One way that I easily remember my wife's birthday every year is that it is exactly one week before Linda Hamillton's (a.k.a. Sarah Connor from The Terminator). Also, her birthday is seven days before mine. Other cinematic heroines that remind me, in specific ways, of her: Amelie from Amelie, Ripley from Aliens, Jamie Lee Curtis from True Lies, Grace Kelly from everything, MacGyver, Frank from Old School, The Bride from Kill Bill, that one French girl from that other Tarantino film, George Michael from Arrested Development, Tina Fey in general, Elastigirl from the Incredibles...a little bit of all the best things in the universe.

Polyphonic Spree's Soldier Girl reminds me of her too.

She makes my head spin around.

Happy birthday, Girl.


The Polyphonic Spree
Soldier Girl
The Beginning Stages of...


When I was a guest teacher* in Southern California years ago, I was ganged up on by a gang of trying-hard-to-be-gangsters and the room went dark and madness erupted -

- but that is another story. The point is that being a parent with my wife has given her the opportunity to join a gang too. The gang that is our children, and that frequently gangs up on me. She has the opportunity to join that gang frequently and sometimes she does. But sometimes she doesn't, and she is on my side as we battle a seven- and four-year old duo of gangsters, and when she's on my side, it's more even, so I am appreciative for those times when we can gang up on the gang together. We have gone through the fire together - not literally, though I have badly burned my finger before - but rather the fire of parenting (I prefer the other term I coined: childrening, which puts the responsibility and blame where it should be), and it is generally more enjoyable to be on a team with someone who is on your team. Or gang. One example would be how our children inexplicably loathe Leonard Cohen. She could take their side, and curry favor, but she has stood steadfast next to me and blasted Who By Fire next to me as they groaned and grumbled and we laughed as the flames burned around us (that 'through fire' thing, not real fire, otherwise I would have called the firefighting gang). Leonard is such a masterful old poetic gangster, and I'm glad to not be married to him, but rather, to someone who is not like him, but likes him. Respect.

Happy birthday, OG Becca.


Leonard Cohen
Who By Fire
New Skin for the Old Ceremony

*a more elegant term the district insisted on calling its substitute teachers


Technically, most people don't think of me as a scientist, per se. But ever since my wife gave me one of her old white lab coats, I tend to think of myself as almost one. And in a sense, I am, because I am wearing a lab coat that almost fits, and I truly am interested in quantum mechanics, time travel, reading quotes by Albert Einstein, and watching Fringe. But in my heart, I know that technically I will never be offered a teaching position at MIT. And I think that maybe my wife is resigned to the fact that I'll never be a prize-winning scientist, but - and this is what I love about her - she has never discouraged me from wearing the old lab coat that doesn't fit me very well, because she knows it makes me happy to wear it, and that in a way, it does possibly bring her happiness to feel that she's married to a successful scientist working on the fringes of science, but then we both know at the end of the day I'm not actually a technical scientist: I'm just a mid-sized guy with good posture and poor eyesight who believes that science is real and that space travel is truly possible. She sees that glimmer of possibility in me, that underneath the ill fitting lab coat, there beats the heart of a scientist, if not the brain. And I know that everything is possible.


There's a few regrets I have in life, probably the biggest being that I didn't invest in Apple stock in the early '80s. To be fair, I was five or six years old, but still, no excuses. And sometimes there's partial regrets, like experiencing something really cool, but not having someone with you who you know would really enjoy it, like when I went to see Mercury Rev in L.A. a decade ago and it turned out to be one of my favourite shows ever, or going to see Alt-j last year, and it turned out to be fantastic, and I know Becca would have loved both, but she didn't go because of reasons that are vague to history (Studying? Work? Children?). But she wanted me to go, and she wanted me to have a good time, and she was happy for how much I enjoyed both. So I think what I learned from that is this: try not to ever miss out on anything really cool, and maybe just bring the children too. And also, try to be genuinely happy for other people when good things happen to them. Like she was for me. A good lesson. No more ragrets.

Happy b-day weekend, Countess.


Still get goosebumps over Mercury Rev's The Dark Is Rising.

Mercury Rev
The Dark Is Rising
All Is Dream


We fell in love at a bakery, at least I did. She worked there; the early morning shift at the small town bakery. I studied at a table with an eyeline to the front counter. I thought I was going to study and get a free bagel once in a while, but then (like I said) I accidentally fell into love so sometimes things happen that you're unaware are happening until afterwards; at which point you have to go back and try to understand history and break things down, like economists do after market crashes retroactively to make themselves sound prescient. Unfortunately, this was pre-smartphone, pre-Instagram, pre-everyone flashing around cameras for no reason so I never usually thought in terms of capturing those early morning bakery rendezvouses. It just exists in our donut-foggy memories. I wish we had one picture of me with my head down studying in the corner, and her behind the counter surreptitiously checking me out. That's a moment I wish we had recorded. Also, I left her a $500* tip once. I've wondered what she did with that. She wore an apron and played good music: Ben Harper, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder. One day I finally said I Like You, but it took me 90 minutes to get through that three-word sentence; maybe it's a plus for me that I'll never have to wonder if that conversation is floating around in a digital cloud somewhere.

I love tracking history with technology and freezing moments for eternity**, but sometimes there's satisfaction in knowing that reality will never collide with our personal mythology & history and that I can keep all the great moments intact with my imagination, unencumbered by the brutality of frozen actuality.

Happy birthday, Barista Becca. I lost my 4.0***, but got some decent coffee and a bride. Wouldn't trade.


The Raveonettes
Chain Gang of Love


**EMP issues aside

***technically, was already lost. Again though, I prefer the romanticized Faustian notion that I traded my GPA for love.

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