Born On The Fourth Of July

sean in cafe The trouble with giving someone an antique opium pipe for his birthday is that you've rather shot yourself in the foot after that. Once someone has received an antique opium pipe for his birthday, a nice shirt or a good book is always going to pale in comparison, isn't it? Sean turned 30 today and, for a while, I was at a loss as to what to get him. I've always given good presents; as well as the opium pipe, which I found in Bangkok a few years ago, I've presented him with an easel, an iPod, and a homemade book of a trip we took to Ireland together in 2001, when we weren't actually boyfriend and girlfriend but might as well have been. So today I took him to a Hindu temple called Sri Veeramakaliamamman---try saying that three times fast---in Singapore's Little India district, because I figured that was as far from the old cookout/fireworks/apple pie combo he'd become used to, having shared his birthday with America's Favorite Holiday for the last 30 years. Afterwards, we ate samosas and drank freshly-squeezed lime juice at a place on the side of the road, and then half an hour later we stopped for a beer, because I figured we might as well keep SOME Western traditions alive. sean in hindu temple As for his presents, I gave him a rather handsome watch and had it engraved with something pertinent and poignant. I also presented him with a set of photographs of Burmese monks for inspiration (photography-wise, I mean, not inspiration to enter monastic life) that we'd seen together in a shop, and a very small book of Sudoku puzzles designed to keep him amused on the long and dangerous train rides to come. There's a place near here where you can be dragged around a lake while holding onto a cable and putting yourself at risk for prematurely aged skin and sun damage---wakeboarding, I believe it's called---and I thought that sounded fun, so I hand-made him a coupon for an hour of that, too. (That reminds me, the other day, we were watching TV and we noticed that the shows in Singapore were listed in the program guide with their season number next to them, so that you could know in advance if the Grey's Anatomy you were about to commit to would feature Meredith Grey Looking Rather Too Thin or Meredith Grey Looking Like You Could Snap Her In Half, My God, Someone Feed Her Some Mashed Potatoes Right Now, Like This Very Second. And because of this, the episode of Frasier we were about to watch was listed as Frasier X. Which---before we realized the thing about the seasons and the Roman numerals---we HOPED TO GOD was actually short for Frasier X-Treme and would feature Niles and Frasier wakeboarding or bungee jumping as early Pearl Jam played in the background.) Anyway, as I was about to say, this evening I got all Bachelor Fentesssssy Date on Sean, and took him to have dinner in a cable car as a surprise. (Sean says they are called gondolas in America. Gondolas? As you wish. Gondolas sound Venetian to me. But whatever---you'll see what I mean. Just as long as we're clear that I didn't take him for dinner in a San Francisco cable car or anything, racing up and down the hills with the food spilling everywhere and the bells clanging and the tourists taking pictures and hanging off the side.) sean in cable car It was lovely, being suspended above the sea at sunset and raising illicit glasses of champagne---illicit because we snuck in a bottle in my purse, CLASSY OR WHAT?---but the romance was ruined rather by the arrival of a Korean film crew who asked if we'd mind being in a documentary to be aired later in the year on Korean TV. Look! Look at these men! How can you maintain the romance when these men have climbed inside your cable car during your birthday dinner and pointed a large camera in your face? crazy korean tv people We were supposed to act natural and continue normal dinner conversation, but we were both sweating profusely as a result of having cameras thrust in front of us, lights shining down on us, and two strange men crammed into the two-person cable car alongside us. So we ended up, hands held across the table, saying things like "wow, look at this view! Isn't is beautiful? Yes, it's so beautiful! What a great view!" and trying our hardest not to make the other laugh. If you're in Korea sometime towards the end of the year, please turn on the television and look for us. You don't have to tell people you know us---trust me, you won't want to, WE WERE SO INCREDIBLY SWEATY---but just give a slight nod of acknowledgement, and it'll have made the whole thing worth it. Also, the part where I describe how delicious the mushroom soup was, especially when scooped up with the garlic crostini? I'll be collecting my Oscar for that next year. Best Monologue In A Korean Documentary About Dining In Singapore, I expect. No doubt the competition will be stiff.

Jul 04, 2006

Well at least it was a very memorable thirtieth! I turn 30 this year and will probably be working on my dissertation rather than having an exotic Korean-documentary-like experience.

Jul 04, 2006

Oh yeah, and Happy Bday Sean and Happy Fourth and all that Jazz. I am now singing the Yankee Doodle Dandy song ala the ladies in Steel Magnolias when singing to Julia Roberts' son Jack "born on the 3rd of Julyyy" in the scene from his birthday that she is not actually in as evidenced by the fact that they never show her face in the scene. Sorry - too many pina coladas.

Jul 04, 2006

Happy Birthday to Sean!

I think that since you are to be in a documentary, it's only fitting that you be given a copy of the film. I'll keep an eye out on and you can post it here. For all of us to admire the view. And the mushroom soup with garlic crostini.

Jul 04, 2006

The things that happen to you blow my mind. Actually, it's probably that you *make* them happen with all your oceans of charisma.

Your post made my heart squeeze with travel yearnings. Can't wait to hear more and live vicariously.

Jul 04, 2006

Happy Birthday to Sean! I loved Little India when I visited Singapore. It sounds like you gave him an unforgettable birthday! :) Enjoy your travels.

