Posts Tagged ‘birthday’

9,497 days

Posted: 2 November 2021 in 2022 minus, birthday, family, life, phil
Tags: , , ,

Twenty-six.

It’s an important number, you know.

It’s the atomic number of iron for one thing, and where would Tony Stark be without knowing th– what’s that you say? It’s not made of iron? Well, why the hell is he call… no, forget it. I digress.

Well, 26 is also the only integer that is one greater than a square (5² + 1) and one less than a cube (3³ − 1). Did you know that? Moreover, while a 3 × 3 × 3 cube is made of 27 unit cubes, only 26 of them are viewable as the exterior layer.

Oh, and in base ten, 26 is the smallest number that is not a palindrome to have a square (26² = 676) that is a palindrome.

None of which is particularly important or relevant today, or at least they’re of far less importance and relevance than the fact that today is my son’s twenty-sixth birthday.

Yeah, I know. Twenty-six.

Wow.

I’m not as surprised as I was when he hit 25, to be honest, but I’ll let those of you who’ve known him for some years, especially those of you who met him when he was ten years old, attending his first comics con, take a second or two to do a mental brain-flip while you accept it.

Because Phil is now older than some of my friends – noted comics pros – were when I met them.

Philip Samuel Barnett – known to almost everyone bar his mum as ‘Phil’ – was born on 2nd November 1995, at half past nine in the evening. In 1995, he was 8lb 3oz, and 21½” long. He’s a wee bit heavier than that now, and a whole lot taller.

Twenty-six years old.

I’ve said many times – and it remains as true today as it was the day he was born and every day since – that being a father is the most fun thing I’ve ever done, bar none. Nothing else comes even close to the pleasure, the joy, and the sheer fun of being a father, of being his father.

Now let’s get the obvious one out of the way: anyone who says being a parent is easy is either ignorant, lying or a masochist. It’s not easy, far from it. Responsibilities are not meant to be easy, but this one is a responsibility that I love performing and undertaking, and the reason for that is simple: it’s solely because it’s Philip who’s my son.

As I’ve witnessed, helped (and hopefully not hindered too much) his progress through life, from baby to toddler, from toddler to child, from child to young adult, from young adult to a grown man…

Alongside wonder, my emotions have been, and continue to be, those of pride and pleasure in the man he’s turned into. The credit for an incredible amount of that must go to my ex-wife Laura; she’s a wonderful mother. And I’m constantly filled with justifiable hope and confidence for the adult he’s become, and the life he’ll experince in the next few years to come.

He’s currently living in Cardiff, and I don’t get to see him in person nearly as much as I’d like. But one of the very few silver linings in the aburdity of the past couple of years has been the weekly Zoom chats he, and his mother, and me, have shared and enjoyed. It’s been a continuing surprise to me just how much I’ve liked them, how important they’ve become, and have been, to my week, that I get to see them both, and especially Phil, on a screen.

And to chat, and laugh, and spend time – virtually, I acknowledge – in his company.

As always, however, I have no idea how he went from:

to

to

to

to

to

to

in what as always seems like an astonishingly short space of time.

Appy birthday, Phil. I love you, son. I hope the year to come is one full of fun, and joy, and wonder, and loveliness.

Dad
x

[Feel free to add your birthday greetings and wishes here, or tweet him at @phik_vicious…]


This post is very much not part of the series of blog entries, counting down to the new year. But you can see them by clicking here.

It’s my fifty-seventh birthday today. Which, if it comes as news to you, means you really haven’t been paying much attention at all.

As on previous birthdays, I’ve absolutely no intention of blogging about anything serious, nor about anything on subjects profound.

I’ll merely commend to you the worls of astronaut and Senator John Glenn:

“For all the advances in medicine, there is still no cure for the common birthday.” ‪

But since I don’t want to leave you with that alone, and as it is Tuesday, here are a couple of the creepier fast fictions I’ve written, both dealing with birthdays… of one sort or another.

Enjoy.


Title: A Birthday Treat
Word: hazel
Challenger: [Livejournal: mrs_karen_bear]
Length: 200 words exactly

On the eve of her second ninetieth birthday, she realised once again that she found old age a great comfort; it allowed her to express herself so bluntly without others criticising that she often wondered at the correlation between age and misanthropy.

The Procedure.

It was always capitalised in her mind, much as her first boyfriend was forever The Boyfriend. The Procedure would return her body to the condition it was when she’d been 29, the deep lines on her face gone, and the vision from her once soft hazel eyes restored. She blinked, twice, and then swallowed.

