Saturday, 29 March 2008
Knowing Sophie, I knew she would have to respond to that. I gripped her leg under the table hoping it would send out some kind of message to her to stop and just leave it but I knew it wouldn't work. Instead she said "I don't need to find out, I already know, and I liked it."
Thankfully Sheila's didn't want to take it any further and she said something like "Okay, glad to hear that", and went back to her conversation with John.
After the meal was over and everybody was going home, two other students off our course called Lorraine and Sam came back with us to our house. Lorraine was enthusiastic about staying out and drinking more, and although I felt tired for much of the meal, I felt like I was up for more drinking now. When we got back to ours we decided to go to the summer house and play some texas hold'em poker, although Lorraine and Sam hadn't played before and would need to be told the rules.
However almost as soon as we started trying to play the game, I knew we had made a mistake. It seemed that while we were trying to teach Lorraine and Sam how to play, Paddy who has played poker many many times before, seemed to want to sabotage everything we were trying to teach them. He started questioning the betting procedure, saying we shouldn't play the blinds, or that everyone should put a blind in, or that you never have big blinds and little blinds. I don't know if it was just because he was drunk, or all the other times he's been playing poker people have been putting the blinds and the bets in for him (which is apparently what Sophie said of him after). Even Geoff, usually dependable and reliable in situations like this, seemed to become mischievous and adamant that he would throw a spanner into the works at everymoment possible. We would become confused about how much money there was in the pot because he would just throw random chips in when people weren't looking, or it wasn't his turn to bet.
Despite all this, Sam managed to pick the game up suprisingly quickly, while Lorraine hadn't a clue what was going on because of Paddy's confusion of the betting process, and also because she was very drunk by this point. She was at that stage of drunkeness when your legs decide not to work properly anymore and ended up having three very bad falls over the course of the evening. One of them, where she was spinning around and fell into the patio doors of the summer house and bashed her head on the window looked particularly painfull. Thankfully, it looked as though her intoxicated state was numbing the pain.
So, as poker became more difficult to play with the alchohol steadily regressing the mental age of the players, I remember turning to Sophie during the game and saying that it was like trying to organize a poker game with children at a McDonalds kids birthday party. It shouldn't have been a suprise to us then, that after we had given up on the poker game, a few of them started playing Snap!
By sometime after 4am, after some games of truth or dare and a dance off competition (I know, not exactly grown up - but if you can't beat em, join em) everyone was burnt out and Lorraine and Sam got a taxi home. My evening was finished off with an episode of Takashi's Castle and then I went to bed.
Thursday, 27 March 2008
I have to say I've enjoyed myself the past week since I've deferred finishing my degree until next year, but I never wanted to talk about it until now because I didn't want to depress or turn against me the friends of mine who might be reading it and were still slogging their guts away on their dissertation. That's not to say I've sat around doing nothing, or watching TV all day. Far from it. For most of this week I've been more productive than I have been in months. I've devoted my time to three different writing projects, started reading one of the many books that I've been wanting to read for ages, and I've discovered a new interest in poetry (that is reading it, not writing - at least not yet).
So tonight is the night of the monthly scriptwriters meal. I can't seeing it live up to the drama of the last meal (which can be read about here if you haven't read it all ready) - mainly because Richard Berger won't be there for people to fight over - But i'm hopeful it will give me something to write about tomorrow.
Just one more thing before I go, I know I've put a link to it once already but in case you haven't checked it out here is a link to my online scrap book http://darkhorsedan.tumblr.com/
Monday, 24 March 2008
When I was still meant to be graduating this year I had told my family that I would delay the holiday until after both the dissertation and the script were out the way, meaning I would have gone home in May. I suppose now that that's all changed I could make other arrangements, though I don't think I'll bother. It will be a hassel telling work that I need the time off so soon, and I generally don't like going home anyway.
That last sentence was a bit harsh, and perhaps a little bit of an exagerration. Coming home can be nice, but not for holidays like Easter. Actually I would have to say that of all the holidays each year (meaning xmas, Easter, and summer - so the main ones, not half terms), Easter is the crappest one and sometimes depresses me. The only thing Easter has ever had to offer is chocolate eggs and family meals that either end in an argument or have been very dull, lame, and anti-climatic comparions of the much more fun Christmas meal.
