my weekend told in birthdays

this past weekend (okay, two weekends ago, blogging is proving to be totally unsustainable) I celebrated two birthdays of people who I am not terribly close to, but I was still VERY EXCITED to celebrate with them.  my job is to turn each of these birthdays into something worth blogging about and metaphors for life.  SO!  presenting my weekend, told in birthdays. 

211364_818513321_6144477_qThank you all for the birthday wishes! Operation FB-bday-blackout not the success I thought it’d be; apparently some people still remembered!

what is the most un-selfish way of celebrating your birthday?

I’m not going to pretend that I hate burdening other people because I think I do it a fair amount, but I’ve never really cared about celebrating my birthday, so I thought that I would cut people some slack one day a year.  hence the significance of the question.  okay, significance is used lightly here. 

old way of thinking: let’s just try to ignore your birthday!  so people aren’t compelled to write forced facebook messages, forced to attend a birthday party, forced to potentially get you a gift, forced to choose between your birthday party and something else they’d rather be doing. 

new way of thinking: ignoring birthdays, while ostensibly seeming like a good idea, is a terrible idea, I think.  they become quasi tests of friendships/relationships, and as sadistically enjoyable tests are, they are not a good idea. potential for resentment/guilt. THROW YOUR OWN FREAKING BIRTHDAY PARTY.  on the off chance that you have good friends who want to throw you a birthday party, it will inevitably have to be a surprise party, and do you know what a pain those are logistically!?!?  put in your own effort.  it will be a great way to see random friends, and people won’t compelled to schedule a “birthday drink/dinner”. so freaking efficient. and gifts?!  fucking bottle of wine, boom, you’re done. 

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someone had to bake and frost that cake, james!!!  2011 bday sponsored by angeles/alicia, mark, and wendy.  thanks guys. 

side bonus #1: you don’t get in trouble like this: (sean s ended up being right about this one, ughhh)

points about birthday:

1. i am sad i missed [your birthday]
2. i am sad i wasn’t told it was even happening
3. i am sad it doesn’t matter

if you’re dating me shouldnt you tell me…is it even ok for me to miss your birthday? i dont think it should be.

side bonus #2: you don’t have to give a birthday speech at a birthday party.  okay, fine, small possibility, but you will DEFINITELY HAVE TO GIVE A SPEECH AT A SURPRISE PARTY. 

 2009.07.12 036

me being really awkward because chris KNEW that I really despised birthday parties because I hate public speaking/being the center of attention, and upon arriving, everyone started chanting “speech, speech, speech!!!”.  thanks everyone. 

2009.07.12 0722009.07.12 0622009.07.12 0662009.07.12 073

man, this photo set just made me really nostalgic for chris and jason. 

distribution of birthdays

I am legitimately not exaggerating, I think about everyone went to at least one birthday party this weekend, which brings up “WHEN ARE PEOPLE MOST LIKELY TO HAVE BIRTHDAYS”.  chart porn:


fun fact, most common months are july/aug/sept, for whatever reason.  feel free to hypothesize wildly here. 

There are several statistical tests to check if a distribution is random — does student’s t test ring a bell?

hah!  there was a time when I wanted to start a blog that covered the intersection of life and actuary.  the reason why such a blog will never exist is because I would not be able to do the above calculation to save my life (despite having performing it flawlessly on test after test). 

source 1 and source 2

BIRTHDAY #1: JULIE – surprise party orchestrated by loving boyfriend

busily placing candles in all the egg tarts before arrival of the guest of honor (one egg tart for each year of her life!??!)

motivation. I was happy to go to this birthday to celebrate julie’s birthday, but it was also a convenient way to see a group of friends that I don’t get to see regularly.  I had just promised jeremy that I wanted to get together with them about once a month.  good timing for a birthday! 

aftermath: calling it a day with tier 3 friends. coming out of the party…. it made me reevaluate things.  why exactly do I want to keep hanging out with them?  I had a good time a good laughs (and SO MUCH GOOD FOOD), but part of it just seemed like aimless small talk.  lately, I’ve been pretty aggressively social and free time is not easy to come by, and…. I was just wondering, do I envision myself getting closer to many of these people?  and if not, why should I pursue them?  definitely will still go to events if I’m around or interested, but setting a hard and fast half-hearted pursuing goal of 1x/month I think is a waste of effort.  but made a conscious effort to spend less time with people who I don’t intend on seriously pursuing/see the possibility of seriously pursuing. 

hanging out with ex’s. I had just had met up with howl before going to this party, and chris was there with his boyfriend josh.  chris and josh are so great together, from a similar-interests and temperament perspective in ways that chris and I were not an ideal pairing. I actually LOVE when couples are not couply in public and yet are still able to convey their relationship through their chemistry, which is basically chris and josh. I still 100% want chris and howl to be happy and care so much for them, don’t get me wrong.  but with the somewhat unresolved feelings with me and howl and me just not being in a very good place in that sphere in my life, also made the conscious decision to spend less time with ex’s.  until I sort out my feelings and feel a bit more confident about my love life.  but I do look forward to hanging out with both of them at some point.