When she’d had The Procedure the first time, six decades previously, she hadn’t understood everything, but she’d been so hungry to live, so consumed with the urge not to die, that she’d agreed within minutes of it being offered.

Over sixty years of extra life, sixty years of thinking, sixty years of watching the world change. They couldn’t promise any additional changes, of course.

She leaned forward in the chair and sipped the liquid slowly, wondering about another sixty years in the chair she’d been confined to since a teenager.

Quadriplegia. Another sixty birthdays of people waiting on her.

She couldn’t wait.

© Lee Barnett, 2009


Title: Birthday Promises
Word: western
Challenger: [Livejournal: rachieb1807]
Length: 200 words exactly

He shouldn’t have had the file; police records shouldn’t be removed, but he wasn’t the only retired detective to take home copies of unsolved cases, to look at in the empty days after leaving a lifetime’s work.

He opened the file and read her name, studied the picture, noted the date of birth, and did a quick mental calculation.

You’d have been 32 today, hunny.

The press had called him The Birthday Killer, because the girl had been killed on her twenty-first birthday. Well, it was assumed she’d been killed – they’d never found most of her body. Small parts of her body, yes, but not the torso, nor the head, nor all of her limbs.

Just like the others. Three hundred and sixty-six in all over a seventeen year period.

He’d sworn when he’d retired never to forget them. His squad’s biggest failure.

He returned the file to the cabinet, putting it in its correct place, among the almost four hundred similar files.

They’d never found her body. He knew that because he’d visited her grave in the western pasture that afternoon.

Tomorrow it would be another grave and another file.

He’d sworn when he’d retired never to forget them.

© Lee Barnett, 2010


 

See you tomorrow, with… something new.

 
 

 
Not really part of the series of blog entries, counting down to my fifty-seventh birthday today, but if you want to read the series, you can see the posts in the run by clicking here.

I’m trying something new with this run. I’ve signed up to ko-fi.com, so if you fancy throwing me a couple of dollars every so often, to keep me in a caffeine-fuelled typing mood, feel free. I’m on https://ko-fi.com/budgiehypoth

It’s my fifty-fifth birthday today. Which should, and will, I suspect, come as no surprise to anyone reading this.

I’ve absolutely no intention of blogging about anything serious, nor on subjects profound.

I’ll merely a relate a tale I’ve previously told on Twitter… but since it is my birthday and I’m now well into my mid-fifties, I get to retell favourite anedotes occasionally. Or more than occasionally. Look, those are the rules; I didn’t make them up.

So this occurred the back end of 2018, after November’s Distraction Club. On the way back to Richmond, where I was crashing overnight, Mitch Benn and I stop off at an all night shop to pick up some shopping.

I pick up a few items and go outside to vape for a bit while I wait for Mitch to complete his shopping.

A car draws up, playing very loud music; a couple, both 20-somethings in the car. The woman jumps out, and as she exits the car, I catch the very end of the young fella saying “…well, I don’t know! Ask the old man…”

Whereupon she approaches me and is about to speak when the man shouts “NO! IN THE SHOP! ASK THE OLD MAN IN THE SHOP… not that, erm, er, er, young man.

The woman immediately stops short, mouth opening and shutting like a goldfish, struggles a moment on whether or not to apologise, then sort of mumbles a very quiet ‘sorry’ and scoots past me.

I look at the fella in the car.

He looks at me.

I… I… I… Sorry, mate…

“No problem,” says I, hugely and genuinely amused at his embarrassment.

He puts his head in his hands. “Young man. YOUNG man…”

“It’s fine, I say.

We chat for a moment, then Mitch comes out and we leave, while I’m struggling not to double up with laughter.

I just about make it to the car before doing so.

So, from one old ‘young man’ to the rest of you youngsters, here are some quotes about birthdays and aging.

“I remember when the candle shop burned down. Everyone stood around singing ‘Happy Birthday.’ ”
‪—‬ Steven Wright

“If you live to the age of a hundred, you have it made because very few people die past the age of a hundred.”
‪—‬ George Burns

“Wisdom doesn’t necessarily come with age. Sometimes age just shows up all by itself.”
‪—‬ Tom Wilson

“You’ve heard of the three ages of man – youth, age, and “you are looking wonderful.”
‪—‬ Francis Cardinal Spellman

“You are only young once, but you can stay immature indefinitely.”
‪—‬ Ogden Nash

“What we sell is the ability for a 43-year-old accountant to dress in black leather, ride through small towns and have people be afraid of him.”
Harley exec, quoted in Results-Based Leadership

“Never too late to learn some embarrassingly basic, stupidly obvious things about oneself.”
Alain de Botton

“The years between 50 and 70 are the hardest. You are always being asked to do things, and yet you are not decrepit enough to turn them down.”
T.S. Eliot

And, finally, from John Glenn:

“For all the advances in medicine, there is still no cure for the common birthday.” ‪

Have a good Saturday, all… and thanks for reading. You’ve made an old a young man very happy.
 
