Monday, September 21, 2009

Geek Love 2010 - The Finalists!


Couple #1 - Maureen & Ian

When & Where:
January 1, 2010 in Rhinebeck. NY.

A bit about them & their wedding as told by Maureen:
In a sheer moment of insanity, I accepted a job as a manager of a toy store shortly before Christmas 2006. I had just moved back to New York and was recovering from a messy divorce and it was an all around rough couple of months. As luck would have it, my staff was pretty in particular. And as we grew closer, this particular guy asked me out on a date. The prudent thing would have been to say no. In fact, I had no reason to say yes. I was not interested in a relationship. We looked bad on paper. He was 21...I was 30 The list went on and on. But I was feeling lonely and it was New Year's Day, so what harm could a cup of cocoa in a diner possibly cause? Three years to the day of our first date, I am marrying this former employee. I won't relive all the messy details in between but we struggled through a ten year age difference that seemed to bother every one but us, potentially devastating illness, crazy exs, crazy mothers, and other stuff that doesn't even bear mentioning. We fit in a way that I can't describe. Ian teases me that when we met he finally found a Princess Peach worth rescuing from the castle. Oh yeah, have I mentioned yet we are gamer geeks?

In a nutshell, our wedding theme is "formal gaming". What is that you ask? Ian and I have found in this whole process that we like dressing up. Despite my initial protests, I really want to wear a big, lacy, white gown and he wants to wear a tuxedo and top hat and carry a cane. Our venue is a great old railroad hotel and we are envisioning an old school gentlemen club's vibe..cigars and brandy and just hopefully people relaxing and having a good time. Maybe they will play a rousing game of Scrabble or Connect Four.(A nod to a toy store having a large role in how we met.) Or maybe they will play some Rockband. Our cake topper is a custom made Portal tribute and features a bride and groom sitting on top of a companion cube eating the cake that is promised throughout the game. Our boutonnieres are DIY flowers tied together with ribbon and little pins featuring the life hearts from Zelda. The groom's pin reads "Saving the Princess since 1985". And Ian is hard at work in Photoshop working on our invites which will be a video game themed comic flip book. It makes us giggle, which is really all that matters!

Couple #2 - Caiti & Robert

When & Where:
July 10, 2010, in Carmel, IN.

A bit about them & their wedding as told by Caiti:
My fiance and I met as young, gawky 15-year-olds, lost in a giant 3600-student high school, who found refuge in the school's Science Olympiad Club. It wasn't love at first sight! He claims he wanted to ask me out then, but I was clueless, and he didn't end up asking me out until our senior year of college. He'd been trying to get my attention for years at that point- everything from joining the same club at the university, to laughing at all my bad jokes during D&D sessions, to leaving Final Fantasy XI for World of Warcraft. But, I never got the message. By the time he finally took me out, he figured he had nothing to lose by trying! I was planning to leave for grad school that year, and we broke up when I did- and it was probably the worst decision I've ever made. We kept in touch with email and the ever-present World of Warcraft. When grad school didn't work out and I ended up moving back home, he was the only person I wanted to talk to and the first person I called. We've been together ever since.

It's been said that every human lives in their own weird little world, and that the people we love our those that we can invite inside to share them, who embrace our weird little worlds. Well, geek worlds are a little weirder than the average- we're both people who are slow to make friends, slow to let people in. But we found a common link in our love of video games, science fiction stories, and niche TV shows and hobbies. Along the way we taught each other to love our weird secret worlds- I taught him to like cooking, he taught me to like music.

By the time we moved in together in November 2008, it was a foregone conclusion that we would marry. He popped the question in April 2009, after much deliberation about how and when, and ended up with a simple and sweet at-home proposal. It was absolutely perfect.

We plan to marry next July, with a ceremony to be conducted at Coxhall Gardens in Carmel, IN (our hometown) and a reception for about 100 to follow in his parent's beautiful gardened and forested backyard. We loved the idea of an outdoor garden wedding, but realized very quickly that a stuffy, overly formal affair wasn't what either of us wanted. What we wanted was a wonderful celebration with our closest family and friends. In our hometown, how we get that is by hosting it on private property- every garden comes with an all-inclusive vendor that insists on handling everything from the food to the decor, and wasn't able to understand our garden-party vision. We have plans for lots of great food and drink (catered by friends of my fiance), great music, simple, fresh flowers, and sparklers and fireworks as the night closes in. We want to incorporate our love of all things geeky throughout our wedding, whether using video game music in our ceremony or test tubes in our decorating. I'm an astronomer by education, and I'm hoping to have several telescopes available for stargazing

