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Eric: So, how was *your* weekend?

Ursula's Snarky!

It's two fifty-six in the afternoon on Tuesday. At 1:14 I watched Wednesday step through the door onto the accessway of her plane to Philadelphia and her Canadian transfer. The Manchester Airport was built to be airy and pleasant and accessible, and the security precautions of the last six years have only moderately changed that. Bulletproof Lexan between me and her didn't blunt my line of sight of her, and cell phones mean being able to talk right up until.

Which is sappy, I realize, but you have to understand. We do this entirely too often. I drive up to Ottawa, we have a great time, and then I have to climb back into my car and drive away, and neither of us really want that. She comes down here, and we settle into a routine that's warm and inviting, satisfying and pleasant. And then she has to leave. That's the part I'm not too fond of.

It was mitigated, of course, by the knowledge that there's just so much longer we have to do this. I asked, she said yes. We're engaged. And that makes a difference.

My friend and panelmate from Arisia, The Ferrett, says I shouldn't call her my fiancee -- and that she shouldn't call me the same. "You might as well just get started calling her your wife," he said. "Since you're getting over calling her your girlfriend anyway. Why relearn the habit after the marriage?" And I can see his point. At the same time, it's actively fun to call her my fiancee right now. It's like trying on a new jacket, and running your hand over the nape of the fabric. At some point you become used to it and then inured to it, but at first it's just cool. Why wouldn't I want that same experience again after the ceremony takes place?

As for when the ceremony takes place -- well, that's a darn good question. We're not looking for a particularly long engagement, but the details aren't really up to us. Despite the fact that we were born less than four hours away from each other by the driving of the automobile... despite the fact that we grew up with the same local television channels, the same cultural referents, the same potato-driven interruptions of the standard calendar and the same freaking weather, we are considered foreign to one another, and our respective governments must process, acknowledge and ultimately approve of our getting married. Until we know what Immigration has to say about our Visa applications (which haven't yet been filed, due to total lack of time since the weekend to do so), we won't know when she'll be let into the country to live with me. And by the nature of the Fiancee Visa, we will then need to get married within 90 days after she has been. That is the rule, and we will abide.

Which probably means a small and nigh-perfunctory civil ceremony, followed by a fully planned out reception et al with invitations and starchy clothes and wedding registries and all the fun that is getting married. And that will be cool, but we can't very well set dates for any of it.

Knowledgeable people who have passed the bar have told us this is the way to go, by the by. It is easier and faster to get the fiancee visa approved than it is to actually get a wife into the country.

(Before someone asks -- yeah, we're looking at her moving here. It makes more sense, given our current employment circumstances. Naturally, if someone reading this wants to give her a Canadian dream job, we will both be pleased and reconsidering our plans. Though it is worth noting we like our domestic circumstance in America.)

Three forty-one, and I've managed to find the thing causing bigass trouble to our RSS feed. I predict a veritable flood of stuff, followed perhaps by another spike of traffic. We're probably moving to Project Wonderful soon, ad-wise (it just makes sense), and it has been noted that we should really have done so back on Thursday or Friday, before the wedding announcement. It has been a mind-numbingly large amount of traffic since then (six figures of pageviews, easily. Which is very, very cool all around). And there is something to be said for that, but... well, on balance I'm glad I didn't. I didn't propose to Weds as part of a ratings stunt or a moneymaking venture, and the amazing people who pitched in and helped out didn't do so to make us money. Better to do the switch when things are settled back to normal, which will happen soon enough. If people bid on our ads based on traffic patterns, they should have accurate information about those traffic patterns.

Some people have asked me about traffic since I came back, it's worth noting. Well, we were up well over 60,000 pageviews a day at our peak. 2006 eroded that significantly, and rightfully so. Since the traffic's gone back up, we've moved to between 20,000 and 30,000 pageviews. I anticipate a moderately slow increase, unlikely to hit the same peaks as the past, ignoring for the moment something like this past weekend. Certainly, the weekend didn't hurt overall traffic, despite my now having to make up essays I missed.

Which brings up one of the amazing sides of all of this. The response to the proposal has been staggering. Weds and I have been downright delighted with the comments and responses and calls of "Dude" and "Merf" and "Woot" all over the web. On Sunday, we sat for a while in an internet cafe, waiting for some friends of hers to join us for fast nosh and squeeing and the like. We did vanity searches and Technorati searches and giggled at comments and acted... well, like a pair of giddy kids who just got engaged in front of the freaking planet. People have been fantastic, and we are really, really touched. And thank you all.

