Sunday, September 28, 2008
This will be the last post on this blog. While the blog has been a fun little experiment, it's gotten to be pretty overwhelming in the last few weeks. I have a newfound respect for people who do topic-specific blogs and actually update them regularly (like Richard Layman over at urbanplacesandspaces.blogspot.com).
I imagine no one will be writing blogs in ten years, but I plan on doing something similar for my 40th birthday. Until then, keep in touch!
Friday, September 26, 2008
Appetizer: baguette with HOMEMADE mozzarella cheese. Amazing. She actually made cheese from scratch.
Salad: greens with cherries, shallots, and walnuts with a red-wine vinegar dressing.
Entree: veal saltimbocca (I've never had this before, but it was incredible) and mashed potatoes made with chervil and celery root.
Dessert: seared pears with a rose wine reduction sauce, on vanilla ice cream.
This means I'll have to take it to the next level when February comes around. Home-distilled vodka for cocktails? An assortment of breads and puff pastries? Homemade sausages? I really don't know what I could do to top homemade cheese. Unbelievable. Maybe I'll just throw in the towel and cook half-smokes.
It's looking like there's a chance of rain for the party tomorrow, which would keep us inside or on the front porch. Oh, well, that just means we'll be doing more dancing!
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Currently I'm a little bit like those kids in Disney World commercials who can't sleep because they're too excited. Also, I can't sleep because I'm old and have a bad neck and can't get adjusted to my pillow.
Actually, truth be told, I'm entirely ambivalent about turning 30. I think that writing a blog for two months about a relatively innocuous event has made me numb. (Maybe I wouldn't have been so upset when my cat Sam got hit by a car when I was five if I had written a blog about that?)
BUT, I am excited about all of my friends meeting each other! I'll go ahead and mention a few universally-acceptable conversation topics that should help people get to know each other:
1. How tragic and sad it is that Richard started losing his hair at 16.
2. The Super Bowl-bound Washington Redskins.
3. Ol' Dirty Bastard.
4. The fact that Warren Buffett now has a guaranteed income of $500million a year for the rest of his life, but Richard is unemployed.
5. The L'Enfant Plan.
6. Danny Pate: Great, or the Greatest?
See everyone on Saturday!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
1. Lance Armstrong. Seriously, just go away.
2. Jessica Simpson. Okay, you can come...IF YOU PUT OUT ANOTHER SONG EVER!
3. Tony Stewart. You know, there was a time when you would've been welcome, but then you got that insane affectation of a fight-starter and now it's just dumb.
4. Bill Clinton. Oh, man, don't get me started.
5. Levi Leipheimer. No offense, but I just don't think you'll add much fun to the party.
6. Anyone from that new reality show about DC. Please. This is for real. Don't come. Even Fuggles doesn't like you.
7. Bill Kristol. This is mostly for your own good, Bill. Every time I see you on TV all I can think about is how you're one of the few people who I could whip in a fight, and I just don't want to be tempted.
8. Amanda Palin. Obviously, you like to party, but I don't think having 17-year-olds at the party is a good idea.
That's the whole list. For everyone else, see you on Saturday!
Monday, September 22, 2008
First, there are two Metro stops near our house. Petworth is slightly closer than Columbia Heights, but I think the walk from Columbia Heights is a little nicer. Just exit using the escalators on the right (after the fare gates) and keep going straight up 14th at the top of the escalator. We're a 10 or 15 minute walk north on 14th.
Second, there are some buses that get you VERY close to our house. The 50-series (50, 51, 52, 53, and 54) come straight up 14th St. from McPherson Square and stop at Shepherd St, 40 meters from our house (which, if you're an NFL player, should be covered in a greatly exaggerated time, like 3.9 seconds). Sometimes, though, we use the S-series (S1, S2, and S4) on 16th Street. These tend to move a little faster, but you have to exit at Shepherd St. and then walk about a block through the Park, crossing Piney Branch Parkway. This is all very clear if you look at this overhead map:
View Larger Map
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
1. We wrote a letter to Old English, asking them to bring back the 64-ounce bottles. Jack even drew pictures of us in the letter. Unfortunately, we never got around to mailing it and hopefully someone threw it away at some point.
2. Sunday, Bloody Mary Sunday! The whole house went to the Marx Cafe for brunch and Bloody Mary's.
3. Daytona 500! No telling who won (I guess this was 2002, so we could probably figure that out), but we had a great time cheering on Jeremy Mayfield. At some point, Nora's parents came by, which was a little weird.
4. Nap time!
5. Happy birthday, Greg! Housemate Greg had a birthday party that night, so of course we invited lots of folks over.
7. Dancing! Greg DJ'ed his own party, leading to much dancing and good times.
Luckily, we didn't have to go to work the next day because of some sort of holiday, so we stayed up 'til all sorts of hours. Every now and then I get a text from Jack wishing me a happy anniversary of Best Day Ever! (Jack also has a blog, although I'm not really sure what it's about. There are some pictures of him getting ready for a job interview, if you follow the link on the right.)
