Tidal waves of updates -- trickles of meaningful content.

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    Wednesday, June 26, 2002

    Now With Comments!

    OK, quick post, because I went swimming today, and now my whole body hurts. Why, you ask? Well, because I'm an out of shape desk jockey-telemarketer, that's why!

    Anyway, I finally was able to get comments in the hiz-ouse, thanks to a link from the nice people over at Blogger. I don't know if anyone will ever use these things, but it's comforting for me to know they're there. Don't ask why. But after being a guest star on Joey's journal for a bit, I really wanted them even more. Now everyone gets to complain!

    OK, now it's bed time. Tomorrow, we're doing the Berlin Blight Tour Redux. It's gonna be sweet, because now I can buy us booze.
    posted at 8:15 PM

    Monday, June 24, 2002

    Someone Needs To Stop Me From Buying Things

    Today Chris, Matt and I took a trip down to Circuit City. I wasn't planning on buying anything because of my hatred for their inability to get things in on time, but I ended up getting stuff anyway. That's what having a credit card does to you, I suppose. I picked up the "About A Boy" soundtrack, "This Year's Model" by Elvis Costello and "Lola vs. Powerman And The Moneygoround" by the Kinks. All three albums are excellent.

    Then we found out that there was some kind of loophole in the Connecticut state law banning fireworks, and that certain types of fireworks are now legal here. Thus, the theme of this summer will be known as "Summer 2002: Booze And Fireworks."

    In other news, I got a $50 room damage charge from BU today, which I will be contesting, mainly to see if they can actually come up with a reason for the charge or if they just wanted to hit me with another fee. I also finally got my L.A. housing questionnaire, which says it's due three days from now. Yeah, right. I'm basically just saying that because they won't let me live with Aimee, the one person I know AND like on the trip, they can put me with anyone (with a few notable exceptions).

    This bothers me. I'm going to be 3,000 miles away from anyone I know in a completely different environment in a completely different time zone, and I can't live with someone I want to because BU assumes all their students do is engage in noisy love-making. Don't get me wrong ... BU's a great school, and I've loved the time I've spent there so far, but sometimes ... sometimes, BU, you just make me hate you. So much.

    posted at 10:46 PM

    Animals Are Stupid

    I think I've learned a valuable lesson about ecosystems so far this summer. I haven't seen spiders in my basement in a long time, which probably means I've killed them all or scared them enough that they don't come 'round no more. Unfortunately, I think I've eliminated the top predator in my basement, because now I see all kinds of smaller, more annoying insects -- these tiny slow beetle things (that REALLY annoy me because they're so damn slow), faster flying beetle things, ants, and that most absurd of insects -- the silverfish.

    To combat this further, smaller, more annoying infestation, I decided to go high-tech, purchasing some of those "pest repeller" things you can plug into outlets. So far, they've worked miserably. I think there's actually a small spider living underneath one of them. So, I've also decided to just charge at these little bugs with a vacuum cleaner every time I see them.

    In other stupid animal news, a stupid animal crawled into an underground transformer in New Britain last night, causing a large explosion that knocked out power for like 2 hours late at night. Power outages are cool during the day, because you can go outside and still do stuff, but at night, the only thing outside is the mosquito, which sucks. IN TWO SENSES OF THE WORD!!! See how clever I am? Sigh.
    posted at 11:31 AM

    Thursday, June 20, 2002

    These Are Friends Of Mine

    My mom totally just told me to "watch my mouth." How awesome is that? Nobody's said that to me since I was like 14.

    Yep. School is out in Berlin, CT, which means that my mom, sister and brother are all home all the time now. This is when the real fun begins. This morning, my mom tried to yell at me for something I hadn't even done yet when she scolded me about not putting away the toaster -- WHILE I WAS TOASTING WAFFLES. Does she have some sort of ability to see into a non-probable future, where I don't put things away? If so, where could I obtain such a power?

    I've gotten a couple of supportive emails and a phone call from Quinne regarding my last whiny post, which were quite nice and unexpected. So, let me assure everyone that I will be all right about this L.A. fiasco. Once B.U. gets off its ass and tells me everything I should already know about the program, I'm sure I'll feel much more secure about the whole ordeal. Quinne even offered temporary use of her laptop, which would save me oh so much money. So yeah, my friends rock, and I really don't have any reason to complain. I think I'm just trying to get all that excess angst out of my system before I have to get a "real adult job."

    I'm pretty much secure in getting time off for 4th of July so I can go visit Boston for a few days. More details when I get them.