Phil Kahn!

A special thank you should also go to Phil Kahn. Phil agreed at the 11th hour to be the emergency "fill in" guy, just in case one of the last panels couldn't make it. He also penned an 18th panel to go after the whole thing, but I didn't receive it before we went down to Arisia, and the bandwidth and network at Arisia were so spotty I couldn't get it uploaded. I include it here, so you can pretend it followed the Milholland Money Shot Cliffhanger. Phil is a dude.

But so many people are dudes. Not the least of which is Ursula Vernon, who happily provided a new Snarky which I then didn't think to add to the comic either. I include it up above (though viewers of the video broadcast got to see it). Along with all the other artists in question -- the artwork, some black and white, some color, all essentially springing forth from their brains (for the record, my stage directions to everyone were "Eric standing and smiling as he talks," which means every nuance, every reference, every detail and every cool thing in those panels were put in by the artists themselves) was perfect. It brought Weds to tears when she saw it, in a very good way.

Okay, so I cried too. Give me a break -- I'm sentimental.

Everyone I contacted was supportive and happy. (Two never responded, it's worth noting, but I assume that means nothing but that spam filters can be overzealous -- it's happened way too often to me.) Of everyone who did respond, only one artist opted out, and that was schedule based -- he had just way too much stuff to do, but he wished us well.

Another fast note, this time on the ring. One or two people noticed the ring in the Milholland Money Shot Proposal panel had a red stone instead of a white one. Neither Weds nor I are partial to white diamonds (and we both find the "two months salary" thing absurd -- if I'm going to spend enough money for a car or computer on my fiancee, we're going to get a car or a computer), so we went with sentimental and meaningful to us instead of cold.

There was some discussion among my family, by the by, of my using a diamond that had been my grandmother's. So it's not sheer economics that caused us to eschew the thing. We could easily have had full on bling -- and classy bling at that -- had it been the direction we wanted to go in. Weds and I had been talking for some time about 'hypothetical' rings, and that was the guide I followed. The metal is titanium (Weds has some metal reaction issues with jewelry, and besides -- titanium is the geek's platinum when it comes to engagement rings). The central stone is garnet, which is why the ring stone is red. We also have smaller black diamonds on it, which look cool. And in the end, don't you want this thing to look cool?

Which brings up one other thing -- one or two people have asked what would have happened if Weds had wanted to say no, and here I was being so public. Well, the simple fact is, Weds and I had discussed marriage often. I hadn't asked her to marry me, but there was more than a little discussion on the finer points of Immigration Law, rings and "what we should do if we ever got married." I am a firm believer that you shouldn't ask someone to marry you if you're not pretty old certain of their answer to begin with.

Did that mean the proposal was risk free? Of course not. But she said yes and spent the rest of the day... well, weekend... deliriously happy. I conclude it was well done.

We fast forward (in one sense) to ten fourteen p.m. On Wednesday. This is the sort of thing that "just happens." I ran out of power at Panera. I climbed in the car. I drove home. And....

...well, I coped. The apartment is quiet when it's me and the cat. And I was exhausted. The trip, the con, the engagement... everything. I dozed, I talked with Weds on the phone, we tried to get the Slingbox working (by now we've succeeded in that) and then a night's sleep, an ultra-early morning, a day's work and catchup, a four hour theater rehearsal. ("So look out for me! Oh muddy water! Your mysteryyyyyyyyy's both deep and wide!") I got home and crashed again, this time for a couple of hours, easily.

Of course, there was something else to report from work today. See, I had a very... um... public proposal. Which means that someone posted a link on the school's Firstclass server. Which means everyone at the school had seen it.

I've worked here for just shy of nine full years. In that time I've never walked into the dining hall only to have the students applaud. I could get used to that. The cast of the play did the same, later on.

It's nice. It's very nice. And I'm surprised to realize how differently I feel now. My status has changed. I'm an engaged man. A fiance. I have a fiancee of my own. That's stunning.

And it's wonderful.

The massive "makeup posts" start tomorrow. There's lots of stuff to talk about. Lots of strips I thought were cool. Lots of things.

But as for me, for now? I'm tired again. Night, all.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at January 17, 2007 10:59 PM

Comments

Comment from: Rasselas [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 17, 2007 11:34 PM

Some friends of mine, for the same reasons, had to do virtually the same thing (a civil ceremony, eventually followed by a churched one). Lovely ceremony, beautiful old Maine meeting house, hot as the belly of a Franklin stove.

