Music for this week:
Kangding Qingge (Old Timey Dance Party), Abigail Washburn and the Sparrow Quartet
It's my birthday today, so I'm going to record what it's been like for me to turn 25.
Every year since a long while now, I've had friends who had birthdays in close proximity to mine, and we've celebrated them jointly. This year was no exception, though the full complement of friends was not there, sadly, since several have moved to the coasts. My roommate and I, however, invited all the friends we could think of to our house to celebrate with us--she a day after, me six days before the actual birthday. We ordered massive amounts of pizza, ate people's baked goods, chips, dips, and other things. I drank about three root beers from glass bottles, my favorite thing. My roommate and I opened all our presents in front of everyone; she got mostly books (typography, visual art, comics), I mostly DVDs (Star Trek VI & Star Trek [JJ Abrams reboot], Venture Bros., Black Orpheus) as is fitting for folks with our interests. We somehow convinced all thirty-or-so people to play a party game together, The Bowl Game (Three Part Charades), and though it only lasted one round, we all had fun.
I've never managed to bring multiple groups of friends together to one party; I'm not a great party host (yet) and when I do have parties, it tends to be for just people I know from work, or from church, or from school. This party was the first real exception, and it was awesome. Making an introduction where you know each person is going to be happier for knowing the other is a fantastic feeling, and this party was the place for that. That feeling alone made turning 25 feel special.
Here are some other things that has made this birthday great so far: friends who realized they couldn't make the party all collaborating to take me out to a delicious dinner, cards from the grandparents, a joint valentine/birthday card & gift (traditional) from my parents, cupcakes and books to borrow from a friend at work (some long-form non-fiction, which I've been meaning to read more of but needed suggestions for), and the anticipation of a short road trip to camp with a friend this afternoon, of seeing my non-Chicago-residing sister at camp this evening, and of a bro-sis movie night with my Chicago-residing sister next week. Truly, it is good to be 25.
I'll end with this, a great thing a friend wrote about me for everyone to see; it made me feel special on my birthday (warning, minor inside jokes ahead):
Here are some facts about James:
1. FACT: James writes sweet lists about his friends and family on their birthdays. I am shamelessly stealing this idea from him.
2. FACT: James used to sit in the elevator of our dorm on Saturday nights with his guitar and play beautiful music for drunk people. Whenever he got a request, he would say mysteriously, "I don't play songs, only music." It was badass.
3. FACT: James is a seriously funny guy (cf. The Shea Butter Joke Incident of 2010).
4. FACT: James has a gift for the epigram. For example, he once consoled me by pointing out that "every breakup is different; each one is its own unique snowflake of pain."
5. FACT: James has impeccable taste. Without him, no one in Hale House would have discovered the crazy magic of Andy Palacio's "Watina."
6. FACT: He's a straight-up, all-around, off-the-charts nice guy. James, you're a swell dude and we're lucky to know you. Happy birthday, buddy.
Note: The Shea Butter Joke went as follows. What the heck is a shea, and how does it give us butter? Is it a sea creature? It sounds like a kind of shellfish to me. I can see it now, the traditional shea farmer/diver, speaking to his child, "Come, son, it is time to rise, don your wetsuit and scuba gear, and go forth into the sea to milk the mysterious shea of the deep, that we might have its butter to rub on our hands." This I generated on the spot at my friend's house on the sight of a bottle of shea butter soap, to the surprise and amusement of both of us.