    And, before I go sit around outside to enjoy the nice day, I will leave you with what I think is quite possibly the most ridiculous name that has ever existed in human history.

    ***Chandrasekhar Roychoudhuri-Trzepacz***

    See? And you thought I was kidding.
    posted at 10:37 AM

    Tuesday, June 18, 2002

    "When I Get To California / I Will Write My Name In The Sand"

    Well, my hippie aunt just had a baby girl. Her name is Maia Emily Ritchie, and she sounds adorable, as I've only had contact with her via telephone because they live in backwater Maine. I think a bunch of us are going to go up to visit them, which is good because I like my Aunt and even better because I'll get to go to Maine, which was the only New England state I haven't been to. That's right, wily Maine, you can no longer escape my grasp.

    My job still sucks. Michelle, the girl who sometimes sits next to me, said that someone actually said to her, "You're calling my house after 8:00. You should be shot." I mostly got answering machines tonight, which are nice because they don't make threats on your life. Unless you call a crazy person's house.

    For your enjoyment, here are some of the ridiculous names I've had to try to pronounce so far. You'll note that some of them actually don't have any vowels. You can blame the Polish for having an absurd language. I do.

    The one non-Polish name -- Eueuerle
    and the current grand-champion ...

    Over the last day or so, I've also begun second-guessing my decision to go to Los Angeles next semester, which I'm pretty good at doing. I know it will be good for my career, I'm guaranteed an internship, and I'm sure it will be a great experience, but sometimes it seems like there are just so many cons to the pros. I won't get to live with Grant Myers in the Village next year (probably), I'll miss SlowKids auditions and a show, I'll miss all my other Boston friends for half my senior year, I have to take a summer class that meets Monday-Thursday at 8AM, and I have to work this crappy job because I need a lot of money to live in L.A.

    I think the part that's been getting to me lately, as I hate my job, is that if I wasn't going to L.A., I totally wouldn't have had to work at all this summer. I would have saved the absurd $700 charge for a class at CCSU, I wouldn't have had to worry about a plane ticket or shipping my stuff across the continent, and I wouldn't have to save up for living expense money for next semester, as I'd still have my work-study and teaching assistant jobs. I'm also upset that I won't get to take as many production classes at BU, either. I mean, when else am I going to get the chance to have a full AVID editing suite at my fingertips? Probably never, that's when.


    I think the main character of "The Perks of Being A Wallflower" is rubbing off on me. Yeah, the book is a bit juvenile, especially when you read it after "A Confederacy of Dunces," but hey, it takes place in a high school. The kid has some good experiences and interesting thoughts, but he whines and cries all the freakin' time, which is pretty annoying. I still liked it, I just don't know if I'd recommend it as much as I recommend some other books.

    And now that I've gone completely off on a tangent, I will end this post.
    posted at 6:56 PM

    Monday, June 17, 2002

    Why Indie Rock Is So Cool

    So, I'm sitting here, listening to some Andrew Bird and writing a letter to Matt. Why is this interesting? Because this letter is a three page list of bands and albums that I think Matt would like, complete with mini reviews of everything I'm talking about.

    Now, there are a lot of things to not like about the indie rock scene. In many ways, its trendiness can be more annoying than the mainstream music scene, because it's basically these people who all think they're being different and independent when they're really just flocking to whatever's just been declared the "next big thing." The snobbery can often be ridiculous and difficult to stomach. Not that I haven't gotten some sort of bizarre pleasure in knowing about bands that no one else does, but this -- what I'm doing right now -- is what I really love about indie rock ... or, in my case, as I like music that sounds good, indie pop.

    Most people who like indie music are really into music itself. Like they really care about what they're listening to, and they don't just pick something up because the single sounded catchy. I can still remember way back in Freshman year, when my ex-roommate Joey was playing a really interesting CD. I asked him who it was, and he told me it was Neutral Milk Hotel, then proceeded to give me all sorts of background on the album and why he liked it so much. In an odd twist of events, one of the weird indie musicans I liked -- Brian Dewan -- did all the artwork for the CD. This enthusiasm for music is catchy. I ended up getting into some of the bands he listened to a lot, and the last time I was over his apartment, I saw a framed copy of Talking Heads' 77 on his wall.

    Music means more when you learn about it through people you know and trust than when you just randomly hear it on the radio or watch MTV. When I made Shayna's mix CD, I was thinking about her and what I thought she would like. While I'm writing this letter, I'm thinking about Matt and what he would like. When someone likes an album you consider a piece of art that's close to you, there's a bond that's formed between you and the other person -- a sort of shared understanding. And I know it feels great to have someone come up to you and say, "Hey, you should really check out the New Pornographers. I definately see you liking them."

