December 9, 2007

With this wing, i thee wed

I'm pretty sure that's what Ronda said at our wedding, her being giddy and all. While what she said was true, we no longer actually have the rings that we used for the ceremony. That's because the rings that we used for the ceremony were temporary silver rings that didn't actually fit too well. We replaced them last Sunday when we went to a jewelry shop (called Scintillant Studio) in the Mission and spent the day making our real wedding bands.

The proprietor, Adam Clark, made us the temporary rings that we used for our ceremony. We then spent the day together at his studio while us stepped us through the process of creating of our real wedding bands.

Unfortunately i forgot to bring my camera on that day. I did take some pictures with my cell phone that i still don't know how to copy them off the cell phone. Once i figure that out I'll post the pictures. In the meantime I've posted some pictures of the finished rings. (Note that they look a little scuffed up since they've already had a week of wear.)

I got to make Ronda's ring and she made mine. We fabricated them out of 18k white gold, which is basically 18k regular gold mixed with palladium. The process of creating the rings consisted roughly of:

  • Melting the gold and creating an ingot.
  • Annealing the ingot (basically tempering it). This involved heating it with a torch until it was red-hot, letting it cool a bit, dropping it in water, and then pickling it. (Pickling it involved dropping it into a acid bath which would remove any oxidation.)
  • Hammering the ingot into a roughly square stick.
  • Running the metal through assorted presses and annealing it occasionally in-between runs. This stretched out the metal and formed it into different shapes. For Ronda's ring we made three square sticks of different thicknesses. For my ring, the shape was one stick that was a half circle.
  • Cleaning up one end of the metal sticks to make it very flat and smooth, then cutting it to a proper length for the desired ring size, and finally cleaning and smoothing up the other freshly cut end.
  • Bending the metal sticks into a roughly round shape so that the cleaned up ends were touching each other and pressed together.
  • Soldering the ends together. To do this we used a small torch and 18k gold leaf solder that had a slightly lower melting point than the gold we were using for the ring. In between each soldering step we had to pickle the ring to remove oxidation.
  • Hammering the ring into an actually round shape of the correct size.
  • Using sand paper to flatten out the sides of the rings.
  • Using sand paper and assorted small grinder attachments to shape and smooth the inside and outside of the rings.
  • Using a polishing wheel to polish the outside of the rings.

So the process for creating Ronda's ring was actually a little more complicated than mine. My ring was a simple band, but for Ronda's ring we wanted to incorporate her grandmothers yellow gold wedding band into the ring. To do this involved some extra steps:

  • Resizing grandmothers yellow gold wedding band.
  • Creating three pieces of white gold. One to go on each side of the yellow gold band and one more to go underneath the yellow gold band to fill in some blank space there.
  • Lots more sanding and soldering to cleanly join the four metal bands together with no visible gaps.

The soldering of Ronda's ring was complicated by the fact that we didn't know exactly what alloys were mixed with the gold in her grandmothers ring and hence we didn't know the exact melting point of the metal. So we had to use a very low temperature solder to join the pieces together. There was at least one close call where i thought i accidently melted the ring, but in the end it all worked out much better than i ever expected. In the photos of Ronda's ring you can see that her grandmother's yellow band very clearly and it came out exactly the way we wanted.

Overall we spent almost seven hours working on the rings and we had a great time doing it. It was a really fun experience and now we've got a great story to tell about our wedding bands. Ronda also gets the added bonus of being reminded about her grandmother whenever she looks at her band.

If you're considering getting married, I'd highly recommend making your own wedding bands. If you're planning on doing this and you're in the bay area, I'd also highly recommend doing it at Scintillant Studio since Adam is a fun and laid back guy who really seemed to enjoy working with us and explaining the details of the entire ring making process. Also, compared to some of the other ring making services I've seen online, he charges very reasonable rates for his time and has no markup on materials.

November 25, 2007

just married

Well, Ronda and I got back from eloping yesterday. Just for the record, Ronda is not pregnant and all the parental units do actually approve of our marriage. (Of course none of the parental units knew about it until after it was done, but hey, we wouldn't have been eloping if they did.)

We both took Wednesday off from work and went down to San Francisco City Hall to get married. Chuck and Juju were present as our witnesses and photographers. All our pictures from the event are online here. It was a beautiful day and after the ceremony we went to take pictures in The Presidio and have lunch at the Cliff House. After that Ronda and I drove up to Sonoma and spent three nights at the Gaige House. We had a great time just hanging out in our room, which we only left to get mud wraps, massages, and food. (Ronda made some great dining reservations and we went out to eat at Ad Hoc in Yountville, The Girl and the Fig in Sonoma, and The Fig Cafe in Glen Ellen.)