Couple #3 - Roxanne & Fritz

When & Where:
Sunday June 20, 2010 in Media, PA

A bit about them & their wedding as told by Roxanne:
When I read about your contest I thought it was perfect for Fritz and me. Our love is infused with geekdom. From our 13 bookcases to our epic Scrabble battles, we definitely fit the bill. Our geek love covers a wide array of genres and obsessions, but as a couple we’re best classified as word nerds. We each hold useless master’s degrees in poetry, and we celebrate the unpaid publication of our poems in literary journals most people have never heard of. We go to conferences where we get all excited to meet poets whom, again, most people have never heard of. We know about syllabics and slant rhyme and what a ghazal is (and we’ve tried to write them). We are haiku experts. Additionally, we are the kind of grammar geeks who notice all the troublesome typos, errant apostrophes, and improper pluralizations on all the written material we come across in our daily lives. I work as an editor and Fritz works in non-profit marketing, so that’s a lot of writing.

I also whole-heartedly qualify as a sci-fi/fantasy geek. I’ve read almost every Ursula K. Le Guin novel, can recite passages of dialogue from Buffy the Vampire Slayer from memory, and I’ve been known to get into serious arguments over the Harry Potter canon. I also geek out over anthropology, archaeology, and linguistics. Fritz seriously geeks out over photography. He has a Nikon D70s which he absolutely loves, but he is secretly lusting after the D300 (and in a dream sometimes the D3). I don’t know the camera geek speak so I have no idea what he’s actually talking about when he starts speaking Photog, but he takes gorgeous pictures of me naked—with lots of books of course—so it’s all good.

Fritz and I met in Greensboro, North Carolina, at a party after a poetry reading we had both attended. We talked for several hours, ignoring everyone else at the party. Despite the instant chemistry, the timing wasn’t right for us: we were both in serious relationships with other people, and we happened to live 700 miles apart (Fritz was in Florida at the time and I was working on my MFA in Greensboro. Fritz has an MFA too, but he graduated the year before I started–he was only in town visiting the night we met).

So it looked like it wasn’t meant to be. We set aside our attraction and over the next five years, we built a wonderful friendship. We sent each other postcards, met up at writing conferences every year, and made sure to keep close tabs on each other. It wasn’t until March 2007 that the stars finally aligned for us and we found ourselves both single at the same time. With much anticipation and unspoken hope, we met up in Atlanta at—yes, you guessed it—a writing conference. As soon as we were in the same room, we realized we still had that spark, and in less than ten minutes we were sharing our first kiss! We had an incredible weekend together, full of good books, good friends, good readings, and, well, seriously enjoying each other. As the weekend wound to a close, though, we realized we still faced one significant challenge: geography. I had recently moved to Philadelphia, and Fritz had started a new job in Northern California just two months earlier. We couldn’t let that stop us, though—it just felt too right. We spent the next year and a half traveling, thinking about traveling, and recovering from having traveled. We saw each other in Atlanta, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Phoenix, Sarasota, Las Vegas, New York City, Sonoma, Denver, and probably a few other places I’m forgetting. We clocked frequent flier miles like addicts and reveled in our time together.

Finally, after a year and a half of cross-country love, Fritz landed a job in Philly, and in February 2009, he shipped all his worldly possessions 3,000 miles across the country, and he and his books and his cameras moved in with me for good!

Fritz got his job offer on December 4, 2008, and despite the logistics of planning the move, he immediately started working on his proposal. For the engagement ring, he used family stones from one of his grandmother’s rings, working with a local jeweler in California to reset them into a beautiful ring that was perfect for me. As if that wasn’t enough, he also hatched an elaborate plan for the actual proposal. He bought an old, gilded, hard-back book of romantic poetry, decorated it (even visiting a scrapbooking store, making him the most courageous man I know), and spent eight hours hollowing out the center so he could hide the ring inside the book. On Christmas Eve, he lured me to the library (not that hard to do really) and completely surprised me by popping the question right there—in the poetry section, of course.

Now that we’re actually living in the same place, our biggest challenge is organizing our bookshelves and combining our libraries. We had what would probably qualify as our most significant argument over where to shelve Neil Gaiman. (I wanted to shelve him with the sci fi and fantasy, of course, but Fritz wanted him to stay in our fiction section.) We compromised, giving Neil a shelf to himself, which works because the Absolute Sandmans take up an enormous amount of shelf space.

