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30th birthday: Cake Quest (28 Sep 2009 at 00:21)
Sunday I turned 30, as in years. The celebration started Friday when we had a great combo-party (Brianne's birthday on Saturday) in my space age bachelor pad. I hardly ever host parties in my place so I was a little nervous. It turned out almost ideally; like maybe 50 people and never got out of hand. I have one room, now known as the Observatory, which is basically empty since my brother moved to Boston, and so that room just now has a secondary colony of San Pellegrino bottles (kind of ran out of space in my own room), my answering machine (full, useless) and two seats for "Observing" these objects, like a minimalist art project. (This was great. The San Pellegrino collection really drives some people nuts and other people happily make new interactive art with it.) On Nels's suggestion we made the Observatory a bit more partied up for the party, using the projector to show Robot Jox, a classic Robots Gone Wild cold-war-forever piece. No real sound setup in there, but I could only find Spanish subtitles, so I Google-Translated those back into English, so the whole movie was subtitled in this broken doubly-translated language which was especially delightful if you also listened closely enough to the computer speakers for the original EN audio, until the text inexplicably transforms into Spanish because Google Translate gives up once it gets a certain ways into a document that you upload, cuz I guess it gets tired and is like ahem you finish this. But only a few people in there at a time because of the two seats. Most people party 4 regular in the games room, or Gallery, or murder Prof. Plum in the Kitchen with the candlestick.

The highlight for me was the Great Race, a 10K which I run every year. This year it was on Sunday morning, my birthday. Last year I ran it real hard which qualified me as a seeded runner this time, but I'm not in as good shape and anyway have retired from running 10K for speed. So I decided it's costumes. I have pretty complex requirements for a race costume. It has to be pretty conspicuous, so people spot it. It has to not get in anyone's way or be race-ejectingly illegal, because I don't want to interfere (except maybe mentally) with anybody who's taking the race seriously. It has to clearly impede my ability to run, but should also be actually harder than you'd first think. This time I also wanted a birthday theme. I mulled a bunch of ideas with friends (bunch of helium balloons was a frontrunner for a while) and eventually settled on Ryan's idea to run with a birthday cake. So I got a half-sheet cake and decorated it, and ran the whole six miles carrying it:

Cake Quest I


I can put on a smile for the camera but it didn't feel that good in the arms. It is pretty weird to run a race and for that to be the primary focus of pain. Harder than the H1N1 marathon costume, I'd say, though a much much shorter race. But running with a costume is basically always worth it. For the people you run by (observers or if you start in the back, folks you pass) the costume is new and funny, so the whole race people are laughing or making comments and in this case wishing or singing happy birthday. They love that shit because they're either waiting in the rain for the one person they know in the race to pass, which is otherwise totally monotonous, or they're hurting from running in the race and want to be distracted. And I love overhearing or having other people overhear, "You got beat by the guy carrying the cake?!" Oh yeah so it was raining, and this made the cake very wet, and the cardboard it was on start to have deteriorating conditions and buckle, so this was a disadvantage for ways one could carry it because it needed Total Underbody Support. Eventually there were only like two asymmetric (dual) ways and one symmetric way to hold the cake and I'd cycle between them every 15 seconds as my arms and back were burning up. I made it downtown with the cake about as intact as it could be, which isn't saying much:

Cake Quest II
9-27-79 NEVER FORGET


Even my birthday hat has melted. News like spectacles, so some people interviewed me. The best coverage was on KDKA (near the end, though the anchor foreshadows). There's some interviewing of me in the otherwise extremely boring (like it's mostly just video of people standing around?) WPXI Web Exclusive. See 1:55 and 3:30.

Lots of friends helped make this the best birthday weekend ever with their party-going and fun-loving and organizing and driving me to-and-fro since my license expired and I have another flat tire, and the cake eating and wearing hats in the race and writing on me and watching Steelers and not giving me presents that make me feel uncomfortably materialistic and rearranging the art bottles and taking photos and everything. Thanks!!! :)
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Erin (user-0c2i1cd.cable.earthlink.net) – 09.28.09 09:01:41
i love when they talk about you with their serious news voices!
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Max (adsl-76-202-165-69.dsl.wlfrct.sbcglobal.net) – 09.28.09 10:22:19
Yeah!!
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I'm too ashamed to sign my real name ... (c-98-219-162-219.hsd1.pa.comcast.net) – 09.28.09 10:26:38
Until I saw the pictures I thought the cake was a lie.
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Ryan (c-76-125-235-165.hsd1.pa.comcast.net) – 09.28.09 15:24:18
The cake still tasted pretty good, even after the race.
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Anonymous (c-71-235-193-208.hsd1.ct.comcast.net) – 09.28.09 19:09:52
Happy Birthday!
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jcreed (158.130.12.22) – 09.29.09 07:16:46
happy 30, tom!
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William (gs4082.sp.cs.cmu.edu) – 09.29.09 14:31:07
someone left the cake out in the rain!
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Scott (ip70-179-119-114.dc.dc.cox.net) – 09.30.09 17:53:36
Happy birthday. The fact that you had 30 years to become as awesome as you are makes me feel better, a little, about my own comparative lack of awesomeness. (It's all relative, of course.) I love the Observatory idea. If you ever become leader of a personality cult, I'd be delighted if you grant me the honor of being the first to know.

Whee, running with cakes!! TOM YOU CAN DO NO WRONG
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Tom 7 (h-67-100-132-149.phlapafg.dynamic.covad.net) – 10.03.09 11:43:54
Thanx Scott :)
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