Thursday, September 18, 2008
First, take the Metro to Columbia Heights. (Note for out-of-towners: DC's Metro is just like New York's subway, only it rarely takes you exactly where you want to go in an efficient manner, and you're less likely to get mugged on DC's system.) Exit the escalator on the left after the faregates and walk a few feet forward to Commonwealth Gastropub. Great cask-conditioned ales AND there are some jauntily-placed engineering supports that interrupt the space in a really delightful way.
Second, leave Commonwealth, turn right out of the door, go down Irving to 13th, turn left, turn right on Kenyon, and a block later you'll be at Wonderland Ballroom. Wonderland's pretty cool, but I have to imagine your visit would've been a lot more epic back when it was Knob Hill, the oldest African-American gay cabaret in the country. These days you'll just have a Bell's Two-Hearted IPA and sit next to a bike messenger.
Third, leave Wonderland, turn left on 11th, and a block later cross the street to Red Rocks pizza. This is in an old rowhouse and they've used the space very nicely. Solid selection of bottled beers, although we tend to prefer the wine list here. Order a pizza. Leave out the front door. Continue up 11th.
Fourth, somewhere up north of Red Rocks you're going to hit New Hampshire (I think). Turn right, then another right, then you'll hit Georgia Ave. Turn left and after you pass The House (which advertises two things on their billboard: girls and Redskins games on TV), start looking for the Looking Glass Lounge on your left. When you find it, order a Wasmund's Single Malt Whisky!
Fifth, turn left out of the door, turn left on New Hampshire, turn right on Spring, turn right on 14th, and then stop at the Red Derby on your left. This place ONLY has beer in cans, so you can either go with the awesome Dale's Pale Ale, or something that costs a very fair $2. Say Hi to the owners and invite everyone over to 1416 Shepherd St. for the party!
Turn left out of the front door, go two blocks to Shepherd St., turn left, and we're the first house with a red door on the left!
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
This reminds me of when Katherine and I got married. The first thing Monsignor Jameson said at the rehearsal was, "Okay, when are we all going to get here? 2pm, 30 minutes before the ceremony." It was good to know that we were dealing with someone who ran a tight ship. (Related note: I took the bus to the wedding, in my tuxedo, and weirdly got there extremely fast, so I was early.)
I like things to start at the appointed time, which is why we'll be tapping the keg, starting the iPod, and making delightful conversation starting at 8pm on September 27th, not 9:30 or 10. Of course, you can show up whenever you want, but we'll be ready to go at 8.
Why 8? Well, it's really a compromise. I, like all senior citizens, like to start stuff at 4 in the afternoon, but Katherine suggested waiting a little bit, so that I don't eat all the chips before anyone else shows up. It's a good point, so we settled on 8.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
The list is as follows:
1. A blunderbuss.
Note that if your gun is not on this list, Fuggles will probably get all weirded out that you're actually bringing a GUN to a KEG PARTY and Katherine will make me ask you to leave. To clear up any confusion, unless your gun looks like this one, don't bring it.
Monday, September 15, 2008
I placed an order last week for a full keg (that's a 1/2 barrel, or 15.5 gallons, or roughly 162 pounds of beer) of delicious Hopback Amber Ale from Troeg's Brewing Company. As I'll surely tell people a gazillion times at the party, this was my introduction to Troeg's, which has since become one of my favorite breweries. At 6% ABV and a slightly sweet maltiness balanced with EXTREMELY grassy hops, this is just about the perfect session beer. It's not really great for keg stands, but I certainly won't discourage any girls from doing one.
Also of note, We Are Scientists (or, as I call them, We Are Pussies) have a new single out today or tomorrow or something, depending on the international date line and daylight savings time. Unfortunately, I think it's priced in pounds or euros, which means that it'll probably cost as much in dollars as the rest of my record collection combined. Perhaps I should just sell all my Demon System 13 records to pay for it. Does anyone know how much the first Life's Halt 7" goes for on eBay these days? More than I paid for it? What about the Charles Bronson discography DC WITH THE ORIGINAL ARTWORK?!?!?!?!!!
Or, maybe, just maybe, Katherine will cough up the money to buy the We Are Scientists single and we can turn the birthday party into a listening party, complete with a trophy for the best heckle.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
There was a serious threat that the 'Skins wouldn't win a game before my 30th birthday. At this point, they'll probably be 1-3 on September 27th, then lose another game on the 28th to drop to 1-4. Thankfully, future hall-of-famer Jason Campbell saved the day and we can all be happy that they're not off to another 0-5 start...
Addendum: solid game from Laron Landry, number 48 (some rookie, whoever that is), and Santana Moss.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Turning 30 is mostly a pleasant experience, especially since 30 doesn't seem especially old to a 29 year old. But, there is something jarring to the fact that I've been around for just short of 30 years and really don't remember very much of it. For instance, what did I do on my 14th birthday? Anything? Is there any way to know? I'm sure I went out to eat with my dad (a family tradition), but I certainly can't remember where we went, much less what we talked about.
Then, I think about all those people who must've been at my 7th birthday party. Who were they? And, what happened to them? It's amazing that I've met so many hundreds, even thousands, of people who I've enjoyed, people who have touched my life in some not-insignificant way, and I have no idea who they are.