BIRTHDAY #2: JACKIE – sloshball in golden gate park

jackie finishing her keg stand like a champ, priceless, priceless expression. (one second for each year of her life?!?!?)

motivation. I was happy to go to this birthday to celebrate jackie’s birthday, but jackie knew that I was ‘”hunting” for gay friends, and she happily offered to be the conduit.  mission: find an in to the gay network.  however, waters would be dangerous as it would be a fairly intimidating social environment as I really would know very few people there.  and the last thing you want to be is a drag on the birthday girl and look glum and awkward in a corner. 

what happened. had a surprisingly nice conversation with tom, who is this hulking dominant force of a man.  when are people like that nice to me?!  met a variety of people (of note, jackie’s roommate) and saw people who I haven’t seen in awhile (notably, shane, because he has found a girlfriend!!!  shane coincidentally was at a birthday the day before as well.).  the highlight came during sloshball, which I happily sat out of because there were these two gay guys who were talking to me and we were hitting it off and the entire time the only thoughts that were racing through my head over and over again was trying to develop a relationship strong enough to justify meeting up with them again. 

one guy, travis, who I won’t deny I found attractive (I think at some point I said “you shouldn’t be talking to me right now [because you’re so much more attractive than i]!!!!”), ended up being cold (lent him my new lululemon hoodie), and we rode the bus home together and I watched him eat dinner, not creepy at all.  but he doesn’t do the traditional gay scene, and I got to consult him on the various gay dilemmas that are rolling around in my head.  he was a good listener and helpful. 

aftermath: awkward conversion of single serving friends. it has sort of come full circle, because I went through the same crisis of trying to convert jackie from “random girl from a city wide scavenger hunt” to “someone who I really want to see again”, which I think is … awkward? I mean, how do you do this?!  I guess it’s no different from asking someone out on a date.  but when you just want to hang out with them platonically!?  that’s a little weird, cmon.  I think you just have to be really forward, right?  just like asking people out on a date?  people should ask randos on friend dates more often. 

jackie, on when i first approached her: to be honest, when we started talking with you, we weren’t sure if you were hitting on me, or if you were just being friendly / gay 🙂

worse things could happen in life. 

and begging for help. how do you beg people to be their friend?  that’s sort of what it came down to, because it’s not that I was just interested in being their friend, but also that I wanted their help in meeting gay people.  because it’s honestly so hard to meet gay people (platonically or otherwise) without having that gay network.  and I wanted to be forthright about this, because …. potentially increases the likelihood of actually having to hang out.  increases the likelihood of maximizing social utility at the very least.

anyway.  was really tough being both 1) honest about your vulnerabilities, and 2) asking for help.  it’s a little different than asking about pivot tables, I think.  I think it’s up there for me in terms of asking about…. workout advice from jason.  etc. 

message to travis.  anyway, end of the story is, I got home, still oddly drunk like 5 hours after I stopped drinking, and tried to sit down and write the least awkward, incredibly awkward facebook message I could muster with my remaining brainpower. 

(it took a lot of wordsmithing to get the following from “TRAVIS, I was wondering if you could be my friend!! I have no gay friends :(“) (which… as time goes on, is becoming less and less true.  but it is still true, for the most part, still trying to find the right group?  if that makes sense)


worked out well not succumbing to peer pressure today! richard and i were quite happy deriving pleasure from your starvation.

HEY, we should hang out again some time. i’m sure that you keep busy with the gym and the work and the bf, but, ahem, sure you picked up on it, i generally don’t get out much with respect to gay things and any helping hand would be appreciated. we can not play kickball again, it will be great!!
good luck surviving the week, travis! only five more days till the weekend.


(travis wrote back a really nice note, whew) (also sent a message to the other guy, who also wrote back an exceedingly nice message)

side notes:

1) jackie was estimating headcount for the party before the event, and she was like “…. I don’t know, like 40!?” that’s incredible. in awe. and jealous. 

2) after the fact, she sent me an incredibly nice email to show that she was looking out for me. probably why she could round up 40 people to come to her birthday party. it always really touches me when people look out for me when we don’t have at all the relationship to justify it. anyway. thanks.

did you have fun???
hope so. thanks for coming!!!


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