In an unrelated story: folks, you really don't want to take the groom's "No, my sister [the maid of honor] will remember to bring the other ring" at face value. No one wants to have to borrow a ring from bridesmaid #3 in medias res.

In an even less related story, it is always interesting to encounter hidden veins of conservatism in one's liberal parents. I would not have expected my father to have inherited his father's "Want a minister? Get married in a church, hippies" attitude, but he had his own, and very firm, opinion about the amount of "God material" a wedding ceremony ought to include.

Comment from: Doug Wykstra [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 18, 2007 12:35 AM

Congrats again on getting married, and good luck. I hope all the legal hoops currently in your way are jumped through with as little delay as possible. I can't wait to read the makeup snarks. Also, I hope that your romantic euphoria will lead you to snark Order of the Stick due to recent events of a romantic nature in that strip as well.

Comment from: Darth Paradox [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 18, 2007 12:35 AM

I have a pair of friends who were recently married under identical circumstances. The Canadian girl moved to the US and married the American guy in a tiny civil ceremony. They have a lavish reception planned for their one-year anniversary.

The paperwork has been an utter pain, though. Be prepared for hassles and annoyance, and always check your paperwork.

Best of luck on the road ahead! It will ultimately be a rewarding one, I know... but in the meantime, the massive, hulking blob of bureaucracy stands in your way.

Comment from: kjc [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 18, 2007 2:27 AM

You guys are SO. FREAKIN. CUTE!

I was all fuzzy-puppies-and-kittens inside for the whole thing. I'm so glad it went well!

Comment from: miyaa [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 18, 2007 2:35 AM

Will the titanium "geek" rings be bluetooth compatible? (You know, I'm surprised no one has tried getting married with the "Lord of the Ring" rings or Green Lantern jade glowing rings. It just seems like the geek thing to do for a wedding.

Comment from: JoeFF85 [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 18, 2007 3:11 AM

My parents got married with plastic Looney Tunes rings out of a gumball machine. They both have wedding bands of course, but legend has it that my Uncle arranged for those rings to be replaced with the Looney Tunes ones at the ceremony.

The rings themselves were stolen along with the rest of the contents of my Mother's jewelery box when my parents' apartment in Brooklyn was robbed many years before my birth, so they only have the bands now.

But still, marriages with non-traditional wedding rings do happen. I'm positive that there have been one ring weddings, and elven ring weddings, and Green Lantern Corps ring weddings and the like.

Comment from: JoeFF85 [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 18, 2007 3:14 AM

And I didn't want to put another umpteenth "Dude" post in the proposal post's comments. Bus still. Dude. Way to take the bar, which Gabe already set very high for we comic fans out there and just send that thing into the stratosphere. How the hell is a guy supposed to trump this proposal? A guy's gonna have to build a laser and carve "Marry Me?" into the moon if he ever wants to ask a girl to marry me more classily than you did.

Well, I guess internet-famous comic critics have to use their namedropping abilities for good. Or love.

Dude.

Comment from: Plaid Phantom [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 18, 2007 3:26 AM

Never can there be enough dudes.

Also, that may be the snazziest Snark I've seen so far.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 18, 2007 7:19 AM

I proposed with a cheap, plain ring from Woolworth's (yes, there were still Woolworth's then) that I had secreted in the band of my White Sox cap. We wear gold now because she has metal reaction issues, but she still has that ring. And the cap.

Comment from: thegameiam [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 18, 2007 8:20 AM

Congratulations - it's an awesome thing, and that was one of the coolest proposals I've ever heard. Prepare for the gamut of unsolicited wedding/marital advice. :)

One note about titanium rings: make sure to size them a little bit loose, because in the event of a medical emergency where a normal ring would be cut off, titanium is harder than medical cutters, and so there are folks who have lost fingers instead of rings. You want to make sure that someone else could always get the ring off...

Comment from: 32_footsteps [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 18, 2007 8:25 AM

"How the hell is a guy supposed to trump this proposal?"

Each proposal is individual - the perfect proposal depends on who your perfect girl is. I wouldn't have used this method, and I know Eric wouldn't have used mine (we both would have gotten the same answer, but gotten confused looks from our respective ladies).

