Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Paul’s 6th Annual 29th Birthday

Paul’s 6th Annual 29th Birthday

Well, once again, my birthday is coming around and I don’t have my degree yet. As I promised myself a long time ago, I refuse to turn 30 until I have my degree, so this will be my 6th 29th birthday (34, for those of you doing the math). Degree or no, I can be proud of my accomplishments this year and can honestly say I’ve done okay and have made some professional progress. No regrets this year.

For those of you looking for a good excuse to spend way too much money on someone you hardly ever see, here’s a peek into my birthday wish list for the year:

1) A new watch.
The one I have was a $7 Big Lots find and is beginning to fall apart. It never worked great to start with, as the digital clock has a bad habit of blanking out and resetting, but the analog dial works okay. Anyway, I like lots of gizmos and dials, but nothing expensive. Analog hands and a digital readout with day/date, chronograph, and alarm would be great. Nothing too pricey, so skip the jewelry store and hit the drug store or local discount place instead.

2) A digital camera.
I have used the camera from Custom Music for so long, I almost forgot I didn’t own one of my own! Not working there anymore, (and being a good boy and leaving it with them) I find myself sans-memento maker. Again, nothing super expensive, necessarily, but I’d like something kinda small, have plenty of settings, video mode w/audio, and do well with super close-ups. Avoid Olympus. They used a funky card format that’s undeservedly expensive.

3) An MP3 player
I lost mine in the Christmas Eve Car Crash and have been relying on CDs and radio in my car ever since, so ANY MP3 player will do at this point. What I have my eye on, though, is a Soundwave Transforming MP3 player in Blue. They’re all over eBay, and generally under $80. They are a replica of the G1 Transformer. You fill up an SD card (up to 2G) with music, pop it in his cassette loader and it actually works. A 2GB SD card ($16 at MicroCenter) would be nice with that. He transforms exactly the same way the old toy does, too!
Yea…I’m a dork. Shut up.

4) A webcam
something cheap that clips to the laptop. Someday when I upgrade to a Mac, it won’t be an issue, but for now, I’m all about the plug-n’-play peripherals.

5) Money…
The old standard, one-size-fits-all gift. Inevitably there are several other little odds and ends I want, and of course, the nagging perpetual obligations like the aging Wayne State bill and car repairs. No Time? No Imagination? NO PROBLEM! It’s not the amount of thought that counts – it’s any thought at all.

Anyway, that’s my no-so-grown-up Birthday List. There are plenty of odds & ends I’d love, of course. I still need the last 2 Trek films in Special Edition, for example. When in doubt, go geek. I’m sure I’ll love it. But to be honest, I’m pretty happy right now. A bit tired and adjusting to a new job and schedule, but happy. There’s not a lot I could ask for that I really need…

…and that’s a VERY good feeling.

Geektitude is a Family Affair…

Geektitude is a family affair…

Despite spending the better part of the week in absolute misery with some sort of cold/flu/bronchitis/malaria/bubonic plague-type thing, I was not about to let it ruin my weekend. This past Saturday was “Free Comic Book Day” the nation over. I had been looking forward to this for months – any good excuse to head to the comic shop. I popped a couple hundred milligrams of vitamin C, a shot of NyQuil, got the kids up and dressed, and headed first to Chris’s store, Comics & More.

Liam & Courtney had a ball getting their picture taken with Supergirl, grabbing their 3 free comics, playing the mandatory round of Arch Rivals and soaking up the festive atmosphere. Chris’s small store was packed, but not uncomfortable. There was a decent selection of freebies: Hellboy, Simpsons, X-Men, and a couple good kids’ titles for Liam & Courtney. I bought a few Batman comics I’ve been wanting and bid Chris farewell, leaving him to the ambush of customers that would likely drain him for a good week.

After we left, we decided to try out Detroit Comics to see if they had any superheroes there. I’d been meaning to stop in there to check out Chris’s ‘competition’ and see what the buzz was about. Nice store. Bigger. Cool retro d├ęcor. Not much substance to it, though. It’s kind of a cross between a comic store and a Hot Topic, with not enough of either to be worthwhile. Neat kitsch and a few new collectible figurines, but their comic selection left a lot to be desired. Comics & More has about 3 times the comics in 1/3 the space.

Still, their set-up for Free Comic Book Day was fun and festive, with balloons, some free candy for the kids, and a few artists to do free sketches and sign stuff. One of the artists on the free Hellboy comic was there, so I got a sketch & autograph on my copy from him. After Liam got a sketch of Superman and Courtney a sketch of a unicorn, we headed home to count our ‘loot’. Later, I headed to work at the video store, the kids’ grandma picked them up for a visit, and that pretty much ended the day.

Sunday was GORGEOUS. I woke up and headed to Val’s to borrow her lawn mower. Our backyard doesn’t grow very fast, especially since the visits from Jeremy’s dogs have ripped up so much of it, but our front yard was an absolute jungle. I had a great visit with my baby sister for the better part of an hour, then I decided to cut her grass before taking the mower. I’ve pretty much become her groundskeeper, as anytime I need a favor, that’s become by bartering tool.

After finishing her lawn, I loaded up and went to tame my own horticultural wilderness. Aside from having to empty the collection bag every 10 feet or so, it went rather quickly. Being the first real mow of the year, I did my usual once with the mower, edge and trim with the weed-whacker, then again with the mower until it was to my standards. I’m very picky about how my front lawn is maintained. Weeds and crabgrass abound, yes, but when I cut it, I SCULPT it. 4 hours of that and several other yard-related chores went by in a flash.

So, though there was little to really report on my weekend, it was exactly what I needed after being sick as a dog for the better part of last week: filled with geekly hobbies, bonding with my kids, hanging with family, productive housework and sunshine.

A well-balanced, full-course weekend.