Well, now we're getting back to reality and looking forward to the rest of our lives together.

a couple weeks of travel

So on Friday, Oct 26th, I went to Brazil for the first time. I was there for 8 days, doing presentations about opensolaris at four different universities. I flew into Sao Paulo, then i presented at FATEC in Sao Jose do Rio Preto on Monday, at the Ministry of Education and UnB in Brasilia on Tuesday, at FANOR in Fortaleza on Wednesday, and at FTC in Salvador on Thursday. Our travel schedule was pretty hectic, but we did get to see a bunch of different cities in Brazil and i was able to relax Friday and Sat in Salvador. Here are some of my pictures from the trip.

On Sunday i flew out of Salvador to beautiful Newark, NJ for a week of university recruiting. Tuesday night we (me and one of my co-workers) had an info session at Princeton University and Wednesday we had a full day of interviews at the Princeton career center, after which we drove down to Baltimore, MD so that we could repeat the info session and interview process at John Hopkins University on Thursday and Friday.

One evening in Baltimore was spent hanging out with some old friends, Jonathan and Frances, who moved to Baltimore a while back. They were leaving town early Friday morning, but we managed to catch up and chat over a tasty dinner at The Helmand on Thursday.

Saturday morning i rented a car and drove down to visit my sister near Washington DC. We hadn't seen each other for almost a year so we had a really great low key time just hanging out. We did some shopping, cooked some chili, tried some local restaurants, etc. It was near her birthday, so to celebrate we went to a spa to get massages and then we went out to a great dinner at Nora's, during which we were heartily entertained by an an incredibly arrogant and annoying french man sitting next to us. We spent most the dinner talking in Polish about him and his dining companion.

I finally got back home at around 11 am on Tue, Nov 13th. In summary, i ended up visiting about 8 different cities in 17 days. Man, was i happy to sleep in my own bed again.

November 17, 2007

my saturday

woke up to a backed up bathtub. bought a drain snake, used it and a plunger to unclog the tub. quickly scanned through a couple old issues of the economist. went through about a months worth of piled up snail mail. paid my bills. itemized my receipts from two weeks of traveling for work. cleaned up around the house. spoke to my parents. started planning for a lobotomy tomorrow.

June 18, 2007

i'm not a morning person

really. course this morning my eyes popped open at 4:30am and i gave up any chance of actually falling back to sleep at 5:00am. since i haven't been doing a lot of speed recently i figure i'm probably still jet lagged from my recent flight to warsaw, poland. (i got here sunday afternoon.) it was pretty bright out at 4:30am and when i was walking to the bus stop at 5:30am the sun was already well above the horizion. there was a surprising number of people out so early, although i did manage to find a seat on the bus. the bus ride to work was about 40 mins and it was much nicer than the one yesterday at 8:30am. (that bus was standing room only, very hot and stuffy, and got stuck in multiple traffic jams.) well, it's time to get some work done so i can get out of here (the sun offices in warsaw) and get over to grandma's place.

May 13, 2007

backyard work and lots of pics

so the past two weekends have been spent mostly doing a lot of work in the backyard, and today i uploaded lots of photos.

the oldest photos that i uploaded were from our tour of marin sun farms, which is where we get most our meat, eggs, and whole chickens from. i also have some woodworking related photos. you can check out the zero clearance insert and router table that i built for my ts2400 table saw here. i finally glued my bench together, and ronda even snapped some photos of me mixing shellac flakes. thrilling, eh?

so i spent the past two weekends removing an old large brick bbq from the backyard so that we could plant more stuff in the garden. my landlord wanted me to save most the bricks, so i did, but the removal processes involved a 20 lb sledge hammer and produced a lot of rubble. the concrete and re-bar reinforced foundation was the biggest pain. i didn't photograph the bbq before removing it, but you can see the lack of it and piles of rubble here. with the bbq removed, we have some more room for planting stuff, so you can see photos of the garden here, here, and here.

April 30, 2007

dead tired

the weekend was ok. i actually assembled the bench that i've been working on for what seems like forever. i also kegged my first all grain batch of beer. i thought i fucked it up by mashing it at too high a temperature, but in the end it seems to have turned out ok. sunday night me and ronda went to dan's place where he smoked some salmon on the grill. it was really tasty and now i have to try adding trays of wood chips to the bbq to recreate some of that tastiness. today i finally managed to bike into work. the weather has been fine for it for a while, but i'm a lazy ass and motivating to actually bike into work is hard. course, now that i've finally done it i'm dead tired. i forgot how much fun it is to bike into a strong headwind while coming home and struggle to go 9 mph.

February 16, 2007

not really dead yet...

well, i haven't died just yet. although if you actually check in on this blog you might have though otherwise. this post is mainly just a waste of space to say "i'm here" and provide pointers to some photos that i've uploaded. there's some pics of me, ronda, and a couple friends at an overpriced weird bar in sf. there's some woodworking dross. then there's the end of the year holidays with xmas in florida with ronda's family and new years in la with mine. And just in case that isn't enough, early on in this year i went to a fucking great show at the independent that features two of my favorite bands, the pine box boys and the devil makes three. well, that's probably enough irrelevant shit for another month.