Comment from: Elizabeth McCoy [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 18, 2007 8:31 AM

(When I had swelling during pregnancy, I got my white-gold band (with blue topaz; huzzah the unique!) cut off my finger at the jewelers and made a tad bit larger. When I had quasi-emergency c-section surgery, they could get that one off, but my ancient (I was what, 15 when I got it?) silver unicorn ring had to be taped over 'cause it weren't comin' off.)

Where was I...? Oh, right! If you get things timed so you can get a JP at Arisia, you know they'd put that in the ballroom. O:D

You fiance, you. (And Wednesday! You fiancee, you! Woo!) Y'all make me wanna poing up and down in sympathetic glee.

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 18, 2007 8:44 AM

if I'm going to spend enough money for a car or computer on my fiancee, we're going to get a car or a computer),

Right on!

I was lucky -- my wife hates diamonds (she thinks they're ugly). Her favorite stone was a sapphire, so when I was buying her engagement ring I bought her one with a sapphire set in it. And it was still too much money for me at the time (had to pay in installments) but it was significantly less too much money than a freakin' diamond.

Comment from: 32_footsteps [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 18, 2007 9:29 AM

You know, I think every geek I know went with something other than a diamond for the main stone in their engagement ring (I went the sapphire route, myself).

I'm actually curious as to how many of us went with gold for the ring. Myself, I went with silver in part due to expense, and in part because both my wife and I hate the look of gold on us.

Comment from: Dave Van Domelen [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 18, 2007 9:41 AM

Okay, not only do we now need video of Weds's reaction, we also need a closeup photo of the ring. Because, dude, garnet and black diamonds FTW. (Red and black is one of my favorite color combos, and it has nothing to do with emo/goth/etc.)

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 18, 2007 9:46 AM

I'm actually curious as to how many of us went with gold for the ring.

We went with white gold because its easier to maintain than silver.

Also it will come in handy if I ever happen to find myself in the Land...

Comment from: Penn [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 18, 2007 10:38 AM

For an ngagement I gave my wife a.... actually, I have no idea what it has on it, she picked it out (after I proposed).
This is because I consider the wedding rings to be the important thing, we have matching handmade gold and white gold intertwined rings, very classy. :)
Oh, and congrats! I registered just to wish you all the best stuff (you don't need luck if you have a good life partner).

Comment from: Milligan [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 18, 2007 12:20 PM

For the record, I got -- er, verclempt -- upon viewing the video too. But I'm a Grade A 100% sap like that.

Dude. All the best.

Comment from: The Internet Axolotl [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 18, 2007 1:30 PM

for engagement rings my wife and i had silver claddaghs that cost, oh, maybe ten bucks or so at the local "Everything Silver!" store. no rocks. we're not big fans of rocks for the sake of rocks.

wedding bands we got at Northern California Renaissance Pleasure Faire, back when it was still at Black Point. here's a picture if anyone cares to see it. (taken off the jeweler's website).

what's important is that it's right for you two, and sounds like you got that part down. :)

Comment from: Phillip J. Birmingham [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 18, 2007 3:17 PM

In that time I've never walked into the dining hall only to have the students applaud.

That was the interesting thing I found about getting engaged/married -- it seems like everyone is rooting for you. I discovered on my wedding day that if three guys in tuxedos walk into a Starbuck's, total strangers will congratulate the guy in the tux that looks different.

Anyway, congrats to you both.

Comment from: Wurmwyd [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 18, 2007 4:34 PM

Hi there!

Interesting. I saw the proposal post because like 14 people on my LJ friends list pointed to it. I haven't actually read WebSnark since you "went tharn", whenever that was. A few things:

A) Call her your wife. My brother said that that was the best thing about getting married. When you're engaged, you could be in the middle of a story that goes:
"And then the axe murderer showed up, and he had me cornered. He was getting closer, and I knew I'd never see my fiancee, again. He raised the axe high abo-".
"~*~Oh, you're getting MARRIED!?~*~"
"Yes, I'm engaged ... anyway the axe murderer-"
"So have you set a date yet?"
"No, we're still working on that. So he had this axe-"
"How did you guys meet?"

ad infinitum. When you say: "Wife", people just nod and let you finish what you're saying.

2) My wifey insisted on a garnet as well. When we were in the NY Museum of Natural History, we were looking at our birthstones in the gems exhibit. She noted that the garnet, her birthstone, represents faith, trust, and constancy. She said: "Wow, you'd think THOSE would be more popular as engagement rings!". So when we got married she really wanted a garnet. I even OFFERED to buy her a two-weeks-salary diamond. She refused. It was a garnet or nothing. :)

3) I showed her the proposal comic. She knows next to nothing about webcomics, but she loves Choo-Choo Bear. She squeed at the end of that. :)

Comment from: Liz Walsh [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 18, 2007 5:06 PM

When I first saw the "money shot", I assumed that the ring was white gold set with a ruby. Titanium set with a garnet and black diamonds sounds equally awesome.

