Thursday, July 31, 2008

More melancholy birthday recollections...

Oddly, I don't really recall many birthdays from the elementary school era. I have vague recollections of going to a high school football game, and I've certainly heard plenty of stories about the time I had cheesecake for my birthday cake and no one else would eat it, but that's about it. I guess I'm now forced to face the harsh truth that it's hard to remember stuff that happened 20 to 25 years ago. (This will probably work in my favor when I no longer remember high school when I'm 45. That day can't come soon enough.)

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

Reminiscing about my 25th birthday

Well, my 30th (on September 27th!!!) should be a pretty inspired birthday, but can it top my 25th?

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

No, it's not a compliment when you say I look like I'm 33.

A commenter on a previous post asked for more cycling-related posts. This is a little difficult, since I had to retire this season. According to USA Cycling, your "racing age" (the age that's on your license) is the age you'll be on December 31 of that year. So, this season my racing age would've been 30, which would mean that I could race in the "masters" categories. Yeah, right. No self-respecting 29-year-old would do those old man races. No way was I going to line up with guys who's primary concern was that races start early so they can finish up and go do chores around the house. Whatever.

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

28,000 for practice?!

Yesterday's Post had some good coverage of the 'Skins scrimmage game on Saturday out in Ashburn. You didn't go? Really? Well, 28,000 other people did! That's right: 28,000 people watched practice! I would make a lot of comments about how ridiculous this is, but it's probably just as well to let Allen Iverson speak my mind for me:

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

You're invited!

Did I mention that everyone who reads this blog is invited to my birthday party on September 27? What? Yeah, what!

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.

Friday, July 25, 2008

This blog will start in two days!

Nope, nothing to report yet. I'm going to start posting on July 27 and will stop on September 27. It's going to be a lot like those people who "live blog" events like rodeos and political conventions, only it will last for two months and the topic is only interesting to me. Things like RSS feeds, Twitter messages, and pictures will probably not happen, because I'm much too old to know how to actually make those things work. Come back in a few days to see what happens!