    So yeah. Indie music. It's not about the tight jeans or the ironic tee shirts or the horn-rimmed glasses. It's about the music ... and the people, man. Rock.

    Jeez -- What am I going to do when I graduate and music doesn't mean this much to anyone, anymore?

    In other news, I've been reading like crazy these past few days. I FINALLY finished "A Confederacy of Dunces," which was wonderful and I started reading "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," which is also wonderful in its own way. "American Gods" is next on the list. I forgot how nice it is to read for pleasure. That wonderful feeling you get when you get to the last page of a good book, and you turn through all the blank pages until you reach the back cover, and you just close the book, put it down and smile.

    In a weird coincidence, when I was done reading a section of "Wallflower," where the main character was talking about the Simon and Garfunkel song "Scarborough Fair" and how it reminds him of winter, my dad called down into the basement and told me I had to go get hot dog rolls. When I got into the car, what song comes on? "Scarborough Fair." And I'd never even heard that song before. Weird, huh?

    Oh, and the score is now:
    Casey: 11
    Spiders: 3
    posted at 4:50 PM

    Wednesday, June 12, 2002

    An Interesting Response, Perhaps

    So today I went to my sister's elementary school to watch their annual musical, put on by two of my old teachers who were retiring this year. It wasn't any theatrical spectacular, but it was very cute, and I found myself smiling broadly several times during the short show -- mostly because kids are really cute, but also because the show brought back a lot of good memories.

    The 5th grade musical was my first "big acting gig," at least in my eyes. Two years after that, I was given my first comic role in a middle school play, and that pretty much set me on the path that led to where I am today, and where I'd like to be. It's very exciting for me to watch my sister go through the same thing, knowing that during the next few years, she'll probably latch on to something she'll do for the rest of her life. I hope the poems she's started writing will have something to do with it, but I'm sure whatever it is, it'll be good.

    On a completely unrelated and entirely unsentimental note, I was thinking about something today at work. Well, if we get yelled at by people, we're supposed to just be ultra polite and nice and say, "It sounds like I caught you at a bad time, I'll try back later. Thanks for your time and have a good evening." And yes, that's fun to say when people are screaming at you, but I thought, "what would happen if I just started breaking down and crying?"

    Think about it. Someone's all yelling at me for being rude and not being a productive member of society, and I just start bawling, managing to get in little staccato half-sentences about my Mom having terminal cancer and me having to take this job to help pay for her chemotherapy or something. The person who thought they were having a bad day and they could just take it out on me would feel terrible. It would probably ruin their day, if not psychologically scar them forever. They'd definately never yell at another telemarketer again, I could guarantee that. I think I might actually try this before I leave, as some sort of sociological experiment.

    Or, I could just respond with, "yes, sir, I do enjoy bothering people. In fact, I'm not even getting paid right now. I come in every day for five hours solely out of joy it brings my icy, black heart to annoy you for six or seven seconds."
    posted at 8:27 PM

    Tuesday, June 11, 2002

    Subversive Lesson #1: Don't Use Business Cards

    Well, I just saw something that lightened my mood.

    On Dateline NBC this evening, someone was doing a report on Heather Mercer, who was imprisoned in Afghanistan for allegedly proselytizing for an evangelical southern baptist church. When she first came back to the U.S., she denied this charge and said the group she was with were just "aid workers." Now it turns out their mother is saying they WERE on a missionary mission, which was illegal and punishable by death in Taliban Afghanistan.

    Complex moral and political issues aside, the best part came when the NBC correspondant was interviewing Heather. The correspondant asked her, "isn't it true you went to Afghanistan not as an aid worker, but with a covert mission to begin 'planting' churches?"

    Heather rejected the claim, saying she had never wanted the aid group to be on a church-planting mission.

    Then Dateline goes into voice over, saying, "but that's not what one of Heather's business cards, printed before she left, claims." Then they show this full-color business card with Heather dressed up in an Afghan-style robe. And it says in large block letters: "Heather Mercer: Church-Planting In Afghanistan."

    For a second, I felt like I was watching "The Daily Show."

    posted at 9:39 PM

    No Singing In Mudville ... Almost

    I hate Connecticut. I really, really hate Connecticut. Really, really, really hate it.