 


 
Not really part of the series of blog entries, counting down to my fifty-fifth birthday today, but if you want to read the series, you can see the posts in the run by clicking here.

Twenty-one.

It’s an important number, you know.

For example, you may or may not know that twenty-one is a semiprime number. Also that it’s a Fibonacci number. But were you aware that it’s the sum of the first six natural numbers (1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 = 21), making it a triangular number?

It also has an important role in Blackjack.

None of which is particularly important today, or at least they’re of far less importance than the fact that today is my son’s twenty-first birthday.

Yeah, I know. Twenty-one. I’m having some problems processing that fact myself, and I’ll let those of you who’ve known him for some years take a second or two to do a mental brain-flip while you accept it.

Philip Samuel Barnett – known to almost everyone bar his mum as ‘Phil’ – was born on 2nd November 1995; at half past nine in the evening if you’re curious. And today, it’s 2nd November 2016.

In 1995, he was 8lb 3oz, and 21½” long. He’s a bit heavier than that now, and a whole lot taller.

Twenty-one years old. And engaged to his girlf-, no, his fiancée, Rhiannon, who – in one of those sparks of synchronicity that makes you wonder – is twenty-one herself, tomorrow.

Twenty-one years old. Wow.

I’ve said many times – and it remains as true today as it was the day he was born – that being a father is the most fun thing I’ve ever done, bar none.

Now let’s get it straight: anyone who says being a parent is easy is either ignorant, lying or a masochist. It’s not easy, far from it. It’s not meant to be easy, but it is a responsibility that I love performing and undertaking, and the reason for that is simple: it’s solely because it’s Philip who’s my son.

As I’ve witnessed, helped (and hopefully not hindered too much) his progress through life, from baby to toddler, from toddler to child, from child to young adult, alongside wonder, my emotions have been, and continue to be, those of pride and pleasure in the young man he’s turned into. The credit for an incredible amount of that must go to Laura; she’s a wonderful mother. And I’m constantly filled with justifiable hope and confidence for the adult he’s become, and the adult he will become in the next few years.

He’s currently studying at Aberystwyth University with Rhee, and I don’t get to see him nearly as much as I’d like. But fortunately, I got to spend last night with them both at The Distraction Club – which I’m going to write about more in a later blog entry – and it’s time I wouldn’t swap for anything… 

As always, however, I have no idea how he went from:

to

to

to

to

to

to

in what seems like an astonishingly short space of time.

‘Appy birthday, Phil. I love you, son.

Dad
x

[Feel free to add your birthday greetings and wishes here, or tweet him at @phik_vicious…]

This post is part of a series of blog entries, counting down to 1st January 2017. You can see other posts in the run by clicking here.

Well, I’m 50.

To be precise, I was 50 yesterday and those of you who’ve been following the countdown on this blog may – with some justification – have expected a blog post from me before lights out last night. And, to be fair to myself, I’d actively and positively intended to post something before I crawled into bed and pushed the light switch into the off position.

Ah, the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft agley, especially when numerous examples of what Alistair Cooke used to call the wine of Scotland are involved.

I mean, it’s not even as if I’d planned planned on coming up to Edinburgh this year; like the past few birthdays, I fully expected to spend the day on my own and just wandering as on any other Sunday. However, the opportunity to (a) come up to Edinburgh for a few days during the Festival, and then (b) to travel onwards for another few days to stay at an old friend’s house on the Isle of Skye was too good to pass up.

So, I arrived Saturday morning in Edinburgh after a couple of hours driving; I’d come up with Clara Benn and the girls but once I’d fallen asleep after the first stint, surrendering the driving to Clara. She very foolishly kindly let me sleep and drove the rest of the journey.

A nice pleasant, relaxing Saturday afternoon followed before we headed into town for my first Fringe experience of 2014, seeing the most excellent Nick Doody in his show: Nick Doody vs The Debonair Assassin. Nick’s a funny, clever man with a clever, funny show in part discussing the difference between how we see ourselves and how others see us. Brilliantly incisive and superbly funny. Highly recommended. No, sod that; I’m telling you to go see him.

