Happy Birthday! Dept.

It’s about 5:30 in the morning and according to the laws of the land, I turned 31 five and a half hours ago. Ugh.

My friend and colleague Allen Varney wrote me tonight to say happy birthday, and to ask why, in his characterization, I was so driven to do things. I don’t have a ready answer, though he says I told him something a few years ago by way of explanation that he no longer remembers. I don’t recall myself what facile answer I gave him. It seems like the kind of question that boils down to, “Why are you the way you are?” and that’s a question only a lifetime can answer, if then.

It does call to mind a handful of random notes, which I set down herein.

For starters, it makes me think of this weekend. I got up late Saturday morning and went to work, arriving at my studio by 11am. I worked for about four hours on Mike Daisey’s website, beginning to implement the revamp I designed a few weeks ago. It’s still underway and not yet live.

After four hours or so of this I left and arrived at Ray and Christine’s house for my birthday party. Christine made a taco feast, with apple pie and vanilla ice cream for dessert, per my grateful request. It was wonderful. Karen, Scott, and Jane arrived for the little soiree. I stayed for more than twelve hours of eating, drinking, and movies, finally leaving after 4am. I brought two films: the worst movie of all time, Battlefield: Earth, and the best movie of all time, Chungking Express. We also watched Girls Town, a Mystery Science Theater 3000 entry from the late 1950s, a juvenile delinquent melodrama starring Mamie van Doren, Mel Torme, Paul Anka, and Dick Contino, among others.

I got up this morning late–again–and hit the studio a little past noon. I worked for twelve hours straight, continuing my revamp of Mike’s site, finally bailing just after 10:30 pm. Then I returned to Ray’s to watch another MST3K flick, Double 007, a stunning late-1960s Italian James Bond knockoff starring Neil Connery, Sean’s brother. The theme song, “OK Connery!”, was a wonder to behold. Ray and I killed ample time before and afterwards jawing over this and that, including an extended discussion of the gaming industry. Like any small group, the gaming industry has an ample share of love affairs, doomed relationships, and so forth, and this sort of shopworn gossip and reminiscence proved to be the bulk of our latter conversations. We concluded with Ray’s plans for what to do should he ever become rich as Bill Gates; his primary goal is to build a 100-story statue of Ricardo Montalbahn in the heart of Manhattan, ensuring that no one could ever get a helicopter shot of New York without audiences breaking out in spontaneous laughter.

I came home and flipped through a copy of Delta Green, rereading the opening vignette supposedly by Maj. General Reginald Fairfield. That fictitious email, if you look at it closely, is dated February 25, 1994. It has this date because that’s when I wrote it. I typed it up the night of my birthday then, drunk and miserable for various reasons, intending it to start the book. It was three more years before the book finally came out, with that piece of writing there at the start of it, just as I’d planned.

A year or two before that, a friend told me I was the only person he’d ever met of whom he could truly say, “That guy is driven by demons.”

I had no better explanation then than I do now. I only know what I see and feel. The moving hand, having writ, moves on.