3.5 days of celebrating that I’ve made it halfway to 70.


I got off work at 3 PM Friday, and headed straight for a pawn shop. I had seen her there a few days prior, and she was still there. Classic surf green, beautiful curves, nice solid body… what more could a guy ask for?

My family and friends debated all weekend over what I should name her. Pistachio. Misty. Nothing seemed to fit. I didn’t want to force it. It had to be perfect. I mean, look at her. She’s magnificent. I decided to wait it out.


Later that evening, it was poker night at my brother’s house. Pointing a camera at any of us while drinking and playing cards causes us to make the stupidest faces we can. Additional evidence follows.

Have some!


This is the only picture of her she would let me take.

BIRTHDAY WEEKEND DAY 1 SUMMARY: Got paid, got a new guitar, got drunk, got sick, got tied for first in a poker tournament, got on the road, got immediately back off the road, got some birthday hugs from two cool chicks, got sober, and got home and in bed a little after 3 AM. Birthday Weekend Night 1: TOTAL SUCCESS.


Happy Birthday to ME!!!

Mom made me a white cake with a 3 inch thick coating of chocolate frosting. And sprinkles. I sure hope diabetes is more fun than it looks.


My very educated mother just served us nine pizzas.

Okay, six pizzas, but when they’re this ginormous, I think the numbers get a little fuzzy.

Mmm… cake.


Masterpiece Skywarp. The collection now kicks even more Cybertronian ass than ever, thanks to Mom and Dad.

Yes, I asked for a Transformer for my 35th birthday. Hard to believe I’m still single, isn’t it?


Masterpiece Skywarp compared to the original 1984 release. Hell. Yeah.

Yeah, I’m a geek. I dig toy robots. Go look at somebody else’s birthday pictures if you don’t like it.

BIRTHDAY WEEKEND DAY 2 SUMMARY: Got four and a half hours of sleep, got to see “Predators,” which I really enjoyed, got a cold, creamy black and tan and a magnificent shepherd’s pie for lunch, got a 33′ swimming pool at the perfect temperature all to myself for a couple of hours, got Mom’s best homemade pizza, got a birthday cake with loads of chocolate frosting, got some new Transformers for the collection, got some DELICIOUS pistachio pudding, and got to pull out a pick and school my smart ass uncle in front of the whole family when he implied that I did not know how to play guitar. Birthday Weekend Day 2: TOTAL SUCCESS.

Mark: Wow…this picture absolutely reeks of nerd!


Headed to the Mizer household to get my geek on with the rest of The Sci Fi Guys (minus Nebel). Started the evening off in the usual way, with a game of Munchkin. Be it poker or Munchkin, cards were kind to me this weekend. I won. You know, ’cause I’m awesome. Or, as is more likely the case, ’cause I just got lucky.

This is how I roll.

Gotta love any birthday weekend that includes playing D&D with the guys.

I’m 35 years old and I fucking LOVE Dungeons & Dragons. LOVE IT. It is hands down one of the best pastimes I have ever encountered.

I love listening to people who laugh at Dungeons & Dragons who then turn around play Fantasy Football or Fantasy Fashion. If you play anything like that, sorry to break it to you, but you play Dungeons & Dragons. Sure, the details are different, but you’re a role-player. Only you’re not as cool as us D&D geeks.

It’s true. You see, to play Dungeons & Dragons, a group of people gather in one place. If they’re anything like The Sci-Fi Guys, they might crack open a beer or two, fire up the grill and get some burgers going, throw the dice for a few hours, and have a lot of laughs. We gather together, eat together, plan together, argue about how we will get through the game together, laugh together, and we share a common experience in which we are all active participants. It’s a very social thing.

What about your online fantasy leagues? Do you get together with friends and bond over that shit? No, you do not. You sit at home, staring at the internet, hedging bets on the future actions of people you will never meet. On your computer or phone. Alone.

Two types of people will read this post. The first are the kind who will look at this pic and see some weird dice and a few bizarre plastic toys sitting on some graph paper. The second are the kind who will recognize this as the epic struggle of two mystical warriors locked in merciless combat with a bloodthirsty, crazed black dragon, deep within a long forgotten catacomb of evil. The prize: fortune and glory. The stakes: their very lives.

Gotta say, I feel kind of sorry for the first kind of people.


Later that evening after we wrapped up the game, I didn’t feel like the night should be over, so I went to a local bar that has great burgers and even better live music. That is where I met Ashley.

This is Ashley. She and I share a birthday. When I heard her say this, I told her it was my birthday too and bought her a double shot of Cuervo. Those were the first and last drinks I bought all evening. From that point on, the girls fed me free alcohol like I was a slutty cheerleader on prom night. I loved these ladies!

This is Sarah. We danced, we sang, we made fun of passed out drunks who couldn’t party like we can. She brought me water when I was thirsty, and I fed her potatoes when she was drunk. We’re good like that.