    Today, I left my house at 1PM to head down to Best Buy to pick up the new They Might Be Giants CD. Best Buy is a big store, and TMBG are a well-known-enough band to warrant their own name labels in stores, so I figured they would have it. I figured wrong. I figured wrong five more times that day, and spent 90 minutes driving around central Connecticut trying to find the CD I'd been looking forward to for so long. Of course, driving put me in a bad mood, because no one was going fast enough or driving reasonably well enough for me, and I was driving my dad's unruly SUV that I hate because a). it swerves all over the place and b). it's a gas guzzler.

    I finally found the disc at Borders. There was one copy on the shelves, and I was made to pay a ridiculous $19 for it. Freakin' $19?!? Who the hell charges that much for CDs anymore? Honestly! But I had to pay it, because I didn't feel like extending my expedition any longer, and my Claritin kicked in, making me really tired. And, as you know, when you're tired, something that would usually only slightly annoy you now annoys the living hell out of you.

    Then I came home and had to lug a giant air conditioner up from the basement. You know what's fun? Not lugging a giant air conditioner up from the basement, that's what.

    Then I was off to work which, as usual, sucked. Now, most people have gotten calls from us telemarketers before, but nobody really knows what's it's like to be on the other end of that call, so let me describe it: You basically get paid every two weeks to sit down every day for three or four hours and have hundreds of people line up in front of you. These people then come up to you at the rate of about five or six a minute, each one of them telling you what a terrible person you are, how you should get a real job, or just flat out screaming at you.

    This is what I do every day.

    But at least the new CD is really good so far. Good thing, too, as it's the last thing I'll be buying for a really, really long time.
    posted at 8:08 PM

    Monday, June 10, 2002


    I was sitting in my pyjamas in the basement, watching a History Channel documentary on punishment before getting into bed. When I got up, I spotted the giant spider that chased me out of my bedroom a few nights prior. It was skulking along the corner of the floor and wall. Knowing this was my chance, I tiptoed across the room -- all the while maintaining eye contact -- and grabbed a heavy box. I carefully positioned it above the spider and dropped it, but it somehow managed to dive out of the way and behind my DVD rack.

    Taking a gamble, I fled upstairs to fetch a broom from the broom closet. Luckily, when I came back downstairs, the spider was still lurking by my copy of "Young Frankenstein." By jerking the DVD rack around, the spider foolishly came out into the open, where I slammed it with my broom, yelling, "Die! Die, you bitch!"

    When I pulled the broom up for a second blow, the spider attempted to run back to the DVDs, but I hit it again, full force. After taking some time to cool down, I unceremoniously disposed of the arachnid corpse by swallowing it up with my vacuum cleaner, a.k.a. the Mobile Spider Graveyard. Now I will try to get some sleep.

    Because of my instinctively saucy taunting of the spider as I killed it, I award myself two extra points.
    And the score is now:
    Casey: 9
    Spiders: 3
    posted at 11:40 PM


    So today was a pretty eventful day. Well, by my standards, at least. I went to a used bookstore with Chris and Matt, where I picked up "The Perks of Being A Wallflower" and made Matt buy Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire's "Oh! The Grandeur!" Then we drove around awhile in the nice Summer afternoon before I came home. My brother and I went to see "Undercover Brother," which was hysterical, and then Matt and I played some Warcraft. But, the biggest development of the day was the end of my long-standing feud with Sovereign Bank.

    It all began last September, when Sovereign charged me $75 for no apparent reason. I pretty much spent the next six months trying to get a straight answer and / or the charges revoked, but they broke my will with their incessant ignorance and ineptitude. Then, a few days ago, I noticed a $35 charge on my credit card -- a credit card which I had not used since mid-May. The final straw having been applied to the proveribal camel's back, I called Sovereign's toll free number and was prompty put on hold for 30 minutes.

    When I finally talked to someone, she made it known that she was new, and had to put me on hold every time I asked her a question. She told me the charge was a late fee, then an annual fee, then a late fee again. I told her I wanted to speak with a supervisor as I had paid off my balance the week before and there was no annual fee on the card last year.

    When I spoke to the manager, I made it known that I wanted the charge credited back onto my account, or I would be cancelling the credit card.

    "Well, Mr. Schneider, we can do that for you, but you have to have the balance paid in full before we can close your line of credit."

    A sigh from my end of the phone. "Fine, what if I just close the whole account, then? I've had nothing but inept service, mysterious charges and overall inconvenience ever since you people took over from BankBoston."

    "We can close your account, sir, but you just need to have all balances paid in full."