Also, there is something bizarre about Easter. Last year, or maybe the year before I told my mum that I didn't want an Easter egg because I had gone off chocolate. Instead I asked her to get me a large pork pie. She thought this was strange, but then I pointed out to her that eating large chocolate eggs in celebration for a man dying for the sins of humanity doesn't make much sense either... Get me a pie.
But am I right to point out that there doesn't seem to be a relationship between these two things? A religeous figure on the cross dying to save humanity and a nation steadily making itself obese gorging themselves on chocolate eggs? It would make more sense if they at least changed the egg theme for something that was more related, like crucifix shaped lollies, or Jesus on a cross chocolate bars... But eggs?
Ah! I almost forgot. In fact I have forgotten to mention this in the last few posts as well, but I now have a tumblr account. What this means is that I have another thing that is very similar to this blog. The way my housemate described it is, if a blog is like your diary, then a tumblr account is like your scrap book. How I would sell it is by saying that my tumblr is very much like my blog but with extra features, much like a special edition DVD, or perhaps a DVD when compared to the old VHS tapes. And like the change from VHS to DVD, I may exclusively just start writing my blog on my tumblr account, but I'm not sure when, and if I even will. I'm still kind of testing out at the moment. Most of you are probably reading this via facebook so ultimately it won't make much difference to you anyway.
But if you want to check it out the page can be found here
Sunday, 23 March 2008
So today I am going to pick up all the shit off my floor and sweep the room because the floor hasn't been swept since I got here - oh yeah, I might not have mentioned it before but we don't have carpet, we have wood panel flooring. This is another probablem when it's chilly because your feet get cold as well but at least it looks nice though. Combine this with the way it has been furnished and the open plan kitchen/lounge, the house looks like an Ikea show room.
It's gonna be a pain in the arse moving stuff aroung though, particularly the wardrobe, but I suppose if my housemates were feeling generous they could help me... Then again I'm not sure what things might be lurking under my bed. Do I really want them to see? I might forestall asking for their help actually.
At least whatever is under there can't be as bad as when I moved house 7 years ago and my dad cleared my room while I was at work. He and my step-sister's boyfriend moved my bed and found a porno DVD on the floor underneath it. The cover featured a large picture of a woman taking a cock in her mouth (to clarify, that was 'a large picture of a woman' not 'a picture of a large woman'), and my dad being the big mouth he is had to tell everyone about it. He's not like other parents who inadvertadly embarrasses their kids, oh no, my father often goes out of his way to embarrass me. Sometimes he tries to act really innocent about it but I know he is doing it intentionally. One of the reasons for this is because he gives himself away by pointing out on any occasion where I might be embarrased by saying something like "I bet you're really embarrassed now".
I think that might go some way in explaining why I usually admit very embarrasing stuff to people. It's a strange coping mechanism I've come up with I suppose, if you can't beat em, join em. Even my housemate pointed that out recently when he remarked that I enjoy being embarrassed. It's not that I enjoy it but more that I'm willing to put myself in the firing line if it gets a laugh - so long as it's on my terms.
Anyway, back to the room rearragement issue that I seem to have been sidetracked from talking about.... Actually I think I've exhausted that subject now and said all I've needed to say.
I'm gonna go rearrange my room.
Until next time.
Friday, 21 March 2008
The work on my dissertation had been getting to me for these past few months, and it seemed the harder I tried to work on it the less I would get done. I think I addressed this problem in this blog before when I talked about the book by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and flowful working experiences. One of the things it talked about was how anxiety prevents a person from reaching a flowfull state, and even worse, prevents them from working effectively at all.
So that's what has been happening to me. I was worried about my dissertation from the get go and because of that I allowed it to turn into a monster in my mind. I suffered complete mental blocks everytime I approached it and like when a word gets stuck on the tip of your tongue and the harder you try to fight it the more it eludes you, the only way to remember what the word was is to not think about it, and the only way I could ever possibly get back on track with the dissertation is if I get some time away from it so I can come back to it with a fresh perspective. Hence why I am now differring the work until next year.
Yes, I'm going to be gutted that I won't be graduating with all me friends this year, and maybe I should be a little upset that I'm going to have to wait another year before I get my degree, but at least this way I'll stand a better chance of walking away with a degree I can be happy with. And because I won't need to stay in Bournemouth for another year I'll be able to go back home and do the work from there. So, apart from the work, my university experience will be over.
