Saturday, 16 January 1999:


So, today I turned 30 years old. Not surprisingly, it didn't feel a whole lot different than 29, although given the bad foot that 29 started off on, it seems like 30 can't help but be better. The symbolism of ages may be interesting to consider, but comparing two ages isn't of much practical use, unless those ages are sufficiently far apart.

For instance, it's rather nice to leave my 20s behind. It's been a chaotic decade: Different states, different jobs, different girlfriends, different circles of friends... strangely, it seems like it was a lot less stable than my teens were, and I suspect that most people find their teenage years to be the chaotic ones.

It is a little strange to realize that by many measures I am no longer "young". Not so many centuries ago, 30 was a pretty good age to reach, even among the privileged classes. Even more strange to think that in twenty years I'll be fifty - as great a span of time as it's been since I was ten, and I've lived a lot of life since then - and I'll still expect to live another twenty or more years beyond that. Indeed, both of my grandfathers lived into their eighties, which in my case would see me into the second half of the next century. Hard to imagine.

Hell, it's hard to imagine the world will even get that far without another major Depression or World War, or something in the same class as those events. (Famine? Plague? Alien contact? Or maybe the Singularity that Vernor Vinge talks about in Marooned in Realtime.)

But that's a long ways off.

I had a pretty mellow birthday: I slept in, played on the computer, and did a bunch of reading. Then I went down to Pegasus Games to take advantage of their 20%-off-on-your-birthday deal. I bought the Städte und Ritter (Cities and Knights) expansion to The Settlers of Catan (which I think I've mentioned before that I buy in the original German versions), a copy of Diplomacy, and Falling (a Cheapass Game).

When I got home from that I had a call from my friend Brian, who invited me over for pizza and a little gaming, so I did that for a few hours. (I got my butt kicked at Settlers, but won a game based on the London Underground right beforehand. It wasn't a particularly good game, though; too much randomness.)

One thing I received today was a videotape of the 1979 TV adaptation of Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles, which Dad got me for Christmas but which was backordered for a while. Bradbury allegedly hated it, but I always liked it, and think it stands up fairly well - about as well as Bradbury's book, actually. It has an interesting cast, with Rock Hudson, Roddy Macdowell, Barry Morse, Bernadette Peters, and others I'm not as familiar with. Worth a look, especially since it has all three episodes for under ten bucks. I spent a chunk of the afternoon and evening watching it - didn't quite finish it; tomorrow.

It also got warm today, and I bet a lot of the not-entirely-plowed snow on the sidewalks will melt in the next few days. Then, of course, it will probably turn frigid again and snow. But, that's Wisconsin for you!

Maybe tomorrow I'll make myself a cake. Birthdays should have cake.

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