Of the people I do remember, I'm shocked that so many of them have disappeared. Brett? Blair? Of course, in the age of Facebook, I suppose I could try to look these folks up, but I don't have a Facebook account (and I'm a student, so it's even more likely that I would have one than them). Even then, there must be several hundred people named "John Owens" out there, so I'm sure I'd never find the right guy.
And it's not just people from long ago! Friends from college have fallen off the face of the earth, which can only mean that people say the same thing about me: "Where did Richard go?"
Hopefully someone will find these people and tell them about my birthday party. Perhaps that dog from the end of Pynchon's Mason and Dixon is on his way to my house right now, sending me word from someone, so that I won't have to wonder anymore...
Friday, September 12, 2008
For those of you who haven't followed my brief, and unremarkable, cycling career, you'll also be interested to learn that Poolesville is the scene of my greatest cycling exploits, including 3rd in the Poolesville High School Road Race (after a race-long breakaway), a disappointing 8th at the Michael P. Murad Memorial Road Race (due to some weird miscommunication, after a race-long breakaway), leading Brucetravis to second in the PHSRR another year, and leading Brucetravis to victory in the MABRA Road Race Championships. Great roads in that area, if you ever get a chance to ride out there.
Also, here's a picture of me in a breakaway in the PHSRR. Note that this is from my younger, softer years when I wore gloves. Weak. Somewhere there's a good picture of me with bare hands that looks much more awesome.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
10 hours ago
WELLINGTON , New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand 's national airline is offering to pay bald travelers to use their heads — literally — in a new advertising campaign.
Air New Zealand said it wants 70 recruits to stand in lines in three airports — while wearing temporary tattoos on the back of their heads so the displays can be seen by people lining up behind them.
The airline would pay 1,000 New Zealand dollars ($660) for each walking billboard, a company official said.
The tattoos will promote a new system that is meant to reduce check-in waiting times.
Air New Zealand marketing manager Steve Bayliss described the campaign as "a bit of fun."
"It's a ... tattoo on the back of someone's head, so they have to have their head shaved or be bald already," he told National Radio on Wednesday. "It will be an advantage for them to be bald already."
The tattoos would fade or wash off after about two weeks, he said.
Bayliss added that he won't be part of the program since he was "doing OK" in the hair department.
Best of all, since I'll be 30, this isn't a decision I'll regret when I get old, since I'm already old.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Let's see, some keys to a good September backyard party:
keg of Pilsner Urquell - check
spicy all-beef half-smokes on the grill - check
sitting at the picnic table talking about the Redskins - check
We Are Scientists on the iPod - check
our neighbor Ian drinking a whole bottle of lemonade - check
out-of-town guests - check
MBA students - missed that one
I can't really think of anything that would've improved last year's party, except for having more people there. So, this year we'll be making a special effort to get a huge amount of MBA classmates to the party. (Note to MBA students: the NPV of this party is infinite!)
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Actually, I was just talking with classmate Tom who asked if I had been riding. I told him that I was hoping my residual fitness would last for a few more years, so I could still hang on to a ride if I ever got talked into going out. His response, "Yeah, right, and the skin on my face keeps getting tighter and I keep getting more hair." Shoot. Maybe I could dress up like an old guy if I ever go out with the Georgetown team: steel frame, ill-fitting Discovery jersey, black shorts, and talking about cycling back before there was a Category 5. Then they'll feel sorry for the old man.
Monday, September 8, 2008
As anyone who was at the Wasmund's tasting at our house last spring can tell you, this is going to be fun. Best of all, it's impossible to not know where the party is when the Magical Mystery Whisky Wagon is parked out front!
Sunday, September 7, 2008
It sounds like he had a pretty standard time, what with having lots of friends and his parents at a bar. Yep, his parents. Is this a good idea? Should I even tell my parents I'm having a party? I doubt it. This sounds like an awful idea.
Also, at the risk of "live-blogging" the VMA's, can I mention that this is the absolute worst show I've ever seen on TV? This is worse than the Winter Olympics, worse than any Brian Dennehy movie on Lifetime, possibly even worse than "Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee." Oh, wow, this is awful.
This is very awkward. I always wondered when people like Fabolous would cede the stage to people like T-Pain. Actually, no, I never wondered that, but it's apparently happened.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Katherine and I are focusing on some other entertainment ideas right now. We talked to Fuggles about learning some tricks, but she stuck out her claws and jumped out of my arms, so I don't think she's interested. But, we ARE going to have an all go-go dance hour at some point! Look for this on the official party agenda (due out sometime around 9pm on September 27th, realistically) and get ready to dance to some Chuck Brown, TCB, Backyard Band, Junkyard Band, EU (added for Rouzbeh), and more! Also, we're going to have a good representation of DC music for the rest of the night. Of course, there will be some standards (Fugazi, Teen Idles, whatever), but we'll also have some non-pop stuff (John Philip Sousa, Duke Ellington, that female opera singer who's famous). Should be a good time! Put your requests in the comments section.
