Somehow, while I wasn’t looking over the past few weeks, my 35th birthday crept up upon me, taking totally by surprise. Like when the Rebel forces showed up around Endor, all set to deliver a massive ass-whupping to the Empire, only to find out that the new Death Star was, in fact, fully operational and ready to destroy anything at the Emperor’s slightest whim.

Actually, it wasn’t quite that bad. My wife softened the blow for me by secretly arranging a surprise birthday party for me. She’s sneaky, Jennifer is. I had gone out to pick up some new eyeglasses, since I’d broken my old ones playing Resident Evil: Code Veronica (don’t ask), and I came home to find that the house was filled with the aroma of gingerbread pancakes, one of our favorite breakfasts. Little did I know that she had made those pancakes specifically to cover up the smell of the spice cake that she’d made. And on New Year’s Day, the day after my birthday, four of my closest friends showed up, gave me their joint gift (the extended edition of the Fellowship of the Ring DVD), and took me out to dinner at a nearby brewpub.

Sometimes, being me is just cool.

But still, this whole 35 thing is kind of weird. I don’t recall agreeing anywhere that I would one day turn 35. In fact, I don’t really recall agreeing to ever age past 29. I suppose these things have to happen, and quite frequently without my approval.

Other things that happened recently without my approval: my computer crashed. Again. Based on my experiences, I think I’ve just been unlucky with hard drives. The last time this happened, someone from the local Linux user’s group came over and spent eight hours or so doing a complete image of my hard drive and sticking it on a new drive. This time, with quite a bit of help from someone else in the group, I was able to completely rebuild my computer, including installing a brand new operating system and repartitioning the hard drive and everything. I learned a lot about Linux and hard drives and partitioning, and I can’t say that’s bad. I even made my rebuilt computer cooler than it was before. I have things set up now so that when I’m on the road, I can point a web browser at my computer and check my e-mail remotely. This is good for a lot of reasons: now I don’t have to try to install weird software on other computers when I want to check my e-mail, and I don’t have to use a free webmail account.

Having to get new glasses was something else that happened without my approval. Jennifer and I were sitting downstairs, playing Resident Evil, and I took my glasses off to wipe them clean. Then there was a SNAP, and the frame just broke. Poof. Just like that. So the next morning I contacted a commercial eyewear vendor which I won’t name but which I have taken to calling Lensgrifters. I miss my old optometrist in Davis. The prices might have been pretty high, but I felt like I was treated with honesty and respect, instead of like an inconvenient glasses-requiring wallet-carrying sheep. Hidden costs, hard sell tactics, and so on. I did get my new glasses, but discovered to my distress that I’m no longer legal to drive without correction; something I’d been happy about ever since I started wearing glasses in college.

On the other hand, some things have been good about this whole aging thing. The best part is that I’m lucky enough to have a wife who appreciates my need for toys and fanboy gadgets and goodies; for my birthday I received DVD’s of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension. In addition to other goodies, I also got a cool gun that shoots fog rings: like smoke rings, only made of fog instead of smoke. I think it’s a great toy, and the cats think it’s even cooler. Rosemay sniffs at them as they drift past, while Allegra swats at them and then gets annoyed when they dissipate on her.

I’ve decided that this year, the year that I spend being 35, is going to be the year that I obsess on health. I’ve spent years past obsessing on my career, on relationships, and so on, so I figured it’s time for a change. I sat down a couple of weeks ago and decided that I needed to make some fitness goals for 2003. After fussing around with a bunch of different ideas I finally settled on a single goal which I think I can achieve, and this is it: “By December 31, 2003, I will, through a careful diet and a regular exercise program, lose 50 pounds.” I think it’s a good goal because it’s specific, includes the actual plan that I’m going to use, and so on. So far I’ve been doing a good job of working towards this goal; I’ve been eating well, and exercising a lot. It’s going well so far.

And there’s a lot more that I could tell, but it’s after midnight and I’m tired. So I’ll leave you with a promise that I’ll do my best to update this journal at least twice a week from now on.