Big deal

Tonight is New Year’s Eve, and for the seventh consecutive year, Amy and I are doing very little.
This year, in fact, we’ll be up to even less than usual: for five years we were relaxing in Florida with family; last year we toasted with my brother and sister-in-law in their apartment. This year, we think we may see a movie, then get some tastily greasy Chinese food, break out the Monopoly board, give the dog a bone and chill. I’d put 50/50 odds on Amy even being awake at midnight.
For years I’ve had mixed emotions about this. I have been quite happy not to bother with pricey restaurants and myriad “what-are-YOU-doing” conversations. Yet while being in Florida over the holiday week was nice, I will admit to also feeling like a bit of a dweeb watching Julie Andrews movies with my half-asleep nephew on New Year’s Eve. I’d been culturally intimidated: during the western world’s communal party, I had elected to stay home.
At last I am past the hang-up. Tonight, a cold, boring Monday after a week’s vacation, is not a big deal, even if I am part of “the only species on this planet that celebrates not the passing of time, but the way it has chosen to mark the passing of time.
This year I learned about big deals. Finding, buying and moving into a new apartment, assuming jumbo-mortgage-level debt for the first time: now that’s a big deal, not to mention stripping paint and caulking and installing closets and learning all new restaurants and shopping routes. And that was done way back in April.
Transitioning into a terrific new job opportunity and a chance to redefine one’s career–and no longer waking up with work headaches in the morning and putting on suits for an hour-long intra-Manhattan commute? That’s a big deal.
And it goes on. Wife gets a promotion, a commercial on the Super Bowl and work nominated for an Emmy. Brother gets married. Father-in-law has successful heart surgery. A close friend passes away at 33. These, dear reader, are big deals. (And the biggest deal of all doesn’t even hit until next summer, although you can take a guess.)
So: no more internal apologies. This evening it’s roast pork mai fun and Guitar Hero 3, and tomorrow we’ll enjoy a nice, uneventful day off. Not a big deal. But a nice one, a peaceful, happy end to what has been an amazingly eventful 2007.
Update: The two of us wound up at the movies and eating dinner at “low key and local” Cafe Lalo in an unexpected and fun night out (and home before midnight, woo!). For the curious, yes, the theater was jam-packed at 10 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.

links for 2007-12-22

Mayor Jack

Enamored though I am with my own dog, I have started spending a lot of time with Mayor Jack Reynolds, the mascot of Ai HQ. Jack is a friendly, funny French bulldog with an attitude and a photogenic mug.
So of course Jack is the star of the Ai holiday card. Check it out. (Viral videos coming to YouTube in January.)

Refresh Recharge Renew

Hot on the heels of my unwanted catalog abundance, I received in the mail today the premiere issue of Refresh Recharge Renew, a new magazine from Rodale Custom Publishing.
Funny thing, that. Because I didn’t subscribe first. Actually, I’m not a subscriber to any Rodale magazine at all. Never have been, although I did work for them for three weeks in 2004, and I pick up Men’s Health on occasion at the airport. Nothing in that suggests that I should be on any of their mailing lists.
Yet lo and behold, here it is, a magazine that looks a lot like the healthy-living-past-age-50 magazines that show up (also unsolicited) at my parents’ house. “Smart ideas for healthy, balanced living,” promises the tagline on the cover. How’s this for healthy: don’t pad your subs list with unwitting recipients, and save us all a tree or two.
Perhaps, dear reader, you think my tone is a bit uppity and huffy for something of this nature. In response, let me point you to this magazine’s website, which has on its homepage a rather easy-to-find Unsubscribe link. The page states it boldly: “Want to cancel your reFresh | reCharge | reNew magazine subscription? Just fill out this form and we will remove your home mailing address from our subscription list.” But I didn’t want to be on your subscription list in the first place! Why is it my responsibility to say so?
I thought email spam was frustrating. But the loads of unwanted printed mail I’m getting lately is in some ways much worse.

links for 2007-12-13

Horrible

I got spam today from something claiming to be the Alzheimer’s Organization.
My first thought, unfiltered: “I don’t remember signing up for an Alzheimer’s email….”