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January 2, 2003

I am 44 today, and I feel old as shit. Bloody hell. [12:12 AM]
Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on I am 44 today,:

anna ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 12:26 AM:

...but happy birthday anyway. at least you don't *look* as old as shit.

anna ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 01:01 AM:

ok, i've realized that probably was quite unhelpful. i shall rephrase: HAPPY BIRTHDAY! at least you don't *act* as old as shit.

Greg van Eekhout ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 01:42 AM:

I've felt old as shit since I turned 11. Happy Birthday!

Ulrika O'Brien ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 02:18 AM:

Wow. I knew everyone has a doppelganger somewhere in fandom, but I never imagined that you were once Terry Karney's. Since I expect that probably means nothing to you now I'll see if I can't supply photographic evidence. Spooky.

So anyway, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! You seem perfectly fresh and dewy to me. If you still feel creaky, consider taking up writing (more) fiction. Martha Soukup assures me this is good for at least five years of being refered to as "young".

julia ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 05:06 AM:

I think everyone has one of those birthdays where they feel like shit about age. After that, it seems to be all uphill.

Happy Birthday, anyway. Or serene, anyway, if you can't pull off happy.

Andrew Brown ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 06:53 AM:

Many happy returns! Soon you will realise that any damn fool can be young (the proof is left as an exercise for the reader). The really praiseworthy feat is to have survived.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 07:19 AM:

God, that picture takes me back. I had to go and hide in a stairwell for a while one Tuscon, my heart was beating so hard. Bei mir bist du schoen. And happy birthday.

Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 07:43 AM:

Happy Birthday.

I rolled up my trouser legs long ago. Goddam mermaids.

Sam Heldman ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 07:44 AM:

Age makes us more beautiful. Just keep saying that, and it comes to seem like it's true.

Happy Birthday!

Zed ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 07:50 AM:

Happy Birthday, Patrick! You're really not old as shit.

Cory Doctorow ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 08:30 AM:

HFDB, you old bastid!

Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 09:48 AM:

But your hair is much improved. (And never forget that getting older beats the alternative.) Many happy returns.

misanthropyst ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 10:01 AM:

41? Hell, I got blue jeans that old...

Jon ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 10:04 AM:

Happy birthday. And may you live long enough to someday wish you were a "mere 44" again.

Myke ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 10:05 AM:

Happy birthday. Look on the bright side, at least you don't just plain old "feel like s$#t." The "old as" part is actually a plus.

Emma ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 10:16 AM:

Many happy returns, Patrick. I think you hit the OOOPS wall. I did the same thing;many people seem to handle 40 ok, then they hit the double 4s and it all comes tumbling down.
Trust me. By next year, you'll be wondering what the fuss was all about.

Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 10:26 AM:

Happy Birthday! Here's something to be pleased about:

Having heard recently from many people that they really like a cartoon called Spongebob Squarepants, I watched a couple of recent epsiodes. Turns out Spongebob's best friend is a goofy, not very bright starfish named Patrick. I had an almost irresistable urge to get online, find Patrick action figures and have them sent to you for your birthday. I did, in fact, find some online, but I resisted the temptation to have them sent to you. No, no, don't thank me. What are friends for?

Hugs, felicitations, and wishes for many more happy birthdays.


Alison Scott ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 11:06 AM:

I hope you have a very happy birthday. It's hard to tell, what with the monochrome and everything, but you almost look blonde in that picture.

One of the things that makes me feel old is the way that it turns out to be so easy to amuse ourselves, these days, by just looking at old photos of our friends.

Bill Higgins ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 11:24 AM:

If Isaac Asimov were alive today, he'd be celebrating his 83rd birthday. Just one of those things I happen to remember.

I'm glad *you're* alive today. Happy Birthday.

(Me? 49, ten days from now.)

jennyzilla ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 11:51 AM:

Born on Asimov's birthday? How auspicious! Have a very merry one.....What kind of cake is Teresa baking for you?

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 01:13 PM:

Asimov's birthday. Except that, if I recall correctly, Asimov was born in Russia before they adopted the modern calendar, and I've never been clear on whether January 2 is (a) the day on the calendar where and when Asimov was born, or (b) that day "translated" into our calendar.

Other people born on January 2: Oddly likable right-wing lunatic Barry Goldwater. Puzzling celebrity Cuba Gooding, Jr. Disgraced evangelist Jim Bakker. Disgraced Illinois congressman Dan Rostenkowski. Boring Illinois congressman, and Speaker of the House, J. Dennis Hastert. "20th Century Genocidal Dictators" finalist Josef Stalin. And income-tax evader Al Capone.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 01:14 PM:

Oh, and thank you all for the kind words.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 01:32 PM:

No cake. We're on our Atkins diet again after a brief fling consisting of Christmas Day feasting, plus the time it took to eat up all the leftovers; but now it's back to protein plus bits of green salad.

Thing is, we don't usually celebrate Patrick's birthday with a cake anyway, because by January 2nd everyone's had their fill of sweets. He gets a Birthday Something, variable from year to year, with candles stuck in it. One memorable year it was a sort of gazpacho tomato aspic made in an ornate fish mold, with details piped on in devilled egg filling, and googly olive eyes.

I was thinking that this year I'd do something reasonably sumptuous involving seafood -- say, my Yellow Polka-Dot Rockfish, poached in a saffron broth, then topped with a dollop of creme fraiche and caviar. The creme fraiche melts, the dots of caviar get all over everything, and it winds up looking like nouvelle cuisine designed by a four-year-old. Big fun, especially if you stick candles in it.