Our wedding is going to be a book-themed wonderland word bash amidst the ruins of an old mill, complete with meadow, babbling brook, small bamboo grove, an expanse of woods and the crumbling walls of the mill (which are going to look great in photos). The ceremony is going to be in the meadow next to the creek and the cocktails will be outside in the shadows of the mill’s ruins. The reception will be indoors, and will feature plentiful vegetarian options, plus a brownie bar instead of cake! All this with our own vintage-DIY flavor on a limited budget.

Here are just a few of the ideas we’re tossing around right now: a vintage-inspired look for me, plus my grandma’s ivory jewelry (given new life and sparkle by a jewelry-designer friend) and a 1940’s-style birdcage veil. We’re planning to make paper flowers from scratch for my bouquet using the pages Fritz hollowed out of the proposal book—he saved them all! We’re also thinking of doing origami paper flowers for the bridesmaids. We’re going to use wine bottles as centerpiece vases—probably with more paper flowers in those. We’ve been saving the bottles we’ve shared together all over the country and those we’ve shared with our closest friends over the last two years, so each wine bottle will have a special story attached to it. Our color theme is going to be green with other bright springy colors like yellow and orange. Our save-the-date is (hopefully!) going to be a postcard featuring us reading a book with the announcement and date on the cover of the book. We’re also considering other bookish ideas like table numbers made from old books, invitations that look like library due date cards, and a small stack of ribbon-tied books for the ring bearer instead of a pillow.


It was soooo hard to pick just 3 entries and as soon as I did, I got the following entry and have decided to make it my wild card pick!

Couple #4 - Sabina & Daniel

When & Where:
July, 2010 (exact day still being worked out but will be made available soon) in Port St. Lucie, Florida

A bit about them & their wedding as told by Sabina:
For some girls, following the latest fashion trends or listening to the latest pop song was something they could not live without. For me, video games were something I couldn’t imagine not having in my life. Night or day, the clash of swords would ring, the rising song of magic would soar, and the desperation to find the captured friend would consistently fill my mind. There was always a deep, passionate love that burned inside me whenever it came to video games, especially Final Fantasy IV. I had been enjoying Final Fantasy IV since it came out in 1991.Yet during all those years, I always enjoyed that game alone, like many of the other video games I would play. I would secretly wish that there was someone, anyone, that enjoyed my geeky love of video games just as much as I did.

Whenever I met someone, I’d immediately ask if they were into video games. If they expressed a slight interest, I’d then suggest Final Fantasy IV. I’d always say, “You need to play that game! It’s the best game ever! Go buy it!” When I’d tell folks that, they usually laughed and say, “Yeah, sure,” or “That’s not really my game.”

Not with Dan.

Enter December of 2004. I was a freshman at FIU in Miami, Florida. I had become friends with a guy named Greg in one of my classes, Myth, Ritual, and Mysticism. We were celebrating at a Christmas party in his dorm room. We had invited all our friends and classmates. Greg had invited his own friends, and we were having fun. He told me that he had invited his friend, Dan, to come. Greg had told me about Dan over the semester, but I had never met him. At that time, I was interested in one of our classmates, but the interest wasn’t reciprocated.

When Dan arrived at the party, I was sitting by myself, sipping a soda. I turned to see who had come into the door, and it was as if time had slowed down. There, an attractive guy stood there, greeting his friend and saying hello to everyone. Our eyes met, and I immediately got out of my seat to greet him. Heard something like this before? I had too. At that point, I never believed the tales of “love at first sight” or the whole “our eyes met!” until I met Dan. As soon as Dan came into the room, I scrambled over to introduce myself.

I couldn’t keep my eyes off of him. At the time, I had very long hair, and a lot of my friends love my hair because it was not only long, but very soft. I had to get him to touch it. Once Greg introduced us, I said, “You should touch my hair!” He balked at first, not wanting to be too forward, for he, too, had noticed me immediately. I turned my head and practically forced Dan to touch my hair. He told me that once I did that, he had fallen for me.

As I normally did, I quickly asked Dan if he liked to play video games. When he said yes, I then launched into my usual pitch of, “You should play Final Fantasy IV!” Unlike the others who usually started to grow bored with my fanciful speeches, Dan listened, enraptured as I described the game’s plot and characters with extreme detail. I told him to buy it, and he said, “I’ll definitely have to check it out!” I was satisfied.