Oh, since this isn't a Redskins blog, I'll keep the game commentary to this: this might be the worst 'Skins team of the Dan Snyder era.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Highlights of Banks' career in Washington:
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Violets are blue,
I may be old as dirt now,
But someday you will be, too.
There once was a man turning thirty,
Who told his wife not to worry,
Although he was bald,
He was still skinny and tall,
But she still just thought he was nerdy.
All people get old
Some people age gracefully
Richard was born old
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Actually, I think he recently attended the Richard Petty Driving Experience at Lowe's Motor Speedway. That's weird, because I went to the track with him a few years ago for an event where we got to drive his car around the track. Afterwards, his wife chided him and told him he was "too old" for that. It's good to at least see that you never get too old to not listen to your wife!
Also, Katherine's playing with the cat as I write this and just called her "Richard." It's all downhill from here, I imagine.
Monday, September 1, 2008
Also, they were surprised to hear that I have yet to earn a single dollar for writing this blog.
Back to the invitation thing: I'm going to be posting an elaborate map pretty soon with directions to my house from various non-DC locations. This is just to make it more difficult for folks from San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and what have you to make any excuses. If you ask nicely, I could probably also get someone to write a medical excuse so you could miss a day of work or get a cheap "family emergence" airfare.
For lodging, there's a very quaint looking hourly-rate "guest house" down the street. If you're looking for something a little fancier, you could probably pitch a tent in our neighbor's front yard. Or, you could try to fight Fuggles for the guest bed, although we haven't trimmed her claws in a while and she might fight back.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Sadly, lots of other successful bloggers have taken the easy route and done a general interest, personal diary, type of blog with one lousy post about turning 3o. Weak. As far as I can tell, no one else has taken the initiative to write a daily blog for two whole months about their 30th birthday party! I can't imagine why.
Even worse, everyone else is completely humorless about aging. It seems that most people stay at home and cry, instead of embracing their new oldness in public with a fun party. Keg? Nope. Standup comic? Nope. Stories about other birthdays? Nope. Melancholy recollections? Some. Self-deprecating anecdotes? Nope. In short, this is the only blog where you can read about every single thing related to turning 30! Unfortunately, it turns out that there's not really 60 posts of solid material out there for me to write about, so you get bad ones like this.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
It's not unlike my 26th birthday, when Katherine and I made a similar trip. We drove out to Sperryville and checked out the now-closed Cooter's Garage, a wild tourist trap of Dukes of Hazzard memorabilia. In the age of Urban Outfitters and ironic t-shirts and kidults, I was glad to see some shirts with honest-to-goshness Confederate flags on the roof of the General Lee. Then we drove up the mountains and headed along Skyline Drive for a few miles, checking out the Shenandoah Valley scenery. Dropping down into Front Royal at the end of the Shenandoah National Park, it was off to Markham (I think) to pick some apples. Very nice, although September 27th tends to be a little late in the season around here.
Why doesn't everyone go to the country for their birthday?!
Thursday, August 28, 2008
For some reason, The Wasmund told our new friend (whose name is Neil) how old he is and Neil asked if I was the same age. Now, I won't tell you how old RW is (hint: between 48 and 50, but not 48.5 or 49.5), but it's jarringly older than me. RW told him I was just a spring chicken, which isn't entirely true, but is relatively accurate considering the circumstances.
Finally, I told Neil I was 29 (after he initially guessed 40, then 35 after my visible dismay). He said, "Oh, you look older because you've lost your hair. But, you've still got a young bod!" It's true, he told me I had a "young bod" and that I'm "in great shape." I guess it's too bad that people don't judge age by body-type more often, so that those flabby dudes in college would be mistaken for 40-year-olds, instead of us bald dudes.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Katherine and I spent last night reviewing people at http://www.dcstandup.com/. The criteria for asking someone to perform at the party are:
1. A good headshot. These two folks were in the lead.
I think that's Paula Dellert on top and Christ White below. Very good headshots.
2. The person has to have a website that actually works and doesn't take forever to use.
3. They can't be already booked on September 27th.
Unfortunately, no one really met all the criteria, but I think we're on the right track. Does anyone know someone who's killed at a few open mics and wants to get some more experience?
Oh, everyone should also google Larry Poon. He's pretty funny, if your tastes are more in the Neil Hamburger line of things. Apparently he's on a "Poonified" tour of Europe during my birthday, although that might be a joke on his website.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Yeah, people assume I have kids.
I had one class today and have three tomorrow. Today was mostly about making small talk to find out what people did for the summer. So far I think I've talked to one person whose job was anywhere near as interesting as mine, but I can't tell you what he did because it's top secret information at the company. Zing! My job's not top secret, though: I learned everything I could about Copper Fox Distillery and tried to sell more Wasmund's Single Malt Whisky than I drank. An amazing experience and I wish everyone could spend a summer doing exactly what they wanted.
In other news, today is Brucetravis's birthday (speaking of other people who are Built to Slaughter). He's 33 and celebrated by sending me a list of hundreds of words that start with "th". No, "thenerd" and "theloser" and "thefattestcyclistinthemidatlantic" didn't make the list, even though they're appropriate to for the birthday boy. Happy birthday!