Saturday, 8 March 2008
Not long got home from work and I was soaked right through. I knew it was a bad omen when I left the house today and I couldn't find my hat. Although I don't always wear it, I always make sure I have my hat and my gloves when I go to work because if I have to walk back home after, I need to be prepared for any adverse weather conditions. This evening I wasn't at all prepared. I had no hat (which I know would provide little protection but it would've been something), and a brand new jacket that I only bought yesterday so I didn't know how it was going to be in rain... As it turns out it was shit for heavy rain. That'll serve me right to go for style over practicality - and the jacket is pretty stylish (although cheap as well, one of the buttons on the cuffs is broken already!).
But this wasn't what I wanted to write about tonight. What I really wanted to talk about was the Dodgeball tournament I took part in last Wednesday. In fact I've been wanting to write about that since Wednesday but other things have kind of gotten in the way. I've not been having that much of a good time this last week and things have been getting to me. Feelings of worthlessness and shit like that... Hence the missed days of writing here. I'm kind of up and down I guess.
So last Wednesday I was in a Dodgeball contest. They have them a couple of times a year at the University, and I formed a team and competed in the first year. The rules are pretty much like they are in the movie, and you're supposed to come in fancy dress. In the first year we didn't really have that much notice and came up with the name "Granny's favourites" on the day of the competition after a friend of ours gave us some knitted jumpers to wear as our costumes.
That year the team consisted of me (as team captain), and four other guys off of my script writing course, which were Grant, Paddy, Ben, and Swpnil. I remember the day of the competition when Grant and I walked into the sports centre to sign up our team, we were there just to have a little fun but when we saw what the competition looked like we pissed ourselves laughing whilst quivering with fear at the same time. All the other teams looked like super humans. Now myself and Grant are not small people, I'm about 5ft11 and Grant (who happened to be the tallest member of our team) was about 6ft, but these guys easily towered over both of us. They made Ben and Swpnil, who are only about 5f6inches tall, look like Hobbits. The other teams weren't just tall but they were also the athletic sporty types with 6 packs and huge biceps. Our team consisted of scriptwriters, characteristcally unfit, inactive types who live solitary lives indoors away from fresh air and sunlight.
But we came out and gave our best... and lost everygame we played. None of us could throw a ball to save our lives. Either they would miss or the other team would catch it, which meant the player who threw it was out. On the other hand none of us could catch anything they threw at us; we would either drop it or just get hit by them. About the only thing we could do was dodge the balls, although we could never keep that up for long because we were so badly coordinated that we ended up colliding into one another and then became sitting ducks for any attacks that followed.
The only other team who were as bad as us was the all girls basketball team. They lost every game they played as well, and it wasn't even like the teams they were playing were even trying very hard. They went easy on them the same way an older sibling goes easy on a younger sibling when they play any sort of skill based game together. You play crap enough to make it seem like they have a chance, but ultimately you still play well enough so that your younger brother or sister can't win.
Because of this, we were dreading playing the all girls team. What if we played them and they beat us? We would be a laughing stock. On the other hand what if we went out there and beat them? We would still be laughed at because everyone will be able to tell that we would have to play seriously to win. The only way out of this dilemma with some shred of dignity was not to have to play them at all, and fortunately, for some reason, that is exactly what happened.
In the two years since that game I often saw Dodgeball tournaments advertised at the uni, but for some reason my mates didn't seem interested. One of them in particular was totally adverse to ever doing it again, though to this day I really can't understand what he had against it. So what if we were shit and fared poorly in every game, it was just meant to be a bit of fun.
So last weekend my housemate Paddy said there was another competition coming up and asked me if I was up for it. He also managed to rope in Ben from the first time round as well, and the other two team members consisted of another guy off of our course called Lee, who is pretty athletic and good at basketball, and one of Ben's friends, Ross, who is a pretty well built and tough guy. As Paddy had put the team together and signed us up, he was the one who came up with the team name. The name he had chosen was "The ball bags".... As if defeat wasn't nearly humilating enough in itself. What was worse is that we totally forgot about doing any sort of fancy dress, so that when we turned up and everyone was wearing all kinds of cool themed outfits, us lot were in trackie bottoms and t-shirts so we didn't look like we had bothered to put any effort in.
