Birthday Party – House of Blues Hotel

After an all-too-brief nap, Abby wakes me up and we head out for a bite to eat. On the way home, we stop off tobuy a crapton of booze for the party, and begin the process of loading up for the hotel.

On the way out, I spotted the local ice cream truck, something that’s become theharbinger of Spring for me. A good omen, I think.

Abby and I catch a cab, load up everything into the trunk and head off.

On walking in, I notice there are a ton of candles everywhere!

Gretchen, who had a copy of the key, went and got a crapton of candles – situating them all around the hotelroom. I must say, the place looked pretty snazzy – a very subdued, comfortable feel.

I splurged and got myself some Johnny Walker Green.

The bathtub beer-cooling machine.

One of the many great gifts I received. Karen got me a ton of green army men and, after giving it to me, asked immediately ifshe could play with them. The best gifts are the ones you’d get for yourself.

She set up shop underneath the table, and a few folks joined in to play army.

L to R it’s Justin, Dave andGretchen.

The war progresses nicely.

Alert! The tequila bottle has been compromised! I repeat, the Jose Cuervo has been compromised!

Steph, talking with Carrie. Turns out Carrie is a friend of Karen’s (and also works on the first floor of mybuilding, the Merchandise Mart).

L to R it’s Karen, Liz and Steph, and Carrie.

L to R it’s Chelsea, Howard, Abby and my friend from way, WAY back – Craig. When I sent outmy invites to everyone, I decided to gamble and invite a few out-of-town folks. I figured, I’m getting a hotel room, what the hey. It was a shot in the dark,but one worth taking.

Craig ends up making the trek, leaving late from work Friday to attend my party. I’ve known him since… man, Sixth grade? Seventh? We go way back, andthough we often have large gaps of time where we’re not in touch with one another… the times we do have a chance to get caught up, it feels like littletime has passed.

At my party tonight, I had a ton of people travel a very long distance to come celebrate with me. I’m really incredibly lucky, to have all these amazing friends.

As I said, the whole night Gretchen was trying to avoid having her picture taken. Butevery once in a while, I’d get lucky. This shot, catching her mid-turn trying to look away, I really like.

Karen… always the first to break out the hotel shower cap. Carrie showing off the PBR.

Don’t Bother Me!

Howard and Rob, hanging out on the couch.

Footloose and fancy-free.

Me and Gretchen. Awwww…

And cue the dancing… and Matt and Nuanda join the scene.

Howard and Abby seem to be hitting it off.

Music in full swing.

For some reason, I wanted to bring my iMac along – partly to play music, and partly to utilizethe Photo Booth feature. I figured I might get a few drunken party shots if I set it up.

Wrong. The computer sat to one side for most of the evening, as one of the outputs wasn’t working properly. Justinended up bringing his speakers and plugging into an iPod instead. No drunken photos, save the ones I took.

Not sure what prompted it, but there was a small rush to jump on the birthday boy. I think there might be one or two drunk peoplein this photograph.

This, I take, as a sign of a good party.

Tonight, I had an amazing time. It’s been a combination of old friends, new friends, and meeting friends I’ve known for a long time… for the first time. Theentire evening, I kept looking out across the room in awe, delighted by all the small pockets of conversation. I saw all these separate groups, people thatI knew from multiple areas and places, all of the interacting with one another.

Seeing all my friends hanging out with one another was what made my night. Having everyone in the same room – all these people who I hang out with, butwho don’t necessarily hang out with one another. Watching everyone drink and laugh and talk together, that was really just a great feeling.

The noise towards the end of the evening (I think we kept on going until maybe 4 or 4:30) was pretty darn loud. I expected to get a knock on the door, butnobody came by to ask us to turn it down. Not once. The sad thing though (I found out later) was that myfriend Wendy stopped by but, not having the room number… she had to use the hotel phone to call upstairs. I never heard the phone ring, and she ended upleaving because the hotel wouldn’t give her my room number. Nuts.

Anyhow – that should give you a sense of how loud it got. I leave you with a bit of a
video montage, with several clips joined together. It should give you asense of what was going on during the party, and what it was like near the tail end.

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