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March 21st, 2012

Happy Belated Birthday – to me!

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

So, it’s been a day in the life of a Big Ugly Man Doll – and what a day. You didn’t really think that I’d let pass an opportunity to talk about my birthday, did you?

Yes, I turned 43 on St. Patrick’s Day.

Bridge over Mist

Bridge over Mist

Up at 0630 and walked a 10K around the local lake; got some halfway decent pictures, by which I mean I took more than 250 and kept maybe 9 of them. I was most pleased by the simple fact of getting to the spot I wanted to be with 2 minutes before sunrise – it took 43 years to master timing like that. Mind you, I got there and a dog ran over and started barking at me. I told him I was just taking pictures, go away. He told me my arm looked a lot like a centerfold pin-up in “Meat Sticks I Have Known.” Luckily, his idiot came along a moment later and we did not have to finish that conversation.

Tree Fog Reflections at Dawn

Tree Fog Reflections at Dawn

Back from around the lake, SOBUMD made a wonderful breakfast and we opened presents – and by we, of course, I mean me. There was a nice bottle of Tequila, and a church key that looks like a church key, and a book. And another book. And a few more books. All told, there were 22 books, with two showing up in the mail a day or two later. SOBUMD confessed that she’d gotten sick of looking at the books on my Amazon wish list – some of them had been there for 5 years or more – so she bought them all. Luckily, most of them were used and didn’t cost a fortune, but still – I need to be careful what I wish for. Of course the neat part is that many had been on the list for so long, I had completely forgotten about them. Without further ado, my pending reading list:

Anathem, by Neal Stephenson
Bowl of Cherries, by Millard Kaufman
Briar Rose, by Jane Yolen
Charles Fort Never Mentioned Wombats, By Gene DeWeese and Robert Coulson
Da Vinci’s Ghost, by Toby Lester
Old Masters and Young Geniuses, by David Galenson
Pollinator Conservation Handbook, from The Xerces Society
Searoad, by Ursula LeGuin
Shadow & Claw, by Gene Wolfe
Sword & Citadel, by Gene Wolfe
Tam Lin, by Pamela Dean
The Bestiary, by Nicholas Christopher
The Big Switch, by Nicholas Carr
The Book of Jones, by Ralph Steadman
The Egyptologist, by Arthur Phillips,
The Eyes of the Overworld, by Jack Vance
The Innovator’s Dilemma, by Clayton Christensen
The Kat Who Walked in Beauty, by George Herriman
The Tin Forest, by Helen Ward
To the Chapel Perilous, by Naomi Mitchison
White as Snow, by Tanith Lee
Wild Nights, by Anne Matthews

To say that I can’t wait would be to court understatement, to say nothing of being inaccurate in tense, since it’s already Wednesday as I write this and I’ve read two of them and started a third. Most of them had been recommended by someone or I’d been hearing about them for a while. I may review some of them – watch this space.

Tequila with breakfast, 22 books, and the day was just getting started! Being as I am a Big, Cheap, Ugly Man Doll, we had conspired to use not one but two Groupons for my birthday – one for cake and ice cream at the local Swiss Bakery, and one for the International Spy Museum downtown. We wrapped up breakfast and headed cakeward to the bakery, acquired same with no fuss, and went down to get our intrigue on.

If you’ve never been to the Spy Museum, I have to tell you – find it on a weekday in winter. Saturdays in spring are evidently the time to go if your body shape leans toward the cumbersome and you tend to read very slowly. If, once you have managed to read a few words, you have a proclivity for yelling “Hey Marge, grab Little Towheaded Billy and come look at this one!” at the top of your lungs, man, Saturdays at the Spy Museum have your name on them. The actual exhibits are interesting, but the traffic flow brings to mind the old spy technique of placing explosives inside a cow with horns – that is to say, abominable.

We exited through the gift shop (it’s the law!) while managing to avoid buying anything, and headed to the Very Clever Grandparent’s house for traditional St. Patrick’s Day fare of corned beef, beer, cabbage, beer, potatoes, beer, and soda bread. There was also some beer. To my immense surprise, there were also presents – mercifully, none of them books. There were wonderful bottles, wonderful food, and friends old and new – we got to meet my sister’s new squeeze, who’s a techie in addition to being a Monty Python fan, so all’s well there, and my parent’s friend Reinhold, who’s a delight. Arriving home again, there were dozens of well wishes on Facebook awaiting before bed.

All in all, a most satisfactory birthday. The next day dawned in time for sleeping in and seeing the largest Disney flop in years – Number One Son and I went to see John Carter. It doesn’t suck. We were, in fact, two of only 10 people in the theater, but I quite enjoyed it. Then again, I was excited about it having read the book – this is the guy who brought you Tarzan. They’re great books – it was always going to be tough to bring this to the big screen. Also, I think it actually suffers as a Disney movie – it would have been more widely watched if they hadn’t shied away from the gore and violence (and there was some, don’t get me wrong) and the sexuality. Mind you, Thuvia isn’t wearing much, but I suspect Peter Jackson would have had her wearing a damn sight less.

Regardless, good movie. Rounding out the weekend was an email from Mindy. If you haven’t heard from Mindy, you might – I think she works for the tooth fairy. She asked that I copy the following link onto my blog so that teachers (and presumably parents) can provide printable, personalized tooth brushing charts to your students and kids from www.LoveYourTeeth.net. I was all set to ignore this completely, since I’m not your Big Ugly Dentist, and then I realized that the lovable loons in my office had gotten me a birthday present as well:

It exists.  I don't know why.

It exists. I don't know why.

The Justin Bieber BrushBuddy Singing Toothbrush. Because that’s what you get for the BUMD who has everything.

Clearly, this is a sign from the Tooth Fairy. So please, go to LoveYourTeeth.net and print your personalized tooth brushing chart.

A Public Service by Dentist Advisor

Let me know if you need to “Get Your Bieber Smile Today” as well – I have one yellow and one purple. Yes, they’re loud.

And so here I am, catching up on the week and wondering if I can make this yummy Scotch last until my next birthday. It doesn’t look good, but I’ll keep you posted!



Yep, looks like another post from the Big, Ugly Man Doll!