I felt positive that we would do better this time. Our main plan was to go out there and win a game. I know you're probably thinking that that is not the way winners do things. A winner would go to the tournament with the ambition of winning the tournament, but I had decided that while that could be the ultimate goal, we would make our goals more bitesize, and easy to handle, so that we wouldn't be setting ourselves up for any kind of disappointment. So if our imediate goal is to win a game and we do that in the first game, then our next goal would be to win another game. That way we would be aiming for one little victory at a time, and perhaps take that path to the ultimate victory of winning the competition...
We didn't win our first game.
We weren't totally shit though. At least not by our standards, but only because I think we had lasted longer in that first game than we did in any of our games in the other tournament we had been in. Still, we could've done with getting at least one of the opposing team's players out.
But the fact that I had dodged a few balls and was one of the last people out on my team I felt positive that we would do better in our next game... How wrong I was. It was the briefest game of dodgeball I've ever played, and as I came off the court a guy dressed as a fairy to said to me "That's got to be some kind of a record isn't it?"
After that game while the other games were being played out Paddy and I practised throwing the ball at each other and trying to catch them, because that was the secret to winning it really. I saw so many games turn around from people catching balls, cause if you catch a ball the guy who threw it is out and one of your players comes back on.
The next game was a funny one. We had a good start and got one or two of their guys off, and I remember thinking in that moment "Wow! We're gonna win this one!", but then when I looked to my left I could see that it was only Ben and I that were left. A ball came hurtling at him and he tried to catch it but he was caught off balance as he reached out to grab it and fell over. From the perspective of someone a little further away it probably looked as though the ball hit him with such force that it knocked him down. I was the last one left and was dodging balls pretty well but knew I needed to catch one if we wanted to get back into it. Then, a ball came at me that I thought I could catch. The stupid thing was, I already had a ball in my hand, so I tried to drop that and catch the ball that was coming at me but fumbled it and managed to fall on my arse in a similar way to Ben just did.
We now had only two games left to play, and by our performances thus far, even winning one game was looking unlikely.
The fourth game came and I went out straight away, and the rest of the team soon followed. Things were looking dire. I just wanted to win one game, and there was only one more game left in which to do that.
------ Picking up from here ------
The team we were up against had fared as badly as us in all their games so we were in for a chance. I took my starting position on the far side which was right up against a wall. The player opposite me was the team's only girl and . She couldn't throw or dodge but she had gotten sympathy in a few of the matches when she ended up being the last player left standing. The guys spectating would cheer her on while the opposing side would get booed at. That's the benefit of being a girl in a situation like this. If you play shit no one judges you harshly they just feel sorry for you and give you encouragement. And it's not because she was the only girl in the tournament either. There were two other teams with female players - only they could actually play and were quite good so they were exempt from such sympathy.
When the whistle blew I sprinted towards the centre line for the ball feeling confident that I would get to the ball before the girl because she was wearing a denim skirt and wouldn't be able to move very fast. To my suprise the guy next to her changed course and instead of running for the ball in front of him, crossed over infront of the girl and sprinted towards my ball and got there before me. I quickly stopped and took a few steps back as he launched the ball at me. I managed to avoid it and the game was now in full swing.
After dodging a few balls from the girl and the guy, I managed to hit him with a ball in the leg - it may have been the first person our team had gotten out in the tournament so far. For a short while I was in a battle with the girl until she threw a ball that Lee managed to catch. Then I dodged a ball from another guy and countered with one that got him out as well. Then suddenly there was one player left (i'm not sure who got the other guy out), and four of us. He aimed a ball at me that I was able to catch and he was out... We had won a game!
To see the celebrations from myself and the rest of the team you would have thought we had won the tournament, but for me, winning that one game was a victory. We had finally done what I had came there to do and beaten our record of zero wins from the tournament 2 years before.
Go Ball Bags!
Thursday, 6 March 2008
To give some background, last Thursday was the night of our monthly "writers meal". Basically once a month the head of our year and lecturer, John Foster, arranges a monthly meal for us year 3 scripwriters, and the 2nd year of the MA scriptwriting course. The usual venue had been a Lebanese restaurant called Retro but this time we went to a chinese in town called The Fountain. Now, the turnout for these meals has generally been okay but not many people from our course usually turn up (that's because they're losers - well most of you but I'm not saying who. If you're reading this and don't go to the meals you're not a loser - but I'm only saying that in here to cover my back anyway, I don't know who reads this).