    And that was all it took. "Look," I said. "It's becoming painfully clear that I'm not getting anywhere with you. So why don't you stop wasting time for the both of us and put me on the phone with whoever supervises you. "

    There was an awkward silence on her end, then she asked me to hold for one more minute. I agreed, and when she came back on the line, she was miraculously able to get rid of my charge and close the line of credit. Surprise, surprise. I politely thanked her and hung up the phone, thinking about the glorious day later in the summer when I will be done with Sovereign Bank forever.

    Which goes to show you ... you can get anything you want, as long as you make a big enough fuss about it. Words of wisdom before your very eyes!

    But for now, I will be off to bed, but I will set my alarm so I can get up early to get "NO!" as soon as humanly possible. I am so excited about this CD. You have no idea.

    Unless you are also excited, in which case you do have an idea.
    posted at 9:58 PM

    Sunday, June 09, 2002

    Tonight, Chris and Matt called me up and asked if I wanted to go see a movie with them. Chris remembered that I had previously been trumpeting "About A Boy" as one of the best movies I've ever seen, so we went to see that. It's still really, really good. You should see it. No, seriously. I'm not kidding, here.

    I'm happy to say that "About A Boy" has survived the scrutiny of the Second Viewing, and has now moved into that most holiest of pantheons -- my Amazon.com wish list. I also added the accompanying Badly Drawn Boy albums for that sense of completeness only obessive-compulsives need ... right next to the new TMBG CD that comes out on Tuesday (!!!) and the Mr. Show DVD I still have to pick up. It's a good thing I got that credit card, eh?

    In other news, I spent most of the day cleaning, playing Final Fantasy X and reading. Exciting, I know. I have also decided to sleep in my room again this evening, so if I'm dead tomorrow, and my corpse is wrapped in some sort of web-like material, you know what happened. I need to do this to show the Spiders I'm not giving up my room that easily. It's a show of solidarity in these troubled times, or something like that.

    Yeah, read your obituaries.
    posted at 10:05 PM

    Saturday, June 08, 2002


    OK, so apparently BLOGGER actually did what I told it to do, and the archives are now active. It just took a little delay or something. Whatever. I don't care why or how it happened. Let us simply rejoice in the fact that it happened at all and move on before it realizes what's going on. The previous complaint will be maintained for posterity.
    posted at 9:16 PM


    After years of trying, I was finally approved for a credit card. I don't know why everyone else around me got one while I was left with rejection letters, especially seeing as I had no bad credit and no records of late payments of any kind ever. As I opened that envelope from somewhere in Delware -- the Forgotten State, I raised my arms in triumph, yelling "Acceptance!" (Thanks for the image on that one, Crash).

    Big deal, right? Well, for me it is. I live in Connecticut.

    But I'm sure you all could have figured that out on your own.

    Well, as you can see to your left, there is now an archive avaliable. Why BLOGGER has decided to archive entries from two weeks ago but not to archive entries from last week is a total mystery, however. Let us just be happy there are any archives at all.

    This evening, as I was grabbing some blogging music from my basement room, I nearly stepped on a giant wolf spider. My girlish screams caught my brother's attention, and he came down to see what spider I had encountered. When he laid eyes on this beast, he was quoted as saying, "Jesus Christ. That spider's huge!"

    "I wouldn't sleep down here if I were you," he continued.

    We chased the spider into the furnace room, hurling plants, boots and other assorted items at it, but it got away. Needless to say, I will not be sleeping in the basement tonight, as the furnace room is really, really close to my bed. Just one more reason for me to prefer my 15th floor hermetically sealed Boston apartment -- no spiders.

    As the spiders have successfully chased me out of my own room and nearly given me a heart attack, I will award them three points. This brings the score to:
    Casey: 6
    Spiders: 3

    Is another spider retaliation on the horizon? I hope not.

    posted at 8:41 PM

    Wednesday, June 05, 2002


    So today at work, something triggered a memory of someone I used to work with at my old job at Spear Capital Management. His name was Bill. He was a tall, bearded Vietnam vet who rode a motorcycle to work. At this small financial firm, he looked distinctively out of place, but his personality betrayed his intimidating appearance.

    Bill was one of the most approachable, amicable people I've ever met, and he was a master storyteller, to boot. During breaks, he would constantly entertain with tales of near-fatal motorcycle accidents, bar brawls and jungle sniping missions, all with a uniquely black sense of humor. He also liked Wile E. Coyote a lot, which is awesome.

