Wishing the happiest of happy birthdays to my one and only sire!
Personally, I think the more significant anniversary would be of the day he was spawned, two days hence, but as by then I'll be on a boat and perhaps not quite as broadbandy, I'll grudgingly acknowledge that [livejournal.com profile] atpotch might have reason to celebrate today. And so I'll join in wishing one of the wisest and best friends I have a happy birthday!
Happy birthday, [livejournal.com profile] deadsoul820! I ought to write some fanfic, just to resume the pleasures of having DS beta-read.

ETA: And due to the rotation of the Earth, I can now wish [livejournal.com profile] zargon10 a happy birthday as well!
Happy birthday, [livejournal.com profile] atpotch!

Since you got me crosswords, I got you Sudoku!
Let me take this opportunity to thank everyone for your warm birthday wishes. They were much appreciated. I, on the other hand, skipped the pleasantries and just tried to buy my own affection with a book run, getting Redmond O'Hanlon's Trawler, In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs by Christopher de Bellaigue, and Lawrence Block's new Matthew Scudder novel, All the Flowers Are Dying. I've read only the first chapter of the latter so far, but I liked this bit from page five:
"This is the best, this black pudding. There aren't many places you can get it. I suppose the old Irish neighborhoods, Woodside, Fordham Road, but who's got the time to chase out there?"

"Well, now that you're retired."

"Yeah, I can spend a day looking for black pudding."

"You wouldn't have to go that far," I said. "Any bodega can sell you all you want."

"You're kidding. Black pudding?"

"They call it morcilla, but it's the same thing."

"What is it, Puerto Rican? I bet it's spicier."

"Spicier than Irish cuisine? Gee, do you suppose that's possible? But it's pretty much the same thing. You can call it morcilla or black pudding, but either way you've got sausage made from pig's blood."

"Jesus!"

"What's the matter?"

"Do you fucking mind? I'm eating."

"You didn't know what it was?"

"Of course I know, but that doesn't mean I want to fucking dwell on it."
My most recent update reminds me of an incident from my trip to Iran: I spent a lot of time hanging around with the two drivers assigned to our tour bus; you could often find us grabbing a few spare minutes otherwise wasted waiting for some laggard in the tour group and filling those spare minutes with cigarette smoke. (Many Iranians were surprised by me, as they had never seen an American who smoked in person. I went through all sorts of Posnerian economic analyses trying to explain why although there are plenty of American smokers, they don't seem to do much sandalista-style traveling.) Once Hossein asked how old I was, and, quick as lighting, I replied, "Thirty-three." After a couple of minutes I drew up; "Wait," I said, "I'm actually only thirty-two. But I might be 33 in the Islamic calendar."

One should note that this self-involved anecdote does nothing to explicate the mysteries of the fabled East, and instead just demonstrates that my brain is farina. Behind the cut-tag, mostly for my own amusement, are the Gregorian dates of my Islamic birthdays until I turn fifty )
According to the Islamic Calendar, I turned 34 on Tuesday. I didn't even know to celebrate. It seems that I was born on the 28th day of the last month of the Muslim year, which means that in certain localities with moonspotters lax to start the month and eager to finish it, my birthday might get skipped, which would be a bummer. In any case, I do think it's nice that the 33-year cycle by which the Islamic calendar travels around the Gregorian gets to be embodied at this moment by me.
Happy Birthday, Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln!!!
A few people might recognize how royally irritated I am by the release date of this.
Happy Summer Solstice to all my antipodean friends, especially [livejournal.com profile] angels_nibblet, [livejournal.com profile] habibti, [livejournal.com profile] sidherian, and (in absentia) [livejournal.com profile] nzraya!!!
I'd like to thank [livejournal.com profile] deevalish for the beautiful card and [livejournal.com profile] yhlee for the lovely magazine. And, of course, I have a whole box from [livejournal.com profile] rahael into which I keep trying to sneak a peek. "Go ahead and open it," she says. "I would never do that," I respond. "That would ruin the surprise! Now, give me a little hint before I take this down to the airport to be x-rayed."
Happy birthday wishes for [livejournal.com profile] aliera_!!!

I think I got the tag right; things change so quickly around here.

I was thinking about birthdays the other day. I had a great deal of success finding [livejournal.com profile] lynnmonster with only a hunch that she might be on LJ, so I've been trying to replicate that success with other people from my past. I've been completely stymied in this pursuit, though, so I've been looking for better strategies. It struck me that people may represent themselves under names I'm not familiar with, they may change their locations and their interests, but their birthdays will be the dates I remember (not that I was ever that good at remembering them). Unfortunately, birthdate is a category not provided by LJ's Directory Search. But then I remembered the trusty old Google site search. All of a sudden I had hundreds of possibilities -- the vast majority of which I could dismiss without ever leaving the page.