Unfortunately, as quickly as he arrived, Dan had to depart. Disappointed and at a loss for more words (having exhausted myself with my tirade about video games), I never got the opportunity to give Dan my phone number. The night ended, and I believed that I would never see Dan again, and was solely disheartened by that thought.

A few weeks later, during the Christmas break, Greg called and asked if I wanted to hang out with him and a couple of friends for the evening. He mentioned that Dan would be coming. Excited, I immediately agreed. Upon arriving, I met up with Dan. As soon as I saw him, I greeted him warmly. He then proceeded to tell me, “Hey, I got a copy of Final Fantasy IV at Best Buy. You’re right, that game really is a lot of fun! Cecil is awesome as a dark knight! It’s too bad that Kain betrayed him in Fabul.”

I was awestruck. Did this guy just tell me, in full detail, about Final Fantasy IV? He actually went out of his way to buy the game and see why I liked it so much?

Oh boy, he was a keeper. I ended up giving him my phone number that night.

By the time I returned to my university to start the spring semester, I had happily accepted Dan’s request to “go steady.” At that point, before I had met Dan, I had terrible luck with guys. None of my relationships lasted longer than two weeks. I once dated a guy who confessed to me that it was “weird” that I played video games and that I should be more into “girly things.” With Dan, I found that I could be myself and enjoy video games and geeky things like comics, renaissance fairs, nerd conventions (like Megacon!), and fantasy novels with someone who enjoyed them just as much as me.

Now, Dan and I weren’t just all about Final Fantasy games. Oh, no. We also loved MMORPGs. Before I had met Dan, I had played Ultima Online, Shadowbane, Final Fantasy XII, and even Everquest. I also played Warcraft III and Diablo I and Diablo II with my best friend, Nichole. A lot of guys didn’t understand why I loved being on the computer so much. To me, these games brought huge fantasy worlds to life, and I got to experience them with other real people.

Dan was also an experienced MMO gamer. He had played Everquest, Dark Age of Camelot, and several other MMOs before meeting me.

When Dan and I met, World of Warcraft had been released. I had followed Greg, our mutual friend, as he played in beta. I helped Greg name his character, and he told me all about the game. Yet when the game was released, I decided not to buy it, because it was my freshman year at college, and I knew my obsessive tendencies. I didn’t want to buy WoW at that moment for fear of ruining my grades. In high school, I would turn down babysitting jobs just to play Ultima Online! I was afraid I’d fail my classes if I played WoW. Even though I had played Warcraft III and desperately wanted to play a troll in WoW, I tried to be a good student and stayed away from the game.

By the time summer of 2005 rolled around, Dan had seen that I was chomping at the bit to get my own WoW account. He knew that I had played Warcraft III and I was always asking him about the major lore characters and if they were present in the game. I asked about Thrall and Malfurion and Illidan. At that point, he knew I was interested, and he decided to buy me a copy so we could play together. I was reluctant at first, fearful that my grades would slip, but Dan convinced me that if I was able to keep a solid A average in high school while playing Ultima Online, I’d be fine playing WoW.

Boy, he wasn’t wrong! I ended up getting Dean’s List every semester while playing WoW a minimum of 25 hours a week! I loved the game! All I could think about was playing WoW. I would sketch my troll during class, and I would write stories about my troll rogue on the WoW RP forums, which Dan would read faithfully. He loved that I enjoyed the game so much. We would raid together, and it was always a great comfort to hear his voice on Ventrillo. That I could whisper him in game, see him in the dungeons, and fight together with him was the greatest fun I could have when I wasn’t with him in person.

When I would go home for the weekend or on a holiday, Dan and I would close the gap on the distance and play WoW together. When I moved back home after graduating and was a good two hours north away from Dan, we “saw” each other in game. Even though we were far apart, we were always together. I love the fact that we could do that with World of Warcraft.

Comics and the medieval culture were also something Dan and I enjoyed. Our geeky love definitely transcended video games! Every year we would attend the huge comics, video games, anime, scifi and fantasy convention in Orlando. Megacon was the name of the convention, and we loved going there! We’d save up all our money and clear up the space on our SD cards to take as many pictures as we could. I even dressed up as Sailor Moon one year! Dan got a big laugh out of that. He still has yet to find the right costume to wear, but we plan on attending Blizzcon one year, fully dressed as our WoW characers.