(In case you've never met Brucetravis, here's a picture of him with his twin brother.)
Sunday, August 24, 2008
1. Mary noted that she and Katherine could easily pass for being younger than they are. In fact, she said, "We could all pass for younger than our age!" This was news to me, as no one has ever believed me to be anything less than five years older than my real age. Mary apologized for her mistake.
2. Everyone agreed that at some point you have to start cutting your hair short to be an adult, but no one really knows what that age is. I suggested 16, since that's when I started losing mine, which garnered much sympathy.
Not much else to report on the birthday party front. We're bottling the IPA tonight and moving the Oktoberfest to secondary. Will hopefully report on initial tastings later on!
Friday, August 22, 2008
The piece was about how Dave would react to the same situation at 18, 24, and 30. It all rang pretty true for me: the 18-year-old was a sensitive loser, the 24-year-old is all rock'n'roll, and the 30-year-old is stuffy. Best of all, the 24-year-old's life philosophy was "Hey, hey, hey, hey, smoke weed every day."
Does everyone else glorify their 24-year-old self? I imagine that at some point when I'm 40 I'll look back and think that guy was a loudmouth prima donna, but now he seems pretty cool. Meeting girls, making more money than I should, going out all the time, reading really challenging books, watching rodeo, and running in shorts all winter. As mentioned in a previous post, I also had a beard at 24.
Almost as curious, I wonder if 50-year-olds look back 20 years and think that person is awesome. I probably won't, since being awesome probably requires having a job.
I was training for the Marine Corps Marathon at the time, so I ran about 22 miles in the morning, then came home and ate a whole watermelon on the front porch. At some point, various people came over to the house for an afternoon party, although I'm not really sure who was involved. Justin Jarboe was definitely there, because I know he had pictures of me hitting a pinata.
This was my "beard" phase, so I have a red, scraggly beard in the pictures. Delightful.
All in all, it was a pretty good day, and as low-key as you can get and still have a pinata. I guess it's just one of those parties that you forget about over the years.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Then, I saw an e-mail announcing this amazing event: http://www.capitalcriterium.com! This promises to be a perfect start to the birthday week, with a big-time bike race in downtown DC on September 21st. Best of all, the prize list for the pro race is going to be $50,000. With that much money at stake, it's quite possible that I'll have a good chance to break out my Danny "The Pate" Pate t-shirt, last seen during stage 15 of the Tour de France!
Honestly, I think this event can be amazing. It shows what happens when the mayor, a well-connected cycling club, and some big businesses all get together. I never thought I'd see DC streets close for a bike race after September 11, especially so close to the White House, so this is a promising sign that a nice level of sanity is coming back to downtown DC.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
It was especially appropriate for us, as Paul noted that the course description is something only an MBA could write: "The back nine is a true test of accuracy and perseverance. Dense woods on either side of the narrow fairways will show how much confidence you have in your driver. Postage stamp greens and large elevation changes combine to force risk/reward decisions on every shot."
Indeed. We weren't very accurate and spent a lot of time chasing balls in the woods, where I displayed my skill at finding balls. At one point, after finding four balls on one hole (none of which were ours), Paul said, "I don't care how old they say you are, you've still got the eagle eye!" Yeah!
See, it doesn't matter how old I get, as long as I don't lose my valuable skills. What other valuable skills? Oh, you know, things like looking good in khakis, keeping my hair cut short, reading the Post, and going to bed early. I think I'll adjust to being 30 just fine.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Long thought to be extinct, rumors are swirling that at least a handful of people still make a living off of fishing in the Chesapeake. Even more surprising, this is in addition to the enterprising souls leading northern snakehead fishing expeditions! We're hoping to see some of these few survivors of a bygone era and taste their delicious haul. I can't speak for both of us, but I plan on having hardshell crabs for breakfast.
It's a little surprising to think about places I've gone to chillax for a few days over the years. In college, almost any days off from school were an excuse to go to San Francisco. Then, in my early 20's (also known as the Bronze Age), Jack and I got in the habit of heading to Philadelphia on long weekends. Katherine and I have strangely become big fans of rural Maryland. We spend lots of time talking about the woods where they filmed the Blair Witch Project and looking at cool birds.
I guess this is what it's like to get old: you stay closer and closer to home. By the time I'm 35, I expect to never leave Ward 4 except for special occasions. Maybe Rock Creek Park will be our ritual birthday destination.
See you on Wednesday!
Saturday, August 16, 2008
*The Man in the Pointy Hat Blowing on a Thing
*Oh, Yeah, I'm Hitting the Pinata
*Pin Your Tail on Me
*Twister is Weak
*Moon Bounce Adventures
*Moon Bounce Adventures 2
*P.S. Bring Your Friends
*Lawn Dart Stud (note: this one is also a thriller)
*Moon Bounce Adventures 3
*The Only Gift I Want is a Hardy Boys Book (note: gay)
As you can guess, some of these will only get a novella treatment, since they're a little too simple for a full novel.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Yeah, who knew, right? According to various internet searches, Curt Fortin is some sort of a Dutch celebrity. Born in Aruba, he's now living in the Netherlands and hosting a video show or something. Naturally, he appears to be a Miami Dolphins fan, which I also was at the ripe age of seven. I thought people grew out of being Dolphins fans and matured into cold-weather team fans (or at least Redskins fans). I guess I was wrong.