Jul 04, 2006

Happy 30th Sean! And congratulations on launching your Korean film career. Too funny.

Holly I am exhausted by all your birthday thoughtfulness. Sounds like a veritable fest of presents and fun.

I'm kindof hoping that you decided to leave your opium pipe in SF though. Travelling through SE Asia with one....hmmm....could be a Bridget Jones experience!


Jul 04, 2006

Oh, happy birthday, Sean! Turning 30 is so rad and I didn't even get to be in a documentary on my birthday. (Although the way I acted on my 30th I could have starred in my very own Girls Gone Wild.)

Jul 04, 2006

Oh, I've just discovered your blog...lovely words, lovely. And you're moving to San Francisco? Perfect! It's one of my favourite cities. I will be back!

Jul 04, 2006

Happy Birthday, Sean! I remember 30 . . . vaguely.

Jul 05, 2006

Hysterical! Happy Birthday to Sean (even though he has no idea who I am, and neither do you for that matter but heartfelt birthday wishes nonetheless) I'm turning 30 soon as well and I just know my birthday won't compare at ALL to his. And I think you managed to top the antique opium pipe.....if not with your presents then with the presence of two extra men filming your dinner in a two person cable car. Who can top that!?! Who would want to for that matter???!!!

Jul 05, 2006

Holly, I love your words. And that first picture of Sean? DAMN, GIRL.

my pink sky
Jul 05, 2006

what an increadible adventure ~ amazing photos! happy birthday to the man. wish i could plan a trip to korea to see you tv debut!

Jul 05, 2006

You will be the new Korean sensation, there is no doubt. And may I chime in with Meg, that first picture of Sean? Amazing.

Also, ahem, I must disagree with the blessed birthday boy. (Happy Birthday, Sean!) Everyone I know calls cable cars...cable cars. Gondolas? Definitely Venetian.

Serenity Now
Jul 05, 2006


What a way to start a new decade.

And we call them cable cars. Gondolas are those boats in Italy you ride on.

Jul 05, 2006

I'm so sad you didn't tell me about this dinner in a cable box thingee to do while I was in Singapore!

That's okay, I was on my deathbed anway.

Also, please don't steal my future post about hot Eurasians at Ministry of Sound and Singapore MTV where all the VJ's are hot Eurasians and it's like hell for me because I'm used to being the lone hot Eurasian about town and that's only because I'm literally THE ONLY Eurasian period in any given space in Phoenix.

Jul 05, 2006

Happy Birthday to Sean!

The Korean men in your cable car cracked me up so much. The one in the white shirt is maybe a little scary as well, though? Meh.

Jul 05, 2006

Wow. You probably qualify as the best gift-giver EVER!

Liberal Banana
Jul 05, 2006

Yes, I agree with RSM - best gift giver ever. Remind me not to show my boyfriend your site...

Your clarification of "cable car" cracked me up... I would call it a cable car myself. When my friends and I were on Capri Island off the coast of Naples, Italy, we read in our tour book that we could go on a gondola ride. We were a bit confused, but very excited to get to go in a gondola. We had been picturing the Venetian boats, but they turned out to be open-aired seats that took us up the hillside. Definitely nice, but not at all what we'd been expecting.

Jul 05, 2006

But OF COURSE you would have a Korean film crew come into your gondola to film a documentary while you are eating a romantic dinner. I have never read of someone having more wacky adventures than you! A trip to Walmart is an adventure for you--why wouldn't the gondola birthday dinner be the same?!

BTW--my birthday is also on a holiday--April 1st, and I wouldn't need NEARLY as many wonderful gits!

Jul 05, 2006

Congratulations of becoming Officially Old! And I don't know...those guys looked hot. Hot and sweaty. Maybe ya'll made them nervous;-)

Jul 05, 2006

Happy birthday Sean! You do excellent web design, as well as being really truly cute and having outstanding taste in women. Thirty is COOL, believe me. Your thirties are really when you come into your prime in every way -- looks, work, everything. My advice to you, in my big sisterly way, is (1) knock Holly up already -- y'all would make breathtaking children and (2) design a blog for me, goddammit, because Tripod is giving me screaming fits.

BTW, a dear friend of our family had a baby girl last night, so you've got a new birthmate there -- and our oldest son Sam turns five today. We always tell him the fireworks scared him right out of me. Oh and Holly -- Hi! Your vacuum cleaner still rocks, and we still call it the Hol-Vac.

Jul 06, 2006

Yes, gondalas are the boats- never heard of those cable car things being called gondalas, but you just never know.
Happy Birthday to Sean and WOW, do you put me to shame. I have to make sure my husband never reads your blog....:)

Jul 06, 2006

I am still snickering at the Frasier X issue. I apparently have a very dirty mind.....I was thinking rather a more XXX Fraiser. Ewwwww, I know, but that is where my mind went! Happy Fentessy dinners! :)

Jul 06, 2006

Already the stories start!!

Jul 07, 2006

Happy belated birthday to Sean. I think being on the first leg of a whirlwind trip through Asia qualifies as an excellent way to begin the new decade.

I love that out of all the cable cars (gondalas? trams?) in all the world, two random Korean filmakers had to walk into yours. Awesome.