i woke up this morning thinking i'd feel different some how, yet everything felt the same. and why shouldn't? did i think upon waking at age 30 i would somehow acquire special powers? or maybe a physical transformation, like wings or horns? the whole thing about turning 30 just seemed so funny to me, and i got out of bed and went to the bathroom with a smile. if you have a sense a humor about life, you can get through anything. i checked my computer for the weather, and saw two e-mails from renata, the first in a series of birthday well wishing from friends and family. before i stepped out the door, renata even called me, a very touching gesture which i think i was at a lost for the right words to say. my birthdays, regardless of what age, are always about my secret desire for an outpouring of recognition on my special day, yet at the same time i shun the attention, preferring to stay in the background, not wanting to draw too much attention to myself.

i went to work, still feeling very funny about the whole thing. i wanted to tell perfect strangers that, "hey, i'm 30 years old today!" i looked around my fellow commuters and wondered if they could some how sense that i was a little different today. "hmmm, that guy must be 30 years old," i imagine them to be thinking in their heads. when i arrived at the office, i got some birthday love as coworkers congratulated me on surviving for this long. now the office is exactly divided amongst those who are still twentysomething and those who are thirtysomething. adam, born in 1974 like me, will turn 30 this year as well, so when that happens, there will be a thirtysomething majority! ah, those twentysomethings, don't worry, i still love you, you're good for a quick laugh or perhaps a cheap thrill! fighting words! not even a day old in this new decade and i'm already swinging!

as is customary at squid when it's an employee's birthday, the bosses take us out for lunch. we headed to shabuzen around 1pm, and to my astonishment, the place was packed, with no place to fit our party of eight. shabuzen was recently reviewed by the phantom gourmet, and this late lunch crowd might be a result of that. "about a 15 minute wait," one of the waiters told us. we all looked at each other like, "what to do now?" i suggested apollo grille as an alternative, and alex went to go see if they would have a table for us, which they did (he phoned me from across the street). so we all ended up going to apollo instead.

i'm not sure, but it seemed like nobody else had ever been here before. we ordered some appetizers, barbecued squid, spring rolls, and edumame beans. i got the short ribs box lunch special again, my third time in 2 weeks, that's got to be some sort of personal korean box lunch record. james, sitting across from me, had the sushi lunch, which looked really colorful, different cuts of raw fish on display, who knew fish flesh had such a colorful palette? adam put on a brave face, despite the fact that he's notoriously known for being a finicky eater, he worked on his box lunch special even though most of the stuff he couldn't touch because they had seafood in them, which he's allergic to. the topic du jour was reality tv shows, as much as we hate them, we've all sampled some of these programs. later, everyone shared their concerns about the current president, and i assured everyone there was nothing to worry about because i was sure bush would be voted out of the office come november. once again, james got the check when the lunch was over, and we think it's maybe because of his hair, which is peppered in white, making him appear much older than he really is.

i left work listening to mandy's message on my cellphone, an offkey serenade. i went to star market and got myself a carvel ice cream cake. when i got home, there was a package waiting for me. it was from klea, who's own birthday would be in two days, a set of scifi themed fridge magnets. minutes later, the doorbell rang, and i was surprised to see my old neighbor bruce standing on the doorstep, here in town for the valentine weekend to visit jack. he hand-delivered a small bottle of champagne. my parents then showed up to take me back to belmont for a homecooked meal. yiou-yeuh-gen and senjian bao. later, we had some ice cream cake before i got a ride back to cambridge.