Anyway, it's always good to see Aruba in the news. In response to Greg Damage's comment on an earlier thread, I'm including more pictures relating to Aruba. Like this one:
Or, what do you think about this one?
Screw Curt Fortin, these guys are making 30 look old. Ouch.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Group parties can be tough things. Will the different groups of friends mingle, or will everyone stand around in separate circles? Will some people get lots of presents and others get none? Will one person's friends be lots better at pitching horseshoes?
Typically, horseshoe-pitching skills wouldn't matter too much, but Adam's neighbor has ingeniously installed a horseshoe pit in their backyard! Granted, there's no above-ground pool to go with it, but these are the sorts of things that make for a great party. Sure, anyone can have music and beer, but horseshoes take it to a whole other level. Oh, Adam and his friends also smoked a pig. That's not chips and salsa, folks, that's a whole pig!
I'm not even going to try to top Adam's party, but he has set the standard. Will a stand-up comedian measure up to a smoked pig? Will the go-go iPod mix measure up to horseshoes? Does having a blog add anything whatsoever to a party? Will it make my party better or worse if I spend all night crying? We'll see.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
So, I headed out to Home Depot and bought 24 feet of 4x6's, got them cut to the right size, and put them out back. After about an hour of raking, digging, and trimming, I finally had the old border torn up and the new one put in. It's far from perfect, but it's a dramatic improvement.
This is the sort of thing we're going to be doing up until September 27 to make sure that everyone has a great time. Other small projects include painting the front porch and re-glazing some windows that rattle. And, if we're lucky, and if my guy Vinny comes over soon, we might have a VERY big improvement to show off...
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
So, how will Sam be celebrating his 51st birthday? With a happy hour at Skye Lounge! I've never been to Skye, but it is a "lounge", which makes me a little apprehensive. I don't have any clothes to wear to a lounge. For instance, I'm wearing a new H&M t-shirt every day this week (just $5.90 each during the sales tax holiday!), but the Washington Post review of Skye says that most of the clientele are wearing suits. Hmmm...
To his credit, Sam did try to have this party at Pizzeria Paradiso, but decided it was too small. I like this thinking: boldly assuming you're going to have way too many people for a regular bar is great! And, his wife's e-mail also said they decided on Skye because it has outdoor seating and great happy hour specials, both of which are excellent decision factors. Finally, it's Metro-accessible. Great choice!
Frankly, I'm just glad it's not at the Tombs.
Happy birthday, Sam!
Monday, August 11, 2008
It turns out the party was in a house Paul lived in way back in the late '90's. It's been a group house ever since, but the owner finally decided to kick everyone out, fix it up, and charge market rates for the property. Punk rock is dead on Swann Street. I guess I'm surprised it actually lasted this long.
(By the way, is Swann Street where that married man got murdered while having an illicit tryst with two gay gentlemen a few years back?)
Oh, so the party was pretty fun. They had an astounding SIX kegs! Not a chance of getting through those. They also had some very dusty bottles of madeira and some type of Greek licorice liqueur that were pretty foul.
The best, though, was running into my friend Carrie who I hadn't seen in years. I told her I needed our mutual friend's e-mail address so I could invite her to my 30th birthday party, at which point Carrie actually shot beer up her nose and all over the place, while exclaiming, "You're not thirty yet?!" It was awesome.
Someone else heard I was turning 30 and fantastically deadpanned, "I don't think you'll have a very big adjustment to make." I don't really know what he meant, but I appreciated it.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
We designed the 'Fest to be pretty malty, with a base of pilsner and munich malts and a pound each of crystal 60 and victory for character. It's got a deep red color to it (just what we like in a marzen), a little chocolate-y taste, and very mild bitterness.
At this point, the only question is how the yeast comes through. We should have a good feel for this when we taste it in two weeks.
We also moved the IPA to secondary fermentation today, dry-hopping it with whole-leaf Cascades. It's wonderful at this point: amber color, very dry, nice pine-y bitterness, and a very clean yeast character. Excellent! Oh, it's 5.3% ABV. Looking forward to drinking this one.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
After an epic drive down the Suitland Parkway, we headed down Route 5 to LaPlata (motto: "Not Waldorf.") for lunch at Johnny Boy's Ribs. Johnny Boy's is just a shack on the side of the road with some picnic tables. The ribs were fantastic, with great bark on the side, a nice smoke line, and perfectly spicy sauce. Sides were okay, but not nearly as good as the ribs.
I finished off lunch by washing my face with a moist towelette. Don't think I'll do that again.
From there, we went out to Nanjemoy Creek for some birdwatching. Sounds boring, right? Wrong. It's awesome. We watched bald eagles for a while and saw some osprey diving for fish, then took a little hike and saw some young eagles fly past about twenty feet away. There are pictures somewhere, probably with the Hooter's waitress pictures from my 25th birthday. Gotta look for those.
