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"23rd Birthday"

I turned 23 on Groundhog's Day, Friday. That night I went with my parents downtown to a restaurant called Jeroboam, this Frenchish restaurant located on the ground level of the Kirby Building, where Liz Hurley is reportedly filming part of her newest movie. Major babe-age, but what's she doing in a movie with that Friend dick turned potbelly Matthew Perry?

My parents ate seafood and I had white onion soup with a choucroute, some manner of mixing sausage, bacon, apples, and pork together. Quite tasty. For a gift I received a Microsoft optical mouse. I'm used to the heavy feel of the old Intellimice with their curved design, but the precision and more buttons on the newer mice are useful.

I got some thoughtful online cards from my friends, so that was cool too. :)

Saturday I went out with my bud and his gf and they took me to this place where they have all sorts of extreme apparati like a bungee jump platform and a catapult doohickey. First I went on what is basically a giant swing, where they tie you into a harness and raise you up before letting you swing down and back and forth. The best parts of course are when you first drop, and you feel nothing holding you up, and the first pass, when you're basically standing up looking out at the view in the middle of the air.

[me swinging back and forth in midair]

Next I went on the bungee jump, which was probably my favorite. When we arrived there was a boy who was going to jump but couldn't gather the strength to do it. Considering you're tied in heavily and there's an airbag below, plus the platform is not as high as the ones you see off bridges and whatnot, it shouldn't have been so scary.

Looking out over the platform was counter-intuitive, as your body tells you not to jump headfirst into oblivion, but you're aching to do it and you go anyway. The fall ends fast and the jerk of the cord snaps you away from the airbag and you bounce around a bit. It's a nice feeling, doing something you're never supposed to do.

[bungee jumpin' fewl]

Next my bud joined me on the catapult device, where you get clamped into a semispherical device which is slung into the air, sending your compartment spinning and bouncing up and down. Reaching the top of the bounce and having the compartment slowly backflip is cool.

[flung up into the air]

Finally I went on the freefall structure, where you're lowered off the top and then you freefall for several seconds before landing in a big net. The guy up top has a patented move where he'll be having a conversation with you and right in the middle...he drops you.

[freeeee, freeeefallin'

I feel the need for speed...now I GOTTA try skydiving, bass jumping, full-size bungeeing. Having never been able to convince my friend to go there before, even though I wanted to, it was good to finally have gone there, and gotten that out of my system. Only problem of course is that I want more!

Then we went to a place I never thought I'd go to, a shooting range. Having never shot a gun before, I received a 10 minute lesson and then I was let loose in the range. Funny how that works. My friend shot a Kimber of some sort, his gf a Glock 26, and myself a Glock 17, since it's a good weapon for first-timers and has manageable recoil. I fired off a box of bullets in the same time it took my friend to use 2. You're slow and nervous the first time. At least in my experience. And I was afraid of doing something fatally bad. Guns are scary. The power to kill in one's hands is enticing to some, but something I can do without I think. That said, I can see how marksmen come to trust their guns and no other.

If I were to have a gun at home, robbers beware...based on my shooting target, you're going to get a slew of bullets in your groin...although I'd be aiming at your chest!

So I have a bullet casing and my target as mementos. I can honestly say that was one thing I didn't think I'd ever try. I'm at that ripe point in a young man's life where he's afraid of little and curious about everything, ashamed of little, overly brash, more in want of a good time than a strict moral system.

For dinner we went to Red Hot and Blue, a barbecue pit. Nothing like Texas brisket, let me tell you non-Tejanos.

Later we watched the movie Frequency (talk about two uncharismatic actors trying to be charismatic).

All in all a very cool birthday, and everyone was very generous, especially my bud and his gf. Thanks guys!! To new experiences!

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