I didn't have any success with this new technique (I tried only one birthdate), but it did lead me to investigate my own friends (which is what reminded me that [livejournal.com profile] aliera_ lists today as her birthday) -- and I was surprised to discover how few of my friends list a birthdate in their user infos. Having just attempted (and failed) to stalk people by this very feature, I can understand people's reluctance to put such a clear identifier on the internet. My reasoning was much more hopefully paranoid -- I figured that including my birthdate might encourage people to buy me stuff. (They're all out to get me . . . presents!)

But what most surprised me, for some reason, was that three of my LJ friends were born on September 11th.
Sunday: 22:26/15:32 (acrostic); Monday: 4:02; Tuesday: 4:41; Wednesday: 7:47; Thursday: 11:14. I'm quite backed up on these things, being pleasantly diverted.

My birthday has been very successful; my thanks to all those who extended their best wishes, with a special thank you going out to [livejournal.com profile] aliera9916 for the gift. It is greatly appreciated! I was well-gifted this February 14th: [livejournal.com profile] rahael gave me the third season of Homicide (I may force her to watch the Steve Buscemi episode before she goes). My mother presented me with Angel Season Three, the Vh1 (Inside)Out documentary on Warren Zevon, and Rashomon. I thought I'd seen Rashomon before, but I read the description on the back of the DVD and it sounds nothing like what I remember! (Rim shot.) My father got me the new Elmore Leonard novel and, proving that if he reads my friends list, he doesn't delve into the comments, The Da Vinci Code. I'm looking forward to indulging myself with all of these -- I have the feeling that Dan Brown's novel is going to be a guilty pleasure (or at least guilty).

But before I get to those, I have to finish Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. I just reached December 7, 1941, on which a ton of stuff happens, the least of it being the attack on Pearl Harbor. (Is that a spoiler?) Chabon seems to have a better grasp of the comics world than I do (check out his treatment for the X-Men movie); there are lots of little in-jokes capable of producing chuckles in people who can recognize that twenty years after the novel takes place, there would be a comics character named "Wolverine," etc. There are probably in-jokes too obscure for the likes of me, too; I'm rather desperately seeking a site with annotations. I'd start in on it myself (I picked up rather quickly that Sammy Clay's extremely goyishe friend would introduce him to rather more forbidden foods from the fact that his name is "Tracy Bacon"), but as the only portrait of the obsessive annotating fan Chabon presents is of a Nazi sympathizer, I'm not sure the job would do me credit! I'm quite enjoying the novel, but I am reminded of [livejournal.com profile] ajhalluk's theory of the spatchcocked woman. I never really got the impression that Sammy would be homosexual, but being that the novel contains two young male protagonists with healthy sexual desires, and only one female character of any personality whatsoever, it seems like simple supply and demand. It's like all those hobbits running around with no sexual outlet other than each other and occasionally Boromir.

Speaking of perpetual bachelor hobbits and their "nephews," [livejournal.com profile] ajhalluk also recently asked about movies that change public consciousness. I've been wondering of late whether or not the recent rise in support for allowing gays to serve openly in the military can be attributed to the success of the Lord of the Rings movies: it's hard to deny to homosexuals the right to defend their country when they've been shown to do so well carrying rings to Mt. Doom. I wonder if The Return of the King, in which Pippin catches a bouquet, for christ's sake, will have a similar effect on support for gay marriage.

Of course, not every viewing of The Lord of the Rings will produce more progressive politics; [livejournal.com profile] londonkds points to John Rhys-Davies's thoughts on the effects on Britain of the prodigious reproduction of Muslim immigrants. I wonder, though, whether I cannot blame this all on Steven Spielberg. Rhys-Davies did make his name in Raiders of the Lost Ark playing Sallah, the best digger in Egypt, whose fourteen children save Indiana Jones from the massed submachine guns of Belloq's German handlers. How different his prejudices might be had Spielberg bothered to rewrite his script to include lines such as:

JONES:
We're going to need shovels, pry-bars and ropes.
SALLAH:
And condoms, Indy. One should never be without a condom!
My friends are too generous!

Well, [livejournal.com profile] masqthephlsphr, anyway.

Thanks, Masq! I really appreciate it! Now I just have to figure out what to do with all those slots. I'm sure I'll enjoy the process! Whee! Icons!

(By the way, I really wasn't wheedling in the post that inspired this gift. I was afraid after writing it that I came across as angling for someone to spontaneously grant me icon space, which is not at all what I was aiming for. But now that someone has spontaneously granted me icon space, I do appreciate it!)

Whee!

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April 2009

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