Friday, August 8, 2008
That's right, the tallest major leaguer in history and ex-Nationals bullpen stalwart has the exact same birthday as me. I think this means that we're brothers, which makes sense, since I was the tallest person on my intramural basketball team in college. And, my intramural basketball team was the worst team in our league, much like the Nats. The similarities are endless.
Of course, Rauch was traded a few weeks ago, but it's impossible to say who he plays for now. Every time I try to find out, I get distracted with stories about Lopez Lomong, whose brave flag-carrying has vaulted him to the top of the list of potential veep picks for both McCain AND Obama. Interesting.
Oh, but I digress. My point here is that very few actual celebrities share my birthday. Heck, without a big effort, I could probably make myself the most famous person in the world born on September 27, 1978. It's time to hatch a plan.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
For those of you who don't know, Blelvis ("The Black Elvis") is a slightly neurotic street entertainer who's been around DC for years. Actually, if youtube is any guide, he's been around since at least 1988. (Does Blelvis have a wikipedia page? Why am I too lazy to actually check?) His schtick is that he knows the lyrics to every Elvis song ever recorded and he asks you to name a song for him to sing. Of course, you know you can't stump him and you sort of want to walk away, but then he asks you for one word and says he can sing a song about it. It's amazing. I think I've done "hot dogs", "Christmas trees", and "diamonds" and gotten a legitimate Elvis song every time. He also works in some jokes and gives a little story about his background, then you give him a few dollars and he goes on his merry way.
Seeing Blelvis is always a treat.
Anyway, I've been talking for years about having him be the entertainment at a party. Unfortunately, I just can't decide if it's a good idea. Like, no one has ever felt threatened by him, but there's always the risk that he's a drug addict who would steal stuff from my house. (It happens. Lindsay Lohan stole stuff from one of my friend's houses in LA. Addicts do stuff like that.) A bigger risk is that he wouldn't leave or would start sleeping on my porch or something. I have no idea.
The potential pay-off, though, is that I think I could force him to unveil his new character that he's been talking about for years: Blincoln. I'm totally serious. Is it worth it? Let the commenters decide!
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
She was telling me that it was good to go to school now, do different things, go while I can, etc., etc., and asked how old I was. I told her I was 28 and she commented that I seemed older than that. Then, in an amazing moment, she said that her husband had recently said that he really enjoyed being in his 50s and felt like he had always been a 50-year-old trapped in a young man's body. And, she told me that I was probably the same way: born to be 50.
Good times! I would say I was probably born to be 35, if I had to say, but 50 seems a little steep!
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
1. It's prohibitively expensive to get a cask of Troeg's for a party, so we'll be going with a keg. He said that in the future, if I wanted to start getting cask-conditioned ales in my house, I should buy my own cask and get breweries to fill it up. Hmmmm, maybe next year.
2. The delicious Sunshine Pils is all sold out at the brewery, so anything I find now will be old by September 27. This means that even if we decide to go with a Troeg's product, it won't be the Pils. It sounds like Hopback Amber might be just the stuff!
Should I invite the rep to the party? More stuff to think about...
Monday, August 4, 2008
But, I do remember when Katherine turned 30 and kept seeing lists of things she was supposed to have already done, like go to Vegas without a hotel room or skydive or run a marathon. (Does any thought go into these books? As far as I can tell, the only thing you should definitely make sure you've done is lose your virginity before you're 30 and everything else will take care of itself. I've heard that if you don't do this, you're destined for a career as a butler or manservant of some sort.) Nonetheless, all those books are out there, and I'm always a little surprised that I've done nearly everything on the lists, or something very equivalent. For instance, I'll substitute "start going bald at 16" for "dye your hair a crazy color".
Anyway, I guess the reason I'm not panicked about turning 30 is because I don't feel like I have anything else I need to squeeze in, partly because I've had some good adventures so far, but also because I don't really see adventures stopping. Like, I can't work at my current job for the rest of my life, because I don't have a job. Take that, world.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Why was he so hungover? Because yesterday's party practice was a raging success! I think we need to work on food (a slice at Manny and Olga's may not have been enough), but everything else was excellent. Drink selection and pacing was extremely impressive. Somehow, we mixed together Wasmund's Single Malt Whisky, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Miller Lite, and Jameson's and kept it rocking until a stunning 3am! We might have rolled even later, but The We Are Scientists kicked us out of their dressing room so they could drive to Columbus, Ohio.
The trunk show was a smash. Great turnout and the Barking Irons guys are fantastic. Big ups to all the Wasmund's fans who came out. In case anyone's curious, the drink I was serving is: mint muddled in a glass, a shot of Wasmund's, two shots of Honest Ade Orange Mango, a shot of club soda, and ice. Or, you can always use Wasmund's to make my favorite cocktail: a glass full of whisky, with a dash of witty conversation. Enjoy!
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Extra bonus: the large drinks at the Georgetown theater are 44 ounces, which is a LOT of Diet Coke. It almost lasted me the whole movie. Impressive.
