that birthday parade down mass ave didn't happen again this year. better luck next year!

my mother called in the morning to wish me a happy dirty-first. i already realized that late last night, when the date changed and i was staring at "2/12" on my menubar date. once you arrive at 30, i think you're less likely looking forward to celebrating each additional birthday. every year is a reminder that you're not getting any younger, that the clock is ticking, and now you don't seem to have an infinite amount of time to get your life work done. so i was more than happy to have this day be over, move on to some other day that doesn't quite alert me of my mortality the way that a birthday does.

i went with my parents to have lunch in chinatown at the taiwan cafe. i thought it was kind of ironic, that by next month i'll be in taiwan eating all this stuff. no more slighty-off facsimiles, i'll be eating the real deal.

after lunch we went grocery shopping in chinatown. amidst the clamoring asians out on their weekend food buying expeditions, i managed to go around and snap photos of the wonderful world of asian produce, the myriad of textures and colors and shapes and sizes. in my mind, it seemed like a practice run for things to come. we also went to market basket on somerville avenue (my very first visit, it's a really nice place) before i got a ride home.

later in the evening i took the subway to the paradise lounge in allston, to meet up with eliza and jerica for some free erotic readings. they arrived with thibault (jerica's beau) and dabney (jerica's roommate) along with a basket full of birthday cupcakes (individually handcrafted by jerica). we had a reserved table upstairs in the balcony section. jerica ("j-money", in the proper vernacular) was deejaying the event, 30 minutes of love-related pre-show music, with her assistant eliza. i'd been contributing song suggestions throughout the prior weeks, and jerica was going to end with ABC's "look of love" in honor of my natal anniversary. we ordered pizza and wine, and when my song finally kicked in, cupcake candles were lit and i blew them out (did i make a wish? i think i forgot, but i always wish for the same thing anyway, and it ain't world peace).

the event was billed as "standup sex," where famous local authors (and not so local, one or two folks were from new york) would read either short stories or excerpts from their own work, with the criteria that it had to be erotic. in between readings, there'd be some music. the first was from lisa dierbeck ("one pill makes you smaller") about a lothario in a car trying to pick up a woman walking around with bloody feet on the road. it was pretty much dialogue (and not very erotic at that) and hardly any action. the second reading, from alicia erian ("the brutal language of love"), was probably the most profane and explicit, to the delight of the sex hungry crowd. the story was about a man trying to get his girlfriend to consent to anal sex. i could hear dabney laughing besides me, and when i looked back, i caught the glimpse of a woman behind her with the most horrified-looking expression on her face, which made me laugh even harder, albeit uneasily. next came steve almond ("candyfreak"), who read two short stories, one about a los angeles couple (which happened to involve anal as well), the other about an underachieving college student having a sexual epiphany in the classroom. the show ended with tom perrotta ("election"), a story about noisy collegiate sex and then a hilarious one about a middle-aged man buying used panties and wondering whether or not they were outsourced.

i opened my birthday present from eliza before we left, a set of plastic flamingo-stalked martini glasses, as part of her ongoing conspiracy to convert me to the latent lush that i always knew i was. i got a ride from thibault, first we dropped off dabney and eliza in mission hill, then a ride back to porter square.