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Pop Op: A tale of two cities

I spent Labor Day weekend in San Diego with friends and I celebrated the holiday because it was the 36th anniversary of when my mom went into labor with me.

Yes, it was my birthday and I partied it up. I also learned that I can’t keep up with it like I used to. After making some bad drink choices (and by bad I mean excellent at the time, but not so much the next day) I got to wondering … just because I’ve turned another year older, does that necessarily mean I am another year wiser?

Just add water

From what I’ve heard, Rich’s Massive Labor Day Weekend party was a massive success. Based on the way I was feeling Sunday morning I would have to agree.

My friends Ryan and Sean had come down to San Diego to celebrate me getting older and I had a whole agenda for our Saturday night that culminated with dancing at Richs. After having dinner and a cocktail (or three) at Urban Mo’s and we found ourselves faced with a dilemma at Rich’s.

“Beer and water is about the same price,” my friend Ryan explained to me.

“Beer is like drinking water when you have livers as well trained as ours,” I said to justify the purchase.

“It really would be fiscally irresponsible for us not to drink it.” Ryan added.

So I looked at the bartender and said, “Two beers, we’ll be back for tequila shots!”

One Tequila, Two Tequila, Three Tequila, Floor …

My new friend Steve, who I had met at the gym just earlier that week, decided to text me on Sunday to see how the celebration went. When he inquired about my Saturday night, I quickly replied, “I was doing fine until I took that shot of Patron at 1:47 a.m., which happens to be the minute I was born!”

“Just one shot?” he said in shock, already knowing way more about my drinking habits than he should.

Not one to disappoint, I responded, “Well that was my fourth shot, but it was downhill from there, so I hold that one personally responsible for the way I feel today!”

Two Cities, Two Parties

I’ve never been big on planning birthday parties for myself and with friends in both Los Angeles and San Diego I decided to do a top par, non-stop entertainment extravaganza. First, by telling all of my San Diego friends to come to Martinis Above Fourth for their End of Summer Splash party, that was a fund raiser for their AIDS Walk team. I mean, what more can you ask for in a birthday party? It had drag queens, swimsuit models and martinis. Three of my favorite things!

In LA, my friends and I took over Musical Monday’s at Eleven where showtunes played and there was a live performance by Tom Lenk who was in the original Transformers movie … which makes him totally awesome in my book.

Another highlight of my birthday? Allen, one of my best friends from elementary school showed up for a drink with his lovely girlfriend by his side.

“This turnout for your birthday pretty awesome!” Allen said. “Gay people party pretty much every night don’t they?”

“We aren’t afraid to drink on work nights,” I said with a smile. “And also, I’ve learned to plan my parties around events that I know my friends already like to go to. It helps to have a guaranteed turnout!”

The Recovery

It felt like my birthday celebration continued on for over a week. From nights out on the town, to plays, happy hours, dinner parties and even a premiere party on the Paramount Lot, it was a nonstop celebration.

I pulled together a healthy dinner that was a mix of leftover comfort foods and as I sat down to eat, I pondered, "Is it kosher to eat chicken with vegan mac 'n cheese?" So I posted it to facebook to see what kind of feedback I got.

Almost immediately my buddy Marc chimed in, “As the resident non-rabbi rabbi ... yes, it is kosher ... but why are YOU eating vegan mac 'n cheese, and (2) why do you care if it's kosher?” and then he added hopefully, “A date with a nice Jewish boy?”

I went on to explain that it was more out of curiosity and I was aware of the irony of it, “I would say it's definitely kosher because there isn't any cheese in it anyway; now I don't know if it's good karma ...”

“I say it’s good harmony,” my co-worker Nick noted. “You're joining two sides - a meat dish and a vegan dish. Although, technically it's dinner with one side.”

Lesson Learned

Every year I try to look back and think about my life and what I’ve learned. Some people do it at New Years, but I do it on my birthday. For example, in these tough economic times, it’s a good idea for me to recognize a bargain when I see it, and I will always drink to a good deal.

However, I also learned that it’s a good idea to maintain balance. Meat and Vegetables? Yeah that’s good. Too much indulging in the Patron and not knowing when to say the party is over? Not so good. Everything in moderation I suppose you could say.

Most importantly, when it is time to party you know where you can find your friends and you don’t have to go far or go to extremes to have a good time.

Travis D. Bone is a Los Angeles based writer and a graduate of the University of California at San Diego. After spending 13 years in San Diego where his journalism efforts earned him a San Diego Press Club award he took his chances on moving to Los Angeles to become a television writer. Now he’s working in finance for a studio, so that didn’t turn out quite the way he expected. On the upside he’s still writing, still single and still living it up splitting time between Los Angeles and San Diego. In short he’s got a lot of stories to tell.