Although we got out early enough to see another show if we fancied, to be honest, I was enjoying just soaking up the atmosphere of the Fringe; Nick, Clara and I then visited several bars and caught up with other comedians, most of whom I knew and chatted away, passing the hours in a very pleasant manner.

At one point, we found ourselves at the abattoir bar, with an amusingly appropriate wifi password, and although the place was packed with comedians, and there’s no way whatsoever that I should have felt comfortable – since I’m obviously not in the business – I didn’t. It took me about ten minutes to realise why: the atnmosphere, sounds, and sights were almost exactly the same as that at a comics convention (comics in the meaning of comic books) after the punters have gone home and it’s just the pros and hangers-on* remaining.

*(e.g. me.)

The same tone of stories were being told, the same age range was there, the same relaxed comfortable nature of professionals catching up in a social environment with other professionals in the same industry.

It’s funny – I’ve always thought that it’s amusing that comics can be taken as meaning comic books and comedians, especially since the bile thrown at women in both industries is distressingly similar: the vile insinuations as to how they got their break, the ludicrous assertions that there’s something inherently and qualitatively better about the work of men, and the flatly outrageous sexism online.

Somewhere in the very wee hours, my phone buzzing with texts, emails and twitter notifications wishing me happy birthday, we headed back to the house in which we’re all staying, old friends of Mitch Benn and Clara.

And so to bed.

Woke up mid-morning and then quickly into the city centre to meet up with Emma Vieceli and her husband Pud for lunch. Emma’s up here in Parade; I’m hoping to see it when I get back from Skye; you should see it now if you can. Lovely to see Emma and Pud; they’re always great company, and Emma genuinely is one of the nicest people in comics, as well as a fascinatingly wonderful artist. You should be reading Breaks by her for a start…

After lunch – delicious! – headed off to The Stand 3 to see Mitch Benn Is The 37th Beatle; although I’ve seen several versions of this show, this was a new one to me, as although it’s returned to the hour length of last year’s Fringe version, there’s at least one new song (from the 80 minute touring version), and a few minor differences and new jokes I couldn’t recall hearing before. Lovely show, as always though; it’s my favourite of Mitch’s recent shows, but of course, I haven’t seen this year’s show yet…

Bumped into Andy Salzman as I was leaving Mitch’s venue; Andy’s a lovely bloke, and he very kindly supplied a challenge for last year’s Comic Relief 24 Hours of Fast Fiction, this one. Confirmed with him when his shows are this year, Satirist For Hire in the afternoon, Political Animal at night. I’ve plans to see both if I can. You may know Andy from The Bugle podcast, or from Radio Five Live’s 7 Day Saturday. Or you may not have heard of him at all; if it’s the latter, I highly recommend you remedy this loss in your satirical needs.

Thinking of Andy reminds me of John Oliver (Andy’s partner on The Bugle) and his new venture, Last Week Tonight. Anyone who saw him sub for Jon Stewart on the Daily Show knew that John was ready for his own show, and I’m more pleased than I can say that not only has Last Week Tonight been a roaring success so quickly, but also that it’s established with astonishing rapidity its own, very different, identity from that which most people thought it might be, i.e. The Daily Show on Sundays. That the show has managed to do that is fantastic for all involved but especially for its audience which if there is any justice in television is sky rocketing week after week.

Anyway, back to me. When you left me… (ok, ok, that was a long digression, I know), I had just left Mitch’s gig and was on my way to The Pear Tree wherein I intended to reside for the rest of the day, enjoying friends, acquaintances and possibly one or two people I didn’t know, stopping by to help me celebrate my 50th birthday with chat, stories and alcohol.

Now I don’t want to spoil the story but… that’s pretty much exactly how it worked out. Too many people to list everyone but it was so bloody lovely to see Carly Smallman, if only briefly, as well as Kirsty Newton and Nick Doody; Jay Foreman dropped by, which is always a pleasure, as did Tiernan Douieb and Matt Blair. And the gorgeous Pippa Evans popped by as well… (Loretta Maine promised to come, but strangely couldn’t make it.)

Can’t thank Mitch and Clara enough for organising it; was a lovely day, and a lovely evening.

Managed to get to see Al Kennedy and his missus Cariie, as well as their six-week old daughter, who was cuter than any child has any right to be. Despite me merely wanting people’s presence, rather than presents, I must mention two presents I got.

I already mentioned Clara buying me a first edition of my favourite novel, The Man by Irving Wallace.

