did not include khaki shorts.

Aaron was amazingly diligent about getting wedding greetings on camera from virtually everyone as he circulated about the room with my mini-DV in hand. One of my projects for later this year, once I've grabbed a new home computer which will likely be a Mac, is to combine this with the thousands of photos and the miniDV taken by some of the other attendees into a single wedding DVD to send to everyone who came to the event, with my compliments.

And that's the least I can do, considering how overwhelmingly generous everybody was. Stephanie and I were picking our jaws up off the floor upon opening all our gifts and cards... it was nothing short of amazing. We were stunned and humbled.

In the end, it was the kind of wedding we had hoped to have, with the kind of people we had hoped to share it with. Thank you all for being a part of it.

Monday, January 29, 2007

In the Bonfire's Afterglow

Michael and Stephanie Bahr
wed 01-27-2007

Our deepest thanks to everyone who joined us, including many readers of this blog. More on this later as we rest and recuperate!


Tuesday, January 2, 2007

The Amazing 2007 Fiesta Bowl

[Edited post: Phrasing and syntax.]

Local real-estate mogul Johnny the Lind came up with surprise Fiesta Bowl tickets at the eleventh hour. Little did either of us realize, even as late as the third quarter with Boise State holding an unexpected 28-10 lead over Oklahoma, that we were about to see the end of the best college football game ever. Yes, even better than the Cal-Stanford "The Band Is On The Field" miracle.

I wore my ASU colors and we sat among mostly Boise State faithful, punctuated in odd seats by a maroon-clad Sooner or two. As the second half dragged on, many of the Oklahoma fans gave up and began filing out. But then OU put together a quality drive, narrowed things to 28-17, and the game began to look like a contest.

OU torched their way down the field with under two minutes left to close to within 28-26, pending the two-point conversion. They miss it and that's game. Not once, not twice, not thrice, but FOUR times did the conversion play run, owing to penalties. At long last, they found their open man in the end zone, and Mr. Further Review in the media booth confirmed the play. This game, which had been a laugher one quarter earlier, was tied at 28.

The Broncos were not ones to go quietly into overtime, so they began to charge down the field with a minute on the clock. Unfortunately, an errant Bronco pass fell into the hands of an OU defender, who promptly returned it for a touchdown. The impossible was possible! OU led 35-28! The BSU crowd in our area was utterly deflated, defeat drawing down their blue-and-blaze-painted faces. The Sooners in the crowd began to grow so rowdy that the jumbotron played the public service announcement by Coach Stoops for them to celebrate responsibly and for God's sake don't rush the field, because we don't have enough cops to catch all of you.

But I implored the Mountain Westerners not to give up. I, who had boldly predicted right to their faces that OU would dismantle their weak-sauce WAC pretense of a team, had been won over to the Bronco Way after seeing how hard their boys played and how much they wanted it. I had entered the stadium as a disinterested third party; with ASU falling to Hawaii in a lesser bowl game, I had no dog in the day's hunt. But with less than a minute left in regulation, I stood up to be counted with Cinderella and her Dream. I cheered at top volume with the Outsiders, the Pariahs of the BCS, and they, too, began to believe.

The Broncos saw the clock ticking away, each play more critical than the last. All of a sudden, on a ridiculous hook-and-lateral play with seven seconds to go, Boise State tied the game with a touchdown! The stands burst forth in jubilation. It would be overtime after all. The game was, at that point, officially ridiculous.

Overtime was as strange as the game was incredible. OU scored a touchdown on one snap, striking the fear of God into the hearts of their adversaries with an Adrian Peterson romp that presages great things for that young man's NFL career. It took a fourth-down conversion and a direct halfback snap for Boise State to cling to the game, fingernails to cinder block, as the halfback threw complete for the touchdown to bring BSU to within one.

So, does BSU kick the point and go to overtime #2? If they do, they have to go first and they can't settle for a field goal. If they do, OU might well score again on one snap. After the game, the BSU coach said his guys were at the end of their ropes physically. BSU was perilously close to losing control of the outcome of the game by their own hands. Their coach made a brilliant call and their players believed in it. They were going for two. For the win. Or the loss. Boise State stood up to make their statement: Stop us now or that's it. And as we all know, the Football Gods reward courage and daring with good fortune.

The Statue-of-Liberty play which ensued was so absurd that I couldn't believe it was happening even as it was. As if in slow motion, I disbelieved that they had lined up heavy to the near hash, that the QB was slowrolling the ball on his leg, that he snuck it around the back to his halfback, that he perfectly mimed the forward pass to the right and the entire defense froze, and then that his halfback, Ian Johnson, ran untouched into the end zone. Amidst the insanity that erupted in the wake of his run and BSU's 43-42 victory, Mr. Johnson was emboldened enough to propose to the head cheerleader. As you might imagine, she succumbed to his manly countenance. I guess it beats kneeling with a ring at a chintzy restaurant.

So ended the best college football game there ever was. I can't wait to see the game that actually makes that last sentence obsolete!