Daily Archives: August 21, 2012

I’m living in my own private Tanelorn: the birthday edition

The Czarina’s birthday was two weeks ago, and she got exactly what she requested. Namely, a perfect variable-speed band saw, with a replaceable diamond blade for cutting stone, glass, and some metals. Naturally, she’s thrilled, so now she figures that it’s my turn. Every other day, she asks “So…what would you like for your birthday?”, and I know she won’t like my answer.

To understand part of the problem, let me tell you a little bit about my mother. My mother’s birthday is right around Christmas, so all of her children (of which I’m the eldest) had it impressed into their skulls at a very early age that the height of tackiness was to purchase a “Happy Birthday/Merry Christmas” present for her. I mean that quite seriously: you could make a gravestone rubbing of the back of my cranium and read it, if you want. To this day, I take that seriously with any friend or relation with a birthday coinciding with a holiday: a niece’s birthday is on St. Patrick’s Day, and I’d only get her green beer if she asked for it. (Next year, she’ll be old enough to accept it without her aunt and uncle getting arrested for doing so.) A good friend’s birthday is on New Year’s Eve, and the year I planned to throw her a real birthday party with no mention of New Year festivities, she was already moving to Seattle.

Now, my mother may have had that attitude for her birthday, but consider the joys of the child born just before the start of the school year. Any answer to “What would you like to get for your birthday?” is translated to “School clothes and supplies,” and I so detested the annual month-long shopping expeditions for school clothes that I still blank out the clothing sections of stores to this day. Combine that with the first day of school in Texas school districts falling on my birthday, and you can imagine the joy. “Mom, you shouldn’t have. Paper and pencils?”

“Don’t have too much fun with them. You have to get up to go to school in the morning.”

Technically, that last happened 30 years ago this next week. The very next year, school started three days earlier, making me the only sixteen-year-old in Lewisville High School‘s senior class. I got school dress shirts that year, too, so now you understand why I bypass the “Back to School” section at Target and go straight toward the Halloween section at the local Michael’s store. Greenhouses are cool.

The other problem is that I know that the Czarina gets frustrated when there’s simply no way she can get me the perfect birthday present. Every birthday goes the same. The mere words “crocodile monitor” cause her elbows to slide out of their sheathes and drool venom on the floor. In fact, I think I’d be in less trouble if I said “power of attorney” or “threesome”. She can’t afford what I really want, and I wouldn’t expect it of her. As for the other possibilities, she has the same problem when she wants to plan a vacation. She wants someplace nice and romantic, and so do I, but when I say that my idea of a perfect getaway is hanging out on the shores of Lake Vostok in the Miocene, she just starts to cry. I won’t even start with her attempts to make an operational Red Lantern ring, just so Leiber can dress up for Halloween this year.

However, this year is different. I need new garden implements, and she understands this. I need something to help haul plants to shows, and she understands this. Therefore, she won’t have any problems when I ask for this:


(Apologies in advance to the original photo owner: this is being used without permission solely because I couldn’t find any. This will be amended, and the photo owner compensated, as soon as I track down this person. All I can tell for sure is that the creator of this wonderful beast is in London, in the Shoreditch area, and that there’s video. Image copyright by Wreckage International.)

Of particular note is the driver of this beast. Yeah, have fun with Tank Girl, Jet Girl, Boat Girl, and Sub Girl. When the Triffid Ranch goes international, my first hire will be Triceratops Tractor Girl.

EDIT: a bit more digging reveals a bit more. The critter in question is named “Adrianne”, and she was the work of the Wreckage International art group. Sadly, the group’s Web site is done, but if you want to listen to how Adrianne was constructed, have at it.