Robert's 1/3 of a Century Birthday Party

He's big. He's old. He's a repeating decimal.

Robert always gets the short end of the stick when it comes to birthday parties, in part because he doesn't make a big fuss and demand them like some people, and in part because his birthday is so close to Christmas that he's just used to not celebrating it with more than a dinner out or the equivalent. But this May Robert turned 33.333333333--a whole third of a century! When you start measuring life in terms of nontrivial fractions of centuries, then, in my book, you're old. Ancient. Prehistoric, even, some might say. . .

This entire line of thinking led to a dinosaur-themed third of a century party for Robert on Saturday, May 6. He grilled dinosaur-sized beef ribs and 1/3 of a meter-long hot dogs. We had two big salads. We had big--truly dinosaur-sized--jugs of ketchup and mustard (from that Costco trip a few weeks ago). We had a biiiiiiiiiig can--they call it a keg--of Virgil's root beer. We had dinosaur-shaped cookies (pictured above--both on a platter and then one as Chris likes to eat it, with a healthy side of whipped cream), Robert's favorite angel food cake with two kinds of homemade ice cream, three cheesecakes divided into thirds (each third a different flavor), and a watermelon (it's big).

Decorations included 33 records strewn around the table and used as cake-servers, dinosaur posters, glow-in-the-dark dinosaur items (a rubber light-up dinosaur and a puzzle) adorning the bathroom, and large and small cardboard dinosaur models around the buffet table. There was also a not-to-scale timeline on the floor, going from the present 333 years into the future and then 3.3 billion years into the past, with important events (Bayes's birth, dinosaur extinctions, the Vulcans' achievement of warp) marked clearly. There was also a length chart (dinosaurs are measured in length, not height, because they tended not really to stand upright) on the door for people to see whether they were the length of a t. rex skull or a brachiasaurus thighbone or a velociraptor or an apatosaurus egg.

Robert was given "The Naked Gun 33.3," an excellent gift choice if I ever saw one, as well as a cool LED flashlight and olive pitter (wrapped in dinosaur-stickered paper), a "How to Survive a Robot Uprising" book in order to see him through the next two-thirds of a century, and a very big board game (no one knew Warcraft had a board game--intriguing!).

We had both the movies "Big" and "Jurassic Park" to watch, and we saw "Big" but held off on "Jurassic Park" because Robert finds it a trifle scary. Meanwhile, guests got to take part in two exciting party-games: find the four dinosaur magnets stuck to various magnetic surfaces around the house (Lise, who must have the eyes of a troodon--an extremely sharp-sighted dinosaur who could even hunt at night--won a fuzzy dinosaur pen for that challenge) and make the best origami dinosaur (using directions from a book or winging it, either way--Debbie, who must have the long, flexible fingers and fine motor control of another dinosaur, won a different fuzzy dinosaur pen for that challenge). If I'd thought about it, we also would have hidden foil-wrapped Cadbury "dinosaur" eggs around the house for fun and chocolate. (Nothing beats finding out you've just sat on a chocolate egg, after all.)

All in all, it was a cool, lovely, breezy afternoon and evening on the roof for grilling and eating, and everyone had a great time. Below, from left to right, you see Carlos, Sandra, Olivia, and a dinosaur posing just before they left; Carlos measuring Olivia and showing her to be squarely in the saltopus size-range, and me and Bob, eating giant beef ribs. Happy 33.3333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333..., Robert!


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Created: 05/08/06. Last Modified: 05/08/06.