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May 01, 2008

"It's that birthday after 39 and before the rest."

Later this month I turn 40.

It's not like I didn't see this coming.

To quote Scrooge, Ebenezer not McDuck, "Humbug."

Most of the time with birthdays I try to keep my head down and plow right through to just get it over with. (A strategy that I also employ with Christmas for similar reasons.) Alas, this one is a bit more monumental.


My 30th was marked by dinner and drinks at "The Outback" in Whitemarsh, Maryland. The earlier part of the evening was fine but as drinks were offered up with no right of refusal things became a bit blurry. I do remember my co-worker Lance attempting to poison me with a mudslide followed by a shot of Sambuca which I managed to dodge but a nearby potted plant didn't.

40 however is something different. For some it's a halfway point. For others it's two thirds. For some it's at a point you never thought you would reach. Our society has, at least for men, marked it as a time to examine your selfworth and your accomplishments.


I've been doing a lot of reading about what some people have done with their 40th birthdays. In one of those strange pieces of irony that proves, once again, that God has an inifinite sense of humor, I actually recovered a file from an old hard drive a couple of weeks ago that had some notes on what I wanted for my 40th birthday. Most of it reads like what I currently hope my wake will be like. (With a few changes here and there.) Despite this the question remains of what to do.

I'm going to try to figure that out over the next couple of weeks. We'll see how it goes.


Posted by Jim at 07:48 AM | Comments (0)

May 02, 2008

"You told them what?"

Among the most unforgiveable sins I surely face eternal damnation for is the surprise party I surprised my grandmother with when I was 6. I had spent the week before "inviting" all the girls in my 1st grade class to the event but had neglected to ask permisson of, inform, hint or warn my grandmother until about an hour before "the ladies" were due to show up.

I can't imagine having Jack do this to me but despite the sheer terror of the moment my poor grandmother actually tried to pull it off. She made a cake and then explained what happened to each little girl's mom as they pulled up. A few stayed for a while but most left without getting out of the car.

Both sides of the equation, grandson and grandmother, were pretty scarred by this. We didn't have any sort of party for my birthday that I can remember for at least 3 more years.

I got in bucketloads of trouble after the "party" was over. I remember tears and a spanking but mostly it was the heaping amounts of guilt my grandmother smothered me in that left me dreading birthday parties to this day. Even now the thought of them gives me hives.

If there's one thing being older gives you it's perspective. Typing that last paragraph is like opening a window in the spring and letting fresh air into a musty house. It's a bit carthartic.

Posted by Jim at 08:07 AM | Comments (0)

May 03, 2008

"Jack Scared 1, Dad's Movie Picks 0."

I am an idiot.

Jack had seen two movies before today. Both were kids movies and both were well received. He was well behaved and sat reasonably still through both. He didn't spill his drink or popcorn and was as good as could be.

For the last couple of months Jack's interest in Iron Man has been building as the press machine has been grinding it's gears. He thought the trailer was cool. I got him some of the little Marvel characters to play with including Iron Man. All in all he seemed on board to see the movie.

Big mistake.

The big difference is sound. Lots of it. The noise level had Jack pretty spooked. I'm betting he doesn't sleep well tonight. If he doesn't it's all my fault.

All child enducing terror aside the movie was fantastic and big credits go to Robert Downey Jr. for taking on the role. Hopefully when the DVD comes out I can catch the final scene that I had to miss.

Posted by Jim at 04:32 PM | Comments (0)

"Don't be surprised by packages arriving in the mail."

One of the things I've decided to do with my 40th is to pass some things along.

I've spent the last couple of months moving things around and going through them. (Which despite my efforts seems to have hardly made a dent.) In the process I've uncovered some items here and there that actually mean something to me but that I think I want some other people to have.

A few are books. I weeded out a gigantic haul of books to the local library and my half price bookstore a while ago but there are some choice volumes that I need to find some homes for. A couple are valuable but most aren't. A few I'm boxing for Jack for when he gets older but I'm trying to cull the herd to a far more manageable size.

Odd knicknacks make up a significant chunk. They're things that meant something to me but if I were to keel over tomorrow would doubtless be thrown in a dustbin. I always marvel at little things at estate sales that have no value but were obviously kept for years by someone who had a memory attached to them. Before mine get pawed over by bargain hunters someday I want to actually have a hand in their placement to better homes.

My movie collection is pointlessly large. Most of what I own is shown with depressing regularity on cable TV. Numerous viewings have only strengthened the arguement that most anything shot in color isn't worth the time you would invest in it. I'm making up a list of movies and matching it with some people so if a small parcel of movies shows up you'll have to guess the theme because I'm not telling.

My CD collection, vast and epic, is boxed up and sulks in the corner like a dozy fat relative that demands attention but whom you know is nothing but far more work than will ever pay off. I'm going to rip it all once more onto a hard drive and then ship most of it off a la the movies. You may, if you receive any, feel free to use them as coasters.

There's more but you get the drift. Be on the lookout.

Posted by Jim at 11:39 PM | Comments (0)