1999 Christmas Letter

Assuming that I am not going to get hit by a meteorite or trampled to death in some freak Y2K riot, I have made it through another year to write my fifth Christmas letter. I’m quite impressed with my ability to stick with the program for five years now. I can’t really think of anything else off the top of my head that has involved such a level of commitment. I left my “Tamaguchi” in a restaurant a day after it hatched, college only took four years, and my longest romantic relationship was wrapped up in a little more than three years. What does all this mean? Not a thing. Now that I think about it, I took care of my dog for more than a decade, and I have stood by the Denver Broncos for even longer than that. Heck, I’m still waiting for that Haley’s comet thing to come back again. Perhaps my level of commitment is not as underdeveloped as I first imagined.

In any case, it’s been a rather eventful year for me. As you may or may not know, I spent the first six months of the year working and playing in various parts of Europe. I wrote a letter about that way back in June, so feel free to read “Six Months in Amsterdam” if you haven’t done so already.

Getting back to Boulder was an interesting affair. For some reason that I don’t quite understand, it takes roughly 5 times longer to fly from Europe to the US than the other way around. I think it has something to do with the fact that the pilots have to convert all of their calculations from the metric system back to our way of doing things. I walked by the cockpit during the flight where one of the crew members was asking “Now how many gallons are there in a kilogram? I always get that mixed up.” Regardless of the reason, I have to say that I have never had the chance to watch four complete movies in an uninterrupted 16 hour period. It really wouldn’t have been so bad, except that United Airlines picks out all the movies they show during the flight from the “Goober Bin” at the local video store. You would think that with all the money they spend on in flight video equipment they could find something more interesting to show than sappy B movies and old episodes of “Home Improvement.”

Coming back to Boulder was a mixed blessing. I can’t really say that I like one city over the other, so I made two top ten lists about what I miss and don’t miss now that I am back in Boulder.

Top 10 reasons for coming back:

  1. I’m afraid of the Euro.
  2. Electrical outlets are all weird.
  3. Company apartment has temperamental hot water heater.
  4. No 24-hour supermarkets in Holland
  5. I hated the “revolving door of death” at the Amsterdam office.
  6. You think parking is bad in Boulder!
  7. Cricket is just too hard to figure out.
  8. I like seeing the sun every now and then.
  9. No Taco Bell in Holland.
  10. Poor news coverage of the ongoing Ramsey investigation.

Top 10 reasons for staying in Amsterdam:

  1. I was just starting to get the hang of snooker.
  2. Everyone sounds so smart on those BBC channels.
  3. Chocolate eggs with the toys inside.
  4. Eurodisney!
  5. Nobody cares when you urinate in the canals.
  6. Color coated money and coins that are actually worth something.
  7. The novelty condom shops.
  8. Numerous bars within walking distance of the apartment.
  9. The Chunnel.
  10. Public Transportation that doesn’t suck!!!

After watching various Initial Public Offerings increase the value of a select few individuals by a couple of billion dollars (give or take a few hundred million), I’ve decided to form my own company with the intention of taking it public in the future. In order to capitalize on both the current Internet craze and the recent success of Martha Stewart’s IPO, my new company is going to center around a web site devoted to food recipes that focus primarily on the wants and needs of men. Feel free to check it out at www.boxostuff.com. My personal favorite recipe: Box o’ Cheeze Its.

Well, every year I comment on my increasingly pathetic attempts at working toward my Master’s degree. I am proud to announce that this year I spent an all-time low three weeks attending classes. While still living and working in Amsterdam, I went through all of the trouble of applying to the Graduate Business program at CU. I started my Financial Accounting and Numerical Analysis night classes in late August. By early September I realized that neither subjects are very interesting in my own little world. I also discovered that as a reward for throwing in the towel quickly, the University gives back most of your money when you drop your classes in the first couple of weeks. At this rate, the only hope that I have of actually finishing a Masters degree is if scientists develop a computer chip that I can plug into my brain with all the relevant knowledge that I would have otherwise gained from sitting in class for two years.

December has been a pretty busy for me as I have been feverishly preparing for any and all Y2K issues that might arise at the end of the year. While most people are checking flashlight batteries and chopping firewood, I am busy watching a lot of TV. I don’t know what the future will hold in the brave new world of the upcoming millennium, but I want to start it off with the reassuring feeling that I have committed every episode of “Charles In Charge” to memory. OK, in all honesty, I have bought into the hype just a little bit by going to the grocery store and buying an extra box of “Cheeze Its.”

I’ve decided to start a new tradition of bestowing “Web Site of the Year” to the corner of the Internet that has arbitrarily provided me with the most laughs over the past year. This award goes to www.witcity.com. One section, called “The Lying Game” asks a new question every day and the top 10 most entertaining, insightful, or otherwise unique answers are posted the next day. It took me a while to get the hang of it, but in the past couple of weeks I have gotten five or six of my entries published the next day. I am not exactly sure why, but I’ve developed a knack for making fun of Sony’s latest high tech toy, the “Robotic Dog.” Here are some of the questions along with my winning entries:

Q: What features are part of Sony’s new Robotic Dog?
A: Docking procedure no longer requires human leg.

Q: What are some of the merchandise spin-offs from “Toy Story 2?”
A: “Toy Story 3” trailer: It’s Buzz Lightyear vs. Sony’s Robotic Dog.

Q: What’s the most appropriate holiday gift to get for your boss?
A: That Sony Robotic Dog, set to “Evil.”

Q: In the Year 3000, what will be remembered about New Year’s 2000?
A: Who would have imagined those Sony Robotic Dogs were going to evolve and enslave the human race?

Of course there is a lot more to me than an endless string of Robotic Dog jokes. For example, here is the very first Lying Game Entry of mine that was published:

Q: What is the plot of the new film, “Charlie’s Angels: The Movie?”
A: Instead of working for the mysterious man on speaker phone, the Angels start a new job investigating questions submitted to the “Ask Jeeves” web site.

That pretty much wraps things up for this year. All that is left to do is to wait and see how life is going to be different now that the year odometer is making the big flip. I’ve done extensive testing and I am cautiously optimistic that my lava lamp and drinking bird are both going to operate correctly come January 1st. I don’t think anything bad is going to happen, but if it does I’ll be able to relax a little bit knowing that even though I didn’t send out my Christmas letter until after December 25th, all of my friends will have gotten at least one good laugh before the world comes to an end.