Pamela Dean ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 01:34 PM:

What I want to know is, and really I can't
get my mind off it, is how old IS shit?

I felt ten times older in my early forties
than I do now, when I'll be fifty in a couple
of weeks. It's really odd, but early middle
age seems, in a number of people I know, to
snap and snarl and harry one into feeling
completely decrepit. But if you neener at
it (gosh, look at that intelligent technical
vocabulary) it shuts up. It is not actually
all uphill from where you are. Honest.

Happy birthday.


Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 02:00 PM:

Oh, I almost forgot. Congratulations on being named 2002's Least Annoying Liberal by Jim Henley. Though that may have been before the boats thing.


Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 02:47 PM:

Shit is the same age as alimentary canals, which, unfortunately do not fossilize most of the time; it's a safe bet that they occurred in the Pre-Cambrian (since the diverse and specialized Cambrian critters with hard parts that *did* fossilize have them) but just when is an open question, and likely to be permanently so, baring the sort of luck that I'd much rather see go into something like peaceful contact with an advanced galactic civilization or something.

I don't know if this is a useful answer, but I felt compelled to offer it.

Oh, and Many Happy Returns, Patrick!

Noticing you're only eight years older than I am doesn't make me feel old; it makes me feel like I've got fuck all done so far, for whatever consolation that may be to your sense of agedness.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 03:04 PM:

Wow, Graydon. You really know your shit.

Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 03:40 PM:

Happy birthday, grasshopper.

Randolph, turned 47 last Saturday, where's my cane?

Barney Gumble ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 05:47 PM:

Would an unsolicited MS that makes you say, "my god, this is better than Dan Simmons in the 1980's or Larry Niven during his legendary 4 year streak" Cheer you up?

Not only that, it is perfectly copy edited, the author is unrepresented and thinks a boilerplate contract is fine, and has two completed sequels, if you really think this is good enough, really?

And just to show you're not a hard hearted man and it's all just dollars and cents--she's young, she's beautiful, she's the best piece of...

Oh I forgot to mention after you publish it's completely plagirized from an obscure russian translation, and the real author, who has a boychick who is in the Russian mafia...

Harriet Culver ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 05:55 PM:

As one early January person to another, this Lurker ventures to join the Happy Birthday! chorus (while realizing that it would be in the worst of taste to wish you Many Happy Returns).
Go Capricorn!

Harriet (age 50 years 363 days)

Kris Hasson-Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 05:56 PM:

Many happy returns of the day. 40 didn't bother me, and based on personal history, neither will 44 (which is still a couple of years off). My bugaboo birthdays are the squares of real numbers: 9, 16, 25 and 36 were all watershed years, both in anxiety and activity. SO I don't expect another one until I reach 49.

John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 07:19 PM:

Best wishes for a happy birthday.

As for me, I like the 40s. In fact, 30 was much more depressing for me. A lot of people I know personally, as well as writers and other hard working artists I admire, all hit their stride (professionally) in their 40s. Hey, look at Viggo (Strider) Mortensen--44.

I expect deep down it's the same for you, Patrick So here's to many more years!

Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 09:26 PM:

Happy birthday. Hope you feel younger soon.

Andrew Northrup ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 10:35 PM:

Happy birthday. If you keep getting older, I think you eventually come back to zero again, like when you wrap the score counter on Zaxxon. So that's something to look forward to.

Kip ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2003, 08:15 AM:

Here's my two cents' worth:

Happy birthday!

And a penny.

IssuesGuy ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2003, 07:07 PM:

Just wait.

Happy Birthday!

Dave Pentecost ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2003, 09:23 PM:

Yeah, that's a rough age, pal. But then around 50, it all turns around again. Better sex, more endorphins, a general "who gives a shit" attitude. I'll check back in a few years and say I told you so.

Meanwhile, make good use of your time while you still feel like an adult. But wait - didn't you just start playing in a band again? ...maybe you're ahead of schedule. Woohoo!

from the Lower East Side

Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2003, 07:53 AM:

Belated Happy Birthday!

Aw, 44 ain't so bad, I remember it well... ;->

Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2003, 08:00 AM:

Happy birthday! (And though you may feel like old shit, console yourself with the thought that some of us would be fairly content to look as youthful as you, when we hit your age.)

Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2003, 03:48 PM:

Mary Kay: Spongebob's pal Patrick Starr is "not very bright" in much the same way that a marshmellow is "not very pointy".

Patrick (the bright one): Russia introduced the Gregorian calendar in 1918. The uncertainty in the dating of Asimov's birth comes from a combination of the (then-)recent change from the Julian calendar and a certain sloppiness in converting between the Jewish lunar calendar and the Julian calendar. He notes, in In Memory Yet Green, that his father was born on December 21, which was Stalin's birthday under the old calendar; he doesn't note that Jan. 2 was Stalin's birthday under the new calendar.

Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2003, 11:01 PM:

Just caught up here--don't worry, there's lots more to come.--Robert (soon to turn 53)

Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2003, 01:14 AM:

Happy birthday!

And now I'm going to be boringly literal--how old I feel has a lot to do with whether I'm practicing T'ai Chi regularly--Alexander Technique and Feldenkrais Method also have some anti-feeling-old effect. (Note: I'm 49--the other comments make me curious to see whether I get that past 50 reversal.)

My Feldenkrais books seem to be right--a lot of what passes for aging is actually an accumulation of bad movement habits, and they can be undone.

Thomas Nephew ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2003, 12:29 PM:

Happy belated birthday, Patrick! You look great from this 44-year-old's point of view.