So although I turn 35 on Saturday, Angela works then; so celebration day is Friday. Which according to the date atop this node is today, in daylog world, though I'm writing this on Saturday and AM INDEED 35. But pretend it's still yesterday, okay?

I have a hard time figuring out what I want to do on birthdays and so I almost always feel dissatisfied afterward. This time I worked out a list of Stuff that I enjoy doing and which is within our budget (um...mostly) and made a schedule that would allow for maximum fun-stuff-doing and minimal frustrating aimlessness:

  1. Go to the bank and get money.
  2. Go to Vons and get cake mix.
  3. Drive to Tower Video in Point Loma (along the way playing CDs by Weezer and the Who at high volume), which we haven't been to in over a year but which has the best anime selection in town. Rent much anime.
  4. Drive to Round Table Pizza in Rancho Bernardo. Eat pizza and play the jukebox.
  5. Drive back to Mira Mesa and catch a post-lunch showing of Men In Black II.
  6. Make a side trip to Aaron Brothers for framing materials.
  7. Go home. Angela will bake cake and make dinner, and then we will watch our haul of anime.

Steps 1 and 2 were handily condensed when we woke up enough to realize that Vons would give us cash back when we made our purchase there. Angela woke up in a bad mood because of a combination of some things that happened earlier in the week and being awakened way too early by a persistent cat, but through a heroic effort suppressed it because she didn't want to spoil our day together. I was deeply touched by this.

So we headed out to Tower Video, a nice drive down the 805 freeway and a jog westward on the 8. When we got to where the 8 meets the 5 and we were to dive off it onto Rosecrans Blvd., cars were backed up to get on the 5 north toward the beaches. People were driving like nutcases in order to jockey for position. I had to be very nimble several times during the day.

We pulled up to the intersection where, traditionally, Tower Records sits opposite Tower Video. What ho! There IS no Tower Video building anymore! As the Tower Records sign still said "Tower Video" on it, however, we figured they'd combined the two.

Well. After much fruitless searching for the rental section, a polite and helpful young employee who looked exactly like Jay of Jay and Silent Bob fame regretfully told us that Tower had gotten out of the rental business altogether. He said that most of the stock had been bought up by Kensington Video (which is a fantastic video store in our old neighborhood) and we might try there. As it was near eleven o'clock and we were starting to get hungry, I decided to abandon anime for the moment and move on to lunch.

Driving up the 15 freeway toward Rancho Bernardo, we hit Poway Road. I remembered that there was also a Round Table in Poway so I hurled us off the freeway and onto the exit, dodging uncooperative motorists. After a pleasant drive through Poway, which at times felt like an entirely different part of California, we found the (eerily quiet) restaurant and had lunch. Mmmmmm. Round Table pizza GOOD. I popped three quarters in the jukebox and played:

"Are all of these your selections?" Angela asked.

"Yes," I said. "I have really good taste in music," I added by way of explanation.

We returned to Mira Mesa with plenty of time to spare in order to catch the 12:45 showing of MIB II. While waiting in line we chatted briefly with a goofball former co-worker of Angela's who'd recently left Barnes & Noble for the Best Buy across the street. He complained angrily about the minimum wage going up again, declaring that since it was never meant to support a family with 1.5 children, it should not be raised to make that possible. Whatever, man.

Fortunately, they opened the theater doors at that point and we hurried inside. There were a couple of intriguing previews (like I Spy starring Owen Wilson and Eddie Murphy), then a mediocre cartoon, and then the main feature. MIB 2 is mostly incoherent. The action meanders, plot elements come out of nowhere and then fizzle out, the "mystery" is lame and way too much like the first movie's (a search for a powerful artifact brought here by alien royalty, no one knows what exactly it is, a hard-to-kill bad guy who's taken the guise of a human is after it). But Will Smith is funny. And you get to see Lara Flynn Boyle in lingerie a lot. My advice is to wait for the video.

We walked over to Aaron Borthers, who didn't have the frame sizes Angela needed. At this point the day could be considered to have been a bust, full of denied fun and dashed expectations, but we were both having a good time. But now what? The day was still young and full of unfulfilled promise.

We decided to try and find some anime in the neighborhood. A trip to Hollywood Video turned up a dubbed version of Osamu Tezuka's Metropolis on tape -- since the store normally had the DVD, we decided to wait until that came back in and we could see it in Japanese. Feh on dubs! Then we went to Wherehouse which also seems to be getting out of the video rental business as there was almost nothing there. JUST OUT OF CURIOSITY, we wandered over to the section where anime DVDs were on sale.

Dude! Look at all the cool stuff! We hadn't seen any anime in ages because of the poor rental situation, and there were all these titles we'd heard about but never encountered. Since Angela hadn't gotten me a gift yet, we decided that at this point the gift of an anime DVD was entirely appropriate. After a great deal of thought we headed home with a brand-new copy of Dual!.

By this time Angela was pretty tuckered out and didn't much feel like baking a cake AND making dinner, so we decided to get Chinese food. I put in a call to Szechuan House and got a recorded message saying they were closed until Saturday. DENIED AGAIN! So while Angela baked, I ran up to Rice King for gyoza and and order of mushroom chicken, which we ate while watching the first two episodes of Dual!. While the food was merely okay, the anime rocked, being sort of a combination of El-Hazard and Neon Genesis Evangelion. Hooray for Dual!

Then we had ice cream (saving the cake for, tomorrow), I left the dishes for another time, and we read in bed for a while and fell asleep. It was a good day.