Every year there is a renaissance faire that is held in Deerfield Beach that Dan and I also attend. We would buy medieval garb and immediately throw it on so we could “blend in” with the “true” crowd at the fair. Every year we’d go as something different. One year we were a lord and a lady, another year we were a warrior and a princess, and another year we went as a peasant couple. We always had fun, buying weapons to decorate our rooms with, watching the wailing wenches show, and trying out our (poor) archery skills. We always have a great time together when we would go to the renaissance faire.

After four and a half years of being together as boyfriend and girlfriend, I felt that I had truly found the one that I wanted to be with. Dan and I could complete each other’s sentences at times, know what we were thinking without having to ask, and find just the right spot to cuddle close together. When July, 2009 rolled around, Dan found out that he got two job offers in Jacksonville and Pensacola. By then, I had started an internship at an ad agency / TV show in Riviera Beach while also working as a manager at a Gamestop. Dan was finishing up his Master’s degree and actively looking for a new job. We had already decided that we love each other deeply and couldn’t be without the other. So when Dan got his job offers, he asked me if I could accompany him on a long road trip from Miami to Pensacola to Jacksonville for his job interviews and to see the areas as a potential place to live together. Seizing an opportunity to be with him, I said yes.

Dan picked me up on August 6, 2009, at my house in Port St. Lucie. We headed out on the road for Pensacola. While I sat with him in his car, happily drinking in his presence, Dan asked if I could get something out of the glove compartment for him. Without much of it, I opened the glove compartment, trying to find what Dan was asking for. Instead, to my surprise, a ring box lay inside, staring at me right in the face.

“Sabina, will you marry me?” Dan asked shyly as I continued to gaze at the ring box, my eyes moistening at the speed of light.

“Yes, yes!” I cried. I couldn’t believe it, while at the same time, I could believe it.

I love Dan with all my heart. He has introduced me to so many new things, and has always been by my side, no matter what. He withstands my rage, whether it’s at an inconsiderate guild mate or a matter of a dirty kitchen, and he understands my interests and my fascinations. He’s always sweet and kind to me, and is always there for me. He is definitely the horn to my unicorn, the chocolate to my milk (I love chocolate milk!), the second controller to my console. No matter what, he’s there. I guess, you can say, he is my “final fantasy.” The only fantasy I need in this world!

Is our love geeky? You betcha! Considering that one of the reasons why Dan captured my heart was by playing the video game that meant so much to me, that’s definitely geeky, at least to me! We enjoy so many things together that most folks would consider “geeky,” but we’ve never let that bother us. Weekly trips to the comic book store entail fun conversations and bragging contents, and the annual trips to the huge Megacon convention in Orlando can always be an adventure for us. The renaissance faire is a place where we can throw on our medieval garb and pretend to be “lord and lady” for the day and enjoy jousting and giant turkey legs. Night long gaming fests definitely appeals to us more than dancing at the hottest club in Miami or visiting the local bar, just because we’re enjoying something together. We would throw Rock Band parties and have more fun wailing out “Roxanne” on expert than we could spending money on South Beach!

Before I dissolve this essay to complete and utter cheese that not even Juno would use for her macaroni, I’ll get to the more exciting stuff. Though Dan and I have only been engaged for a month, we plan on getting married by next summer. We’re looking to be married in the month of July in 2010.

The plan for the wedding is traditional, with a reflection of our interests. Since Dan and I have always enjoyed fantasy games, we’re looking to have a medieval themed wedding. Though I haven’t told him, I found a tailor online that can make a wedding dress equivalent of the dress that Lily from the movie Legend wore. Legend is one of my favorite movies, and Dan does like to watch it, probably because Tim Curry is so awesome as the Lord of Darkness. We also love the band Vast, and I hope to walk down the aisle to Vast’s song, “Lady of Dreams.” As for the reception, we’d love to have lots of lights, great dancing music (and none of the “electric slide!” or “chicken dance” stuff kind of dance music, no no no!), and an area where we can get our gaming on when we get a bit worn out from dancing. We definitely want a wedding cake that looks like a castle, and perhaps a unicorn ice sculpture. We’re totally geeky about fantasy and video games! We do want to keep it traditional, simple, and inexpensive, but we also want it to be a fun reflection of our interests and what brought us together in the first place.

Thank you so much to all of you who entered my contest. Who knows, this might just end up as an annual event! I am sending the entries along to my judges for review and the winner will be announced next Monday! YAY!

1 comment:

blogauthor said...

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE pick Maureen and Ian. Sincerely, her maitre de of honor. :)