My engagement ring is yellow gold with a dark sapphire and six tiny diamonds. So there's at least one geek who went traditional gold :)

Comment from: Copper Hamster [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 18, 2007 5:31 PM

My weekend was hell, but at least someone's was great. Good luck with the immigration and wedding.

About the Diamonds, you know what they say, Diamonds are De Beers's best friend.

(Will not rant, and believe me, Diamonds I can rant on.)

Again, Congratulations.

Comment from: larksilver [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 18, 2007 5:58 PM

Yowza. I go and do something radical, like, y'know, move over the past two weeks, and I miss all the fun.

That is one hell of a proposal, so full of sweet awesomeness. I will refrain from the dudeness... barely, and only by sheer force of will.

Congratulations! I couldn't be happier for you both! (sniff) So sweet. Hooray!

(Also, that is one seriously snazzy Snarky.)

Comment from: LurkerWithout [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 18, 2007 6:13 PM

Off topic. The RSS feed is now updating BEFORE the main site. Seriously theres Malfunction Junction snark on my LJ and not one here...

Comment from: Pooga [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 18, 2007 6:20 PM

It's probably one of the lesser things on your mind at the moment, but you mentioned it again here, and Inquiring Minds still Want To Know...

Who are you playing in Big River?

Comment from: B. Durbin [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 18, 2007 8:39 PM

My ring's opal, and my hubby's is a dark greenish sapphire.

The geeky part is that they're close to a wedding set of stones from Evil Rob's favorite book. The cool part was they were not expensive— in fact, his ring was over 50% off because it wasn't flashy. We didn't want flashy.

Comment from: Roni [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 19, 2007 10:35 AM

I think Ferrett passed along my verbal squeee, but still, congrats!

The ring sounds really pretty. When james and i got engaged, we were, appropriately enough, sitting on the couch watching Buffy. We had been talking about a hypothetical wedding, and realized we were planning it for OH, which we were leaving. So we said "Aw hell, let's just get married. In 3 months".

Then his parent's nearly had a heart attack so we put off the wedding for a year but still had the handfasting. We had the best of both worlds!

Comment from: Roni [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 19, 2007 10:35 AM

I think Ferrett passed along my verbal squeee, but still, congrats!

The ring sounds really pretty. When james and i got engaged, we were, appropriately enough, sitting on the couch watching Buffy. We had been talking about a hypothetical wedding, and realized we were planning it for OH, which we were leaving. So we said "Aw hell, let's just get married. In 3 months".

Then his parent's nearly had a heart attack so we put off the wedding for a year but still had the handfasting. We had the best of both worlds!

BTW, we should absolutely attempt that coffee again.

Comment from: Roni [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 19, 2007 10:38 AM

I think Ferrett passed along my verbal squeee, but still, congrats!

The ring sounds really pretty. When james and i got engaged, we were, appropriately enough, sitting on the couch watching Buffy. We had been talking about a hypothetical wedding, and realized we were planning it for OH, which we were leaving. So we said "Aw hell, let's just get married. In 3 months".

Then his parent's nearly had a heart attack so we put off the wedding for a year but still had the handfasting. We had the best of both worlds!

BTW, we should absolutely attempt that coffee again.

Comment from: Copper Hamster [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 19, 2007 11:01 AM

Lurker, it looks like he backdated the entry. It appears on the feed as most recent, but on the website, it's before his most recent (and important) 'Submitted without comment'.

Comment from: Alexandra Erin [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 20, 2007 3:32 PM

Man, ever since this whole engagement plotline started up, websnark has really stopped bringing the funny. Years from now, people will look back on this as the moment the site jumped the shark. You had me, then you lost me.

...

I mean, congratulations.

Comment from: kirabug [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at January 21, 2007 4:00 PM

My engagement ring's a natural ruby with three small diamonds on each side. Compromise. He likes diamonds, I don't. I tend to react to nickel so while the ring's gold, it's lined with white gold or something to keep it from eating through my finger. He's got gold-gold 'cause that's what he wanted.

Wednesday's ring sounds more awesome than mine, but I think I'm damn happy with what I got :) Congrats again!

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