Al and Carrie’s present was a tad more recent, but it involved one of my favourite writers and one of my favourite artists, Kurt Busiek and Stu Immonen respectively. Somehow, somehow, I’ve never reasd ShockRockets, their 2000 book.

So, I was particularly delighted to receive a hardback collection of the entire series. Really looking forward to reading this.

When I returned home, suitably relaxed, suitably chilled, and not shaken at all, let alone stirred, Mitch presented me with the following:

As the more sharp-eyed of you will see, the pen has the words MAKE GOOD ART engraved upon it, a worthy sentiment most often expressed by our mutual friend Neil Gaiman, but one which I commend to everyone reading this.

And that was my birthday, leaving out the hour or so during the evening when Clara and I nipped out for a bite to eat, which I didn’t quite realise I needed as much as I did until the first bit of food hit my stomach….

It almost feels like cheating to talk about today, but since it’s got a link to the above, why not? It was Kirsty Newton’s dad’s birthday today (as well, coincidentally hers as well) and she’d organised a ‘flash mob’ to sing Happy Birthday to him at half-three this afternoon. Since she wanted unique things to happen for and to him today I offered to write him a short story, an offer which she accepted. So, this morning, I typed out a short story written specifically for him. And then… I hand-wrote the story, using the my new fountain pen, onto Basildon Bond paper, sealed it in an envelope and presented it to him this afternoon, a story no-one else will ever read unless he chooses to let them read it.

I think it’s nice and appropriate that the first thing I wrote with a pen engraved with MAKE GOOD ART was a story written specifically for one person.

As for the next thirty-six hours (I’m leaving for Skye on Wednesday morning), I’ve plans to see Salzman, and tonight, Jess Robinson in her four and five star reviewed Mighty Voice. As for the rest, I’ll see what occurs… it’s not as if I’m short of choices, is it?

5,844 days

Posted: 2 November 2011 in birthday, family, personal, phil
Tags: , ,

Sixteen.

It’s an important number, you know.

For example, you presumably know that the number sixteen is a composite number, and a square number, being 42. But were you aware that it’s not only the smallest number with exactly five divisors, but that because it’s a power of two, it also has an aliquot sum one less than itself, fifteen?

And never underestimate the importance of sixteen as a quantity, either. There are sixteen frames in the moving image to your right. Just sixteen.

Sixteen is also the age at which many things of import occur, including – of course – having to suffer Neil Sedaka’s Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen being sung to you on your birthday.

Yeah, I’ll take care of that later; for today, you see, is my son’s sixteenth birthday.

Yeah, I know. Sixteen. I’m having some problems processing that fact myself, and I’ll let those of you who’ve known him for some years take a second or two to do a mental brain-flip while you accept it.

Philip Samuel Barnett – known to almost everyone bar his mum as ‘Phil’, and to one friend who corresponds with both Laura and me as “Phil(ip)” – was born on 2nd November 1995; at half past nine in the evening if you’re curious. And today, it’s 2nd November 2011.

In 1995, he was 8lb 3oz, and 21½” long. He’s a bit heavier than that now, and a whole lot taller, currently a shade over 5′ 9″, and yes, it won’t be too long before he’s taller than me. That’s cool. That’s good. A son should be taller than his father. That’s natural. That’s how it should be.

(Readers are solemnly invited to remind me of those lines when, in years to come, I have to reach up to him to pass him the requested car keys.)

Sixteen years old.

Wow.

I’ve said many times – and it remains as true today as it was the day he was born – that being a father is the most fun thing I’ve ever done, bar none.

Now let’s get it straight: anyone who says being a parent is easy is either ignorant, lying or a masochist. It’s not easy, far from it. It’s not meant to be easy, but it is a responsibility that I love performing and undertaking, and the reason for that is simple: it’s solely because it’s Philip who’s my son.

As I’ve witnessed, helped (and hopefully not hindered too much) his progress through life, from baby to toddler, from toddler to child, from child to young adult, alongside wonder, my emotions have been, and continue to be, those of pride and pleasure in the young man he’s turned into. The credit for an incredible amount of that must go to Laura; she’s a wonderful mother. And I’m constantly filled with justifiable hope and confidence for the young adult he’s become, and the adult he will become in the next few years.

As always, however, I have no idea how he went from:

to

to

to

to

to

in what seems like an astonishingly short space of time.

‘Appy birthday, Phil. I love you, son.

Dad
x

[Feel free to add your birthday greetings and wishes here, I’ll make sure he sees them…]