This is Maggie. She was my birthday angel.

Maggie was the girl who bought me the first shot, and pretty much all the rest of them after that. She told me I should come over and drink with her girls. Then she bought me even more shots. Then she heard a song she liked and pulled me on the dance floor and we danced like drunken fools, which, as you can see from this pic, I clearly am.

All my girls were great to me that evening, but Maggie really made my birthday. She’s something special. Wherever you are, baby doll, thanks for everything. You were perfect.

This is Douchebag. Douchebag here decided he wanted to hang with the girls, too, so he and his douchebag friend from Holland sat down and started bugging the shit out of Sarah. That didn’t last long. As you can see from the picture, Douchebag had two whole shots and about half a beer. And then, like a manly man, he passed out on the fucking table. Way to impress the ladies, slick.

Hey, you know what’s less liable to make a good impression on women than them out drinking you? Watching the bartender make your Dutch douchebag friend struggle to carry your semi-comatose ass outside. Shuffle on back to Abercrombie and Fitch, junior. Leave the alcohol chugging to us fat guys. We can absorb it.

This is my favorite photo of the whole weekend.

Or maybe ever.

At 12:04 AM, 12 July 2010, when I was 35 years and four minutes old, as I was enjoying celebratory drinks bought for me by these wonderful women whom were sharing with me their charm and company, Ashley demanded a birthday dance, a demand with which I happily complied. We made our way to the floor, and as she took my hand, the band played for me “Dead Flowers” by The Rolling Stones.

Keep in mind that about an hour and a half prior to this, I had never met these girls, Ashley’s boyfriend Ben, or the band ever before in my life. And now the band, after a very short music conversation with the bassist, was playing one of my favorite songs by my favorite band so Ashley and I could have our birthday dance.

Seriously, how can you ask for more than that? What a great night.

She doesn’t really dance like this. Well, not all the time, anyway. It’s good to know I’m not the only one who makes weird faces when a camera gets pointed at me.

Thank for the great night, ladies and gentleBen. It was the perfect night out.

BIRTHDAY WEEKEND DAY 3 SUMMARY: Slept in on Sunday, then got my geek on with The Sci-Fi Guys. Won a game of Munchkin and ran an old-school D&D dungeon crawl. Then hit Zola’s for the world’s greatest potstickers and to hear The Turkeys play some incredible country blues. Hooked up with a birthday party of great chicks who bought me tequila and made me dance. They didn’t have to try too hard. Birthday Weekend Day 3: TOTAL SUCCESS.


My cousin, fellow Tequila Fish, and all around coolest chick in the world, Heather, took me out for some EXTREMELY spicy and delicious paad thai on Monday. After that, she took me back to Spa Chocolät where she works and snuck me in for a haircut on the house.

I’d never been in a spa before. No wonder you ladies like these places. It was cool, quiet, and dark. Very mellow. Very relaxed. A guy could get used to this kind of treatment.

Heather is a stylist ninja. I’ve never had my hair cut so quickly or so precisely before in my life. I would swear I was in that chair for maybe ten or fifteen seconds and she was done. I think she might be a sorceress or something. I’m going to have to keep an eye on her.

One person in this picture knows exactly what is going on, what the plan is, where things are going, and how the task at hand will be accomplished with skill and razor sharp precision. The other one has glasses and a goatee.


At 3:11 PM, 12 July 2010, when I was 35 years, 15 hours and 11 minutes old, The Beatles came on the radio and sang “Birthday.”

I had not heard that song in a very long time. Pulled into a parking lot. Found a convenient spot. Sat back. Enjoyed every note.

After the noodles, spa treatment and Beatles serenade, I headed to Nebel’s new apartment for a beer and a cigar. Got there just in time to catch the “Rocky Road To Dublin” pit fighting scene from Sherlock Holmes, which is my favorite part of that movie. You know, all along I had planned to fill this weekend to the brim with family, friends, and lots of great memories.

I love it when a plan comes together.

BIRTHDAY WEEKEND DAY 4: Had breakfast with my parents, watched my Good Eats DVDs, went for some magnificently spicy paad thai with my wonderful cousin, who then snuck me in for a haircut at the spa where she works, after which I joined an old friend to close out the past three and a half days of celebration with a cigar and an ice cold beer. All in all, I’ve had one hell of a weekend. Birthday Weekend Day 4: TOTAL SUCCESS.

Oh, wait! I almost forgot…

On Monday night, as my head hit the pillow, a huge smile made its way across my face. It had finally dawned on me what my guitar’s name was. It had been right there the whole day and I hadn’t realized it. And it was perfect.

This is Maggie. She was my birthday angel.

Thanks to everyone who wished me a happy birthday, and to everyone who helped make this weekend so fantastic. I’ve had a blast!

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