For some reason last Thursday's turnout was better than it had been for a while, and was an even bigger event because it had a special guest: Richard Berger.
Some of you right now would probably be going "and? so what?", while others will be going "Who is Richard Berger?"
To briefly explain the significance of this, Richard Berger is one of the lecturers at our university, and there are those among the female members of my course who have a crush on him. In terms of uni social events Richard's kind of a recluse and has made a point of generally not going out for social events with other lecturers from the uni, let alone with the students as well. So for him to be at the meal was kind of a big deal for some people.
Who knew that his presence would also be the catalyst for much of the conflict of that night.
For the most part, where I was sitting the meal went pretty much like the usual. Some drinks, food, chat, laughs and piss taking went on between myself and few of my friends. The first hiccup of the night came from my housemate Sophie - and you could say she was setting a prescendent for herself for the rest of the evening. We had only been there for about an hour when she noticed a woman with dark hair and glasses talking to my housemate Geoff. Sophie was sat next to me, and said not too discreetly "Why is it that girls who look like Geoff but far less attractive are always chatting him up?"
Sat opposite the pair of us was the woman's boyfriend Wayne, whom I actually had eye contact with at the time. I couldn't say anything except hit Sophie in the leg, although by that time it was far too late, the damage had probably been done. Yoli who was next to Wayne pulled a face and was doing that cutting motion across her neck that meant "CUT! STOP! NO MORE!", and I think Sophie understood what the score was at that point. In an effort to disguise the laugh that I could feel rising up from inside me I scanned around the table and saw my mate Grant, clowing around with the circular menu pretending it was a steering wheel, so I laughed at that. A big over the top laugh that was obviously far too enthusiasatic for something so juvenile.
Anyway the meal carried on as it was until I went outside for a fag and was joined not long after by Sophie, Richard Berger, and a woman called Sheila West. Sheila is a 3rd year script writer, but is repeating the final year after some personal problems last year. We never see her at lectures coz she doesn't really need to go. Now, before tonight had even happened their were some slight tensions between her and Sophie. I'm can't quite remember why, but let's just say they were not each others biggest fans.
By the conversation that went on between them outside the restaurant, and the fact that Richard doesn't even smoke, it seems something had happened upstairs. Although Sheila was assuring him that they were good friends, (?) I remember his remark being something to the effect of "well you were nearly ready to punch each other a minute ago"... This sounded interesting.
I was to later find out that some sort of row broke out when Sophie relayed a joke email she was tempted to send to Berger after he sent an email out to everyone on the course. It said something like "by now you should be writing the conclusion of your disserations, enjoy your Sunday". It got people scared so she was going to get him back by saying something like "at your age, by now you should have colon cancer and be on the road to death... enjoy your Sunday"
Sophie never sent the email but talked about it at the meal and it was this that got Sheila upset. She had some sort of bizarre argument with Richard about "not being offended, but she should have the right to be offended by it, and people shouldn't make jokes about cancer" - This is very much 2nd hand information and the people involved were a little confused about it, so I'm not totally sure. Whatever happened this set a strange tone for the remainder of the meal.
Later I was sat near the end of the table with Geoff and John Foster and someone else, maybe Richard. It looked like Sheila was about to leave but she couldn't find her phone and started saying over and over "My phones gone. Someones taken it. I don't know why someone would find it so funny to take my phone but its not funny". She was convinced that it had been taken and not just fallen on the floor somewhere, but what's more, she was trying to suggest it was someone there (guess who? - Luckily she was down the other end of the table at the time and knew nothing of it). Of course the phone did turn up and it was on the floor.
Shortly after that Sophie was back up our end of the table, and Richard came up to suggest we sort out the bill, and that he wants to leave. This prompts Sophie and Sheila to try and convince him not to go. The two of them were shouting to be heard over one another, particularly when the talk began to turn to other things, one of them being who knows Chris Langham (the comedian found with child porn on his computer) better. I'm not sure how it got to that stage, but at this time both of the girls were attacking and hounding Richard with words. The term my housemate Yoli would later come up with in decribing what they were doing was "talk rape".