    The thing I remembered for some random reason today was this: During a stretch of account maintainence calls we were making, it seemed like all we were doing was leaving messages on peoples' answering machines. Bill turned to me as he was leaving to get some water and said, "Sometimes I think of what it'd sound like if all the messages I've left on every answering machine went off at the same time. Coast-to-Coast Wild Bill, my friend."

    Unusual as that imagined scenario was, it definately struck me, and has remained ingrained in my memory for a few years now. Just thought I'd like to share.

    posted at 9:06 PM

    Why the hell aren't my archives working?
    posted at 10:32 AM

    Over the last couple of days, I've unfortunately remembered how good a game Final Fantasy X is, so I've been occupying my brother's PlayStation2 pretty much every single minute I'm not working.

    Yesterday I went back to my sister's elementary school for an "Author's Tea." They've got this really great new program where they pick a bunch of talented writers from all over the school, publish their stories in hardcover books and keep them in the school's library. My sister was chosen for some poems she'd written, but really, almost all of the kids who read were very good. There were even a few kids from second grade. SECOND GRADE!

    I just hope these kids realize how great it was to have teachers help guide them through the writing process at such an early age. I think the first short story I wrote was in first or second grade, and I've always been lucky enough to have teachers help me refine and focus my writing -- from elementary school through a few really brilliant college professors. One who even trusted me enough to be her teaching assistant, a job which I was not only pretty damn good at, but also enjoyed immensely. Maybe if I get tired of this whole television thing, I'll find a nice home for myself teaching somewhere. The moral of the story -- Teachers: gotta love 'em. Well, some of them, at least. Especially if they're me.

    Casey: 6
    Spiders: 0
    posted at 10:28 AM

    Saturday, June 01, 2002

    This evening, Chris, Matt and Sara took me out to On The Border for a belated birthday celebration. The evening began with quite a long wait for the restaraunt, where we all discussed how hungry we were. When we finally got inside, we devoured the complementary greasy tortilla chips and I ordered my very first self-bought, legally-purchased alcoholic beverage -- a Cactus Cooler.

    According to the On The Border menu, this is " A refreshing drink made with Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum, MidoriŽ Melon liqueur, lime and orange juice, topped with SpriteŽ." I need to find out how to make these, because it was absolutely delicious. Anyway, we finished our respective meals, had several hi-larious conversations (as is the norm) before I saw several restaraunt employees approaching our table, holding a dessert item. It was them. The Dreaded Birthday Singers.

    Normally, I would have totally freaked out at this point. I actually got into an argument with my grandmother once because she wanted to get me the Dreaded Birthday Singers at a Bertucci's some years ago. But this time was different.

    The Dreaded Birthday Singers approached the table, and as I realized what was going on, my face instinctively arranged itself into a scowl -- one that Sara would later refer to as "priceless."

    "What's your name?" asked the waiter, holding a giant brownie sundae.

    It was then that I glanced around the table at my compatriots to see their grinning faces. "Casey," I replied.

    Our waiter turned to the rest of the restaraunt and yelled at the top of his lungs. "Attention, On The Border. It's Casey's birthday today!"

    As he and the rest of the multicolor shirted waiters and waitresses launched into a distinctive rendition of a birthday song, I noticed Sara, Chris and Matt all having a grand ol' time. I think Chris was actually clapping in time with the song at some point. A smile broke my face as I realized this was different than my family pulling this kind of stunt. A smile that said, "Kudos, you magnificent bastards. This is exactly what I would have done to me." They weren't doing this because they love me; they did it to spite me because it was funny and they knew that if I did it to them, I would do it out of spite and think it was funny, too ("My personal hell is people coming up to me in public places and singing 'happy birthday' for eternity" - Sara). And that is why I love them. I was also smiling because I didn't see it coming at all, because every year they threaten to do it, but never do. Sometime before the song ended with "Happy birthday from On The Border Cafe / Ole!" I got into it, too. I congratulated everyone on a plot well-hidden, then we all got into the brownie sundae.

    We retired to Sara's house for some GoldenEye action and the ceremonial presentation of gifts. My friends and I usually give really good gifts, and this year was no exception. Chris and Matt got me a bizarre Egyptian Anubis pen and a miniature orange bonsai, while Sara gave me very classy crystal wine glasses. And while these gifts are excellent and greatly appreciated on their own, I'll enjoy them even more when they remind me of the Dreaded Birthday Singers.

    So thanks, guys.

    Oh, and you're all totally getting strippers on your birthdays.
    posted at 10:17 PM