(Originally posted Oct. 15, 2010)

My 30th birthday is this Saturday. We had a nice party a few weeks ago (so we wouldn’t interrupt the premiere of the Zombie Opera this weekend) and I got something I always wanted: a photo-cake with my cartoons on it. (pics coming as soon as I can find them.)

It’s funny. Every year before my birthday, I always feel kind of introspective (the day itself is always fun, it’s the days leading up to it that are weird). But this year, as I put my twenties behind me forever, when most people usually stop to reflect and take stock of their lives, I don’t feel concerned. I guess I’m pretty happy about where I am and where I’m going. I think I have this website to thank for this peace of mind (at least in part). If I were not able to write and draw comics, I don’t think I would be this happy. Thanks for reading and being a part of this.

Just for fun, I want to count down some of my most memorable birthdays. Please note that I sometimes have a freakishly clear memory, so some of these events will be annoyingly detailed.

My Seventh Birthday: My mom took me to the department store and let me pick out three stuffed animals. I only really wanted a Putter Popple doll (Putter was the green one). I think he was the first toy I ever wore completely ragged with play and love alone.

My Ninth Birthday: I had just started collecting Garfield books and I found the perfect Garfield doll. He sat like a teddy bear, but he could also stand up (if he were held). He was about the right size and the designers even remembered the stripes on his legs (the stripes are only visible when Garfield is sitting). I had seen a lot of Garfield toys, but I knew that this one was special. I used to pet it as I fell asleep.

My Fourteenth Birthday: My first real birthday party. I invited a small group of friends from school and we played video games all evening. My parents had bought me a used Nintendo (my first consol system) and Super Mario Bros. 3. The game was already obsolete, but I knew that it would be a collector’s item. I had taken my first steps into geekdom and I have never looked back.

My Eighteenth Birthday: The night before my birthday, my mom had volunteered the entire family to decorate our church basement for a fundraiser. I didn’t get to sleep until about 3:00 am and I had to get up for high school at 6:00 am. But I was determined not to let that spoil my day. I had purchased several bottles of Jolt Cola, which I hid in my backpack and sipped throughout the school day. I also bought cookies because my math teacher said that we could give out treats on our birthdays, the way we did in kindergarten (we all thought this was a novel idea). That evening, my friends and I went to a “haunted” house and watched bad horror movies. My sister Emily bought me a brand new video game that had just come out in America. It was called Pokémon Red Version. I had heard that it was going to be big.

My Twenty-fourth Birthday: This one was a lot of work. I had to teach a five-hour computer art workshop, and then go straight on to my sister’s choir concert. I had already had cake and presents with the family the night before, since we were too busy to celebrate on the actual day. At the time, I was working on a fantasy super hero comic called Hyperkinetic Revolution, which I could not finish because the story didn’t have an ending. For my birthday wish, I wished for an ending to my story. My wish sort of came true, but nt how I expected. On the night of my actual birthday, I was sitting in the audience, listening to the choir, and my mind started wondering. I was imagining the concert hall as an underground chamber. There was a reluctant hero, not an animal but not quite human, fighting against a terrible villain who could wield terrible magic. In the hour or so that I spent in that concert hall, I wrote the story of Draconis Wicked. Well, it wasn’t the whole story, but it was a sturdy frame for me to build on. And it had an ending. I’ll have to tell it to you someday soon.

Also, my parents bought my Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door. Still one of my favorite games.

Last Year: I went to a They Might Be Giants concert. Always a good time.

That brings us up to speed. If anything good happens this year, I’ll let you know.

-Marj