knowing that i didn't have to wake up early this saturday morning, i indulged in some deep sleeping, didn't wake up until noon. after getting ready and eating a few leftover chicken wings for lunch, i went and waited outside the liquor store for ed (whom i met at eliza's bbq party last year) to swing by and give me a ride to jerica's xanadu rollerskating birthday party at roller world on route 1 in saugus. we stopped by an apartment on cambridge street to pick up a few french guys - besides their french accent, they seemed like genuine french guys because they smoked inside the house (who does that anymore?). one of them was playing resident evil on a playstation; he didn't understand the intrinsic fact that zombies needed to be shot in the head in order to bring them down, and was summarily mobbed by a gang of undead. we drove out to the science museum and from there it was an easy connection to route 1 north, on our way to saugus.

when we finally got there (it took all our combined efforts to spot the large warehouse building hidden behind a few other structures), jerica, elevated on her roller skates, came out to greet us. the place was pretty much full of families with kids, more a children's amusement park than a place for adults. the rink was dimly lit and had a disco psychedelic theme with cosmic images painted on the walls illuminated by black light. the music was pop, the sort of stuff you'd find on MTV nowadays. we got our skates and put them on. the time to roll was upon us!

except i don't know how to rollerskate: i've never rollerskated, never rollerbladed, and never ice-skated -- basically, zero skating experience. a few of the guys were saying they didn't know how to rollerskate, but they had other kind of skating experience, so it was an easy transition; i had no such luck. this lack of lower torzo dexterity would also explain my utter lack of any kind of dancing skills whatsoever. basically, the only "tricks" my legs can do are walking, running, and biking (i can't even tread water, that's a whole different story). fortunately, there's a small play pen area where children can go to learn how to skate, the kiddie rink. that's where i was, going back and forth, using the walls to stop and to propel myself. jerica held my hand at first and told me a few basics: move the legs in a figure-8 motion, bend the knees, and if you must fall, on the ass is the best way. i smiled nervously as i continued my drills, as children were skating circles around me and i pretended not to notice.

after a while i mustered enough courage to go out on the actual rink. while people were swarming around me, i went at my own pace, skated a full circle in about 5 minutes, then promptly exited. our group then gathered to have some pizza (more party members arrived, including eliza and shauna). after a few more courage-building laps in the kiddie rink, i went back out again, propelled by tara who pulled me along by hand. i did a few more loops before falling hard and losing all further motivation to skate anymore. with wobbly legs, i slowly left the rink and took off my skates. the final damage: my ankles ached a bit and i think i hurt my wrist when i fell on it, but no broken bones. i spent the rest of the afternoon taking photos, something i'm a little bit more familiar with. the camera was acting weird though: i think not only was it too dark, but all the subjects were moving, so the canon had a time focusing so it wouldn't shoot the photo even though i had the button down.

finally it was our turn to go into one of the special birthday rooms (there's a total of four), as jerica's name was called over the loudspeaker.

after we lit the candles and the birthday girl blew them out, the staff of the roller rink cut up the cake for us and served the slices on paper plates through a hole in the wall. the decor made us feel like we were 10 years old when most of us are in our 30's.

after cake everyone was out in full force skating in the rink. i talked with one of the french guys, yoyo, about how america compares to france. it was pretty interesting, he said he had more freedom in france, and that back home people enjoyed life much more than they do here in the US. around 5:30 suddenly the lights went on - closing time! people left the rink and the staff were out setting up folding tables and chairs (bingo night?). we returned our skates even though it would've been easy to steal them - you'd have to be pretty hardcore to steal those antiques though. ed gave us all rides back to cambridge - i elected to sit in the back, letting one of the taller guys have the front seat.

back at home, i chilled out, heated up a toaster oven pizza (that's all i eat these days!), before going out to joel's surprise birthday party at red bones (though technically his birthday was earlier this week). i met up with julie around 9pm because i didn't want to be there alone. when we arrived, the place was crowded (natch, for a weekend), but joel and sara were nowhere to be seen. that's when i called up joel, to ask him where he was. that's when i realized this might've been a surprise party, but it was already too late. "hey, where are you?" i asked him. "oh, me and sara are heading out to red bones; what're you up to?" he said. i think i tried to deflect the question by asking him about march madness and UConn advancing last night. sara was yelling in the background, "we're finding a place to park!" minutes later they arrived. since we made no reservation, we all stood around downstairs by the bar, until eventually a few stools became available. more and more party members arrived, including tim (and his girlfriend), as well as chris (all screen house alumni). tim's girlfriend used to be a biker so we had a lot to talk about. and as customary whenever we xtshers get together, we reminisced about the good old days and who we still keep in contact with.

around midnight, both julie and i split. i came home hoping to catch a repeat of tonight's episode of hustle but it was superceded by a james bond movies marathon on AMC. double-oh-sucks!