Wednesday, December 31st, 2008, 3:40 pm

Tonight is New Year’s Eve or, as AlCantHang would say, the ultimate Amateur Night. This is the night where everyone feels justified in getting blackout drunk, as if a random Tuesday night in April isn’t also an opportune time for a bender. Me, I’m going to a party where I will drink some red wine, nibble some cheese, and commiserate with my fellow man. I’m tempted to bring along the bottle of Black Russian Red I bought at the Finger Lakes a couple of years ago, as the folks I’ll be hanging with would appreciate it. Or I may just hit the state store (yeah, Pennsylvania is Marxist when it comes to booze) and pick up a few bottles. Good red wine mellows me out, makes me feel smart and sophisticated and effective. Really should drink it more often.

This is the time of year where everyone posts their best-of lists, retrospections, resolutions and whatnot. I’m not gonna bother. I just re-read the posts I wrote the last couple of New Year’s Eves and I’m a broken record. Need to write more, need to lose weight (though lately I’ve actually been DOING something about that), blah blah blah. Who cares? Not you. And with 14 billion blogs out there (don’t blogs seem almost quaint in this age of Twitter and Facebook?) you don’t have time to waste reading my bleats on self-improvement.

Actually, if I have one New Year’s resolution, it’s this–I’m going to spend a lot less time in front of the computer. Or, at the very least, on the web. I waste SO much time cycling between Bloglines, Twitter, Facebook, forums, and whatever other bright and shiny things the Internet dangles before me. Some of this online information is interesting, informative, important. Some of this info is time-shredding crap. When I watch TV I’m almost always online. When I watch movies I’m online. I listen to podcasts while I surf the net. There’s a fine line between “multi-tasking” and “not paying attention to anything”. And I’ve spent much of the last two years on the wrong side of it.

I used to read everything I could get my hands on. I’m ashamed to admit this, but I don’t know if I read ten books in 2008. At least not ten books for pleasure–photography and poker manuals don’t count. I toss my mail in a faux-leather box just inside my front door. I cleaned it out yesterday looking for a bill and found 15 unread New Yorkers and a half-dozen Card Player and Bluff mags. The only time I read magazines is when I went to the Chinese buffet by myself or when I visit the loo. Any wonder why I’m an underinformed fatso?

It’s the nature of my job that I spend a lot of time online, but I need to limit the number of seconds I lose to the Internet time-sink. And use that time to write. Read a book. Exercise. Stuff that’s important to me, stuff that I enjoy.

2008 was not an easy year for the world at large. Not that any year doesn’t see it’s fair share of strife, disasters, scoundrals. But the economic meltdown was not something we see every year. Nor was the Presidential election, and the mere fact that George W. Bush will only be President for 20 more days gives one cause for cautious optimism. Whatever you think about Barack Obama, the fact that Bush will be leaving office is the ultimate example of addition by subtraction.

For me, 2008 was a…turbulent year professionally. But I also feel optimistic that things will improve in 2009. This past year I traveled more than I have in my entire life. If you told the Gene Bromberg of 2004 that in 2008 he’d ride a zip line through the Costa Rican rain forest, bodysurf in the South China Sea, and attend an important business function in a Las Vegas strip club, the 2004 Geno would’ve said, “No (expletive) way”. I’m a lucky guy, and believe me, I appreciate that fact every single day. Here’s hoping good fortune finds you in 2009.

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4 Responses to “Disconnect”

  1. Darcy Says:

    I put this one on my desktop at work to try and help me with the same goal of cutting down my internet time-wasting: http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2008-11-20/

  2. Benny Distefano Says:

    I’m gonna plan a trip to Pittsburgh to take in a weekend of baseball, foods heavy in fat, and cold beer. Probably bring iggy with me. Plan for it.

  3. Woy Says:

    That’s really not a bad resolution at all. I hope it goes well!

    Also – still gonna try to get that Hold ‘Em tournament early this year.

    Happy New Year!

  4. Human Head Says:

    “Whatever you think about Barack Obama, the fact that Bush will be leaving office is the ultimate example of addition by subtraction.”

    True enough, sir. NH and Happy New Year to you.

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