As Geoff and I watched this talk assault we started feeling sorry for the Berger. So almost like what Dick and Dom do on the TV with that whole "Bogeys" game, Geoff and I started saying "Richard go!" "Go Richard!", louder and louder, in the hope he would get the hint and get out of there. Admitedly the volume at which the girls were shouting was increasing at an exponential rate and there was no hope of us matching them.
Anyway the conflict came to a dramatic close when suddenly Richard jokingly taunted Sophie to call Chris Langham and speak to him if she really knew him. She had his number and was too caught up in the moment to rationalize what she was doing; beating Sheila by proving to Richard that she knew Chris Langham better was all that was important. It was probably almost midnight when Sophie made the call, and he picked up, but put the phone down shortly after talking to her.
I could actually see the moment when Sophie realised what she was doing. When she realised that she had made a huge mistake. It appeared on her face the moment he answered the phone.
After, Sophie was pretty upset with herself and immediately starting writing a text to Chris Langham to apologize. Both me and Geoff tried to convince her to leave it alone but then she threw us a look that said not to mess with her and we shut up.
Meanwhile Sheila was now trying to call Chris Langham on her phone but was complaining that the number was busy and that Sophie was probably lying. I reminded her that the guy was an accused pedophile and probably thought it was a threatning call- his numbers busy because he's calling up the telephone company to have it changed.
10 mins later when the bill was settled everyone came outside and said their goodbyes. When most of them, including Sheila, had gone, Richard invited Sophie and the rest of us to the ibar opposite for a few drinks. The evening was finished off in nicely and in relative calm with a few drinks.
Saturday, 1 March 2008
It's my birthday today. If you couldn't tell by the opening gambit of today's blogging, I'm 26 years old today, and to address a question that is frequently asked of every birthday you have from 21 onwards - that question being "how does it feel?" - the answer is..... Don't ask me that question.
I'm not actually as sensitive about my age as I make out to be. The main thing that bothers me about being 26 is that I don't feel 26 years old, in fact I feel like more of a child than the people I'm at uni with, many of whom are younger than me. I don't feel mature enough. Not only that but I don't look 26 but looking young for my age is a feature that I know I'm going to appreciate in the years to come, I just wish I could act my age. Sometimes.
Another funny thing about being 26 is that I was getting used to being 25. I almost felt like I should perhaps permamently stay 25. It's a nice age. I don't have anything to say to justify why I think that, it's something that I feel... I don't know why.
But let's move away from these self reflective musings and talk about what I've done with myself today. I have enjoyed myself thus far. My mum and brother came round last night but unfortunately I was working so my housemates had the chore of looking after them, which they did brilliantly. Then today I went to town with my family, showed them the beach, the pier, and even took a trip through the Bournemouth aquarium.
Aquariums and zoos, or anything that showcases anything living in a cage, does funny things to me now. There were some beautiful fish in that place but I couldn't help feeling sorry for them. It actually made me feel sad to see these animals that could be free in the huge endless expanse of the ocean confined to a tank so small. The equivalent for a human would be having to spend your life in a room no bigger than one of those London bendy buses.... So we had a really good time at the aquarium.
"You're always doing that Daniel. You have to choke the joy and happiness out of even the most beautiful of human experiences with your morbid and depressing observations. Just switch off will you!"
Okay. I will.
I did have a fun time today. Because I was with my mum, and I remembered that it is mothers day tomorrow I quickly popped into Clintons to look for a card - something I really hate to do. Not the card buying part, but just the fact that Clintons is so shit for cards. All the joke cards in there are the same ones they've been doing for the past 10 years. Every member of my family has probably recieved the same card 5 times already, I might as well dig it back out again put a new envelope around it and give it back to them again.
Im getting off the point of why I wanted to mention the card shop in the first place. It was my shock to find a mother's day card that is potentially very creepy, pervy, and just plain wrong: There was a card, done in a tasteful and elegant way so it's not one of those joke ones, but what made it so wrong was who it was meant for: To my friends mum....
To my friends mum.
If I didn't think that it would be read completely the wrong way - which is an inevitable possibility - I would be tempted to buy that card for a friends mum... as a joke of course. But some jokes really should be left in the realm of hypothetical chatter such as this.
I'll sign off now just by wishing myself happy birthday once more: "Happy birthday me! Yay!"
And also, a thank you to everyone who has sent me happy birthday wishes: "Thank you for the happy birthday wishes"