Friday, August 1, 2008
Practice will start at 5:30pm at Redeem, the clothing boutique on 14th St. NW, between R and S Streets. Wasmund's Single Malt Whisky is sponsoring a trunk show for Barking Irons. Barking Irons is two New York guys who make clothes based on the '90s...the 1890s. I guess it's more Gangs of New York than Grover Cleveland, if I had to say. Anyway, I'll be there pouring Wasmund's until about 8 or 9 or something.
Then, the second part of practice (yeah, we do two-a-days this early in the season) will happen across the street at the Black Cat. Everyone's favorite two-piece-plus-two We Are Scientists is playing. In case you don't know what they're all about, here's a pretty informative video of them.
Of course, We Are Scientists isn't playing at my party, so this is mostly to practice our heckling. See you there!
Thursday, July 31, 2008
I do remember one birthday where my mom had a big piece of butcher paper (did other people have butcher paper around the house?) on the table and told all the guests to write something on it. The premise was that I wasn't supposed to see what they wrote, but would then be allowed to look at it when I turned 16. This had several faults, including:
1. Could my hillbilly friends actually write anything? And would I ever learn to read?
2. Wouldn't I have been too embarassed to actually talk to my parents when I as 16?
3. Where, exactly, was this piece of paper going to stay for the next 8 to ten years?
Needless to say, I never saw this paper again. I suspect there were lots of drawings of race cars, but I can't say for sure. So, if John Owens, Blair Williams, Brett Gayer, Leon Spears, or anyone else remembers this party, please leave a comment about what you wrote. If you wrote something dumb, feel free to change it to be funny.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
For my 25th, I requested that all attendees wear t-shirts with my name on them. It was pretty high concept (well, for a 25 year old) and appropriately narcissistic. Not everyone made a shirt, but enough people did to prove that the concept worked.
Instead of having people bring gifts, Patrick arranged for everyone to write complaint/compliment letters to the manufacturers of various products that I enjoy. Then, over the course of the next few months, I got the following personalized letters:
1. a weird thank you note from Andre champagne (the "letterhead" was a cutout of the Andre label taped onto plain white paper)
2. a letter from Tony Kornheiser saying that, yes, his name should be pronouned "Korn-heezer, as in 'geezer'" (why, oh why, didn't I frame this?)
3. a postcard from Jonathan Franzen apologizing for all the typos in my copy of the Corrections...and a paperback "corrected" version...from New Zealand!
4. some random coupons for Glad products
For drinks, I bought a case of Andre champagne. I think that we had something like 20 people in my one-bedroom basement apartment and went through just under 20 bottles of the stuff.
Finally, after finishing up at my place, everyone piled in two cabs and went to Hooters for wings and Miller Lite. Somewhere around my house I've got pictures of me with our waitress. If I remember correctly, I'm wearing a tie. I don't know why.
This party is going to be tough to beat, but I'm thinking that a standup comic should push my 30th over the top. Of course, I'm always open to suggestions. Keep the comments coming!
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Anyway, there is a good cycling anecdote from a few years back. I was having dinner with some teammates after the criterium at the Seaford Stage Race out in Delaware. One teammate (who shall remain unnamed) commented that he thought cycling made people look younger than they actually were. To prove it, he said that he thought I looked like I was 33. Whoops! This means that he thought I was somewhere around 36-40 years old.
Of course, I was 26 at the time.
Monday, July 28, 2008
If FedEx Field holds about 90,000 people, then this means that practice draws a third of the crowd for real events. Doing some quick calculations from other parties Katherine and I have thrown in recent years, we see that the real event (my 30th Birthday on September 27) figures to be pretty good.
Here are the practice parties with their attendance:
Labor Day 2006: 30 people
New Year's 2007: 20 people (many of them in tuxedoes)
Labor Day 2007: 35 people (and half-smokes)
New Year's 2008: 15 people
July 4th 2008: 10 people (not an ounce of planning went into this party)
Adding all these numbers up, then multiplying by 3, it looks like we can expect a crowd of at least 330, without adjusting for the weak dollar or the presence of a standup comedian. Don't miss it!
Sunday, July 27, 2008
We've done some preliminary planning and can confirm the following things:
1. We Are Scientists has decided to play in Torino, Italy, with REM and not in the basement of my house. This is obviously a mistake on their part and they have expressed their sincerest regret, but I wish them the worst. If any faithful readers and birthday party attendees happen to run into The We Are Scientists on August 2 at the Black Cat, please heckle them ruthlessly. Make them cry.
2. We're trying to get a standup comic to tell jokes. Unlike my blog, this might actually be funny.
3. There will be a keg, plus some homebrews, plus some limoncello, plus plenty of Wasmund's Single Malt Whisky. (Note to We Are Scientists: good luck finding Wasmund's in Italy, suckers! Have fun hanging out with REM's roadies.)
There are some other fun things in the works, but I can't confirm them right now. Nonetheless, I'll happily mention the following things to start some rumors: half smokes, Fuggles the cat in a party hat, the Redskins Cheerleaders, Manute Bol, breakdancing, wiffle ball, Brother O'Dell Pass the Biscuits Pappy O'Daniels, and Blelvis.