New Year’s Anti-Resolutions

None of You Keep Your Resolutions, Who Are You Kidding?

You know you’re going to tell yourself to lose weight in the New Year, you friggin’ idiot! That’s number one for most people on their list of resolutions. And you’ll foolishly pay for a gym membership or one of those diet programs shown on TV (with all the skinny people who work out professionally but proclaim you can look like them as you work a full day shift, pick up the kids, and pay the bills–what a crock.)

Other pointless resolutions will likely include: Read more, less TV; Quit Smoking; Spend more time with family; Get out of debt (that’s a biggie for this year); Organize your life.

In the end, I would give it 2 weeks and your New Year’s Resolutions are dead, especially if it’s about getting into shape. You just spent your money and your emotions in promoting your own failure. Don’t you feel like a moron?

Here’s the solution to New Year’s Resolutions–“Anti-resolutions”!

We all know when someone tells us to behave the instinct is to “not behave.” So when you tell yourself to lose weight, you will rebel against yourself. This doesn’t mean your schizophrenic (unless you are, then good luck to you), it just means it’s natural to not do what is told of you and if you’re telling yourself to do something then you’ll do the opposite.

The anti-resolution methodology uses reverse psychology. If you tell yourselfnot to do something you’ll rebel and “do it.” So write down a list of what you intend to “not to accomplish” this year:

1. I will not lose weight this year and plan to order something off the dessert menu every time that stupid Denny’s waiter asks.

2. I refuse to spend time with my ingrate family as the TV is much more comforting.

3. I will continue to smoke because doctors don’t know everything. Smoking could be curing some disease we don’t even know about.

And the list goes on like this until you have all of your anti-resolutions out on paper. In 2 weeks the rebelling begins–you’ll tell yourself to go to hell because you’re going to lose weight no matter what you say; you’ll spend time with your family just to spite yourself; and you’ll stop smoking because you can spend that money on gambling (ending your gambling habit is next year’s resolution, don’t worry about it now).

I believe this methodology will work though the clinical trials are still in “phase one” (phase one is anyone who reads this and gets back to me with comments. If anti-resolutions do not work than you are in no worse shape than you would be if you had made normal resolutions bound to be abandoned within the month. The only side effect may be that your inner conflict has been ramped up so much that therapy is required–so get a refund on your gym membership and use the money there instead.

New Year’s Resolution: Relocate to Another Country

If you have plans to move to another place or country, here are some ideas to prepare yourself to reach that goal.

1. Find out all the necessary information about the place or country.

This means studying the way of life there. Is it economically stable? Is it a safe place to live? Does the lifestyle there fit your personality and goals in life? Get as much information as possible. Researching assures you of making a sound decision about leaving your present residence to live in another. If moving to another country, you should know all the legal requirements for entering and living in that country. Look up the requirements at their embassy in your country or make a personal visit to their embassy. Embassy officials can help you decide the best way for you to enter a country.

2. Save enough money.

Moving to a new location can be costly. Entering a new country needs a lot of documentation and other requirements so be ready. If you want to apply as an immigrant, a sufficient amount in your bank account is needed to increase your chances of being granted a visa. You will also need to have enough to sustain your everyday living while you settle in your new home.

3. Get employment in your new destination.

Find out what employment opportunities are available and apply for these positions before relocating. There are websites that can help you find work in another location. It would be a plus factor if your profession is in demand in the place you’re eyeing for. Your employment could be your ticket to your intended destination.

4. Pay the place a visit.

This allows you to experience the place beforehand. Sometimes reading only about it will give you half the information you need and want. Paying the place a visit would be an opportunity for you to make friends with people there and decide whether you can live there or not.

5. Seek the help of friends living in your destination.

New Year’s Eve “Mystery Gift” Game for Adults

Here is a Game Adults Can Play All Night at Your New Year’s Eve Party

Are you looking for a game for adults to play at your New Year’s Eve Party. How about one with a variety of prizes, including ones that turn out to be “booby prizes” or ones with little or no value. Well here is an idea of a game that will be a lot of fun. It takes a little bit of planning to set up, but in the end will result in quite a bit of interaction among your guests by the end of the night. As the host you can determine the true value of your prizes, but this article includes a guideline for a medium cost event.

The Set-up

You will want to have three “gift cards” for each adult attending your New Year’s Eve party. Each adult will receive one that has a green letter, one that has a red letter, and two with a yellow letter. Tell them that the colors and the letters will all have an effect on what type of prizes they receive at the end of the night. Let them know that every colored letter corresponds to a prize chart that will be revealed as the night goes on. Some of the prizes will be revealed during the night, but most will be revealed at the end of the night.

The Prize Chart

Have a large poster board chart with each letter that has been given out for green, red and yellow in different rows. Write under each letter what the prize associated with it is. Put the the biggest prizes in the green row. Put some of the middle value prizes in the red row, and the cheapest prizes in the red row.

The green row- have only 20% of these letters have real prizes, for the others have them revealed as “sorry, play again”, or “Wrong choice”. Make these the big prizes. Suggestions would be $50 gift cards to local restaurants, tickets to a play, tickets to a sporting event, a nice bottle of champagne or wine, etc.

The red row- have 40% of these letters have real prizes. The rest will have the same “sorry, play again” message as below. Examples of prizes for the red letter redemptions at your New Year’s Eve Party could be $10 gift cards to local restaurants, movie gift certificates, gas cards, moderately priced bottles of wine, champagne, or beer, etc.

The yellow row- have 80% of these letters have real prizes. The prizes for these letters would be rather small, including $5 gift cards to local establishments, small trinket prizes like candles, holiday decorations, holiday CD’s, and other small gifts.

Explain How The Game Is Played

Tell your guests that during the evening they can trade their letters with other guests however they wish. Let them know that the prizes on the green level will be the biggest prizes, but that there is also a greater risk that those letters will include no prize at all. Let them know that prizes will be awarded just after midnight at the New Year’s Eve party but they can trade all night. The only ground rules are that to get a red letter two yellow letters must be traded (or another red letter). To get a green letter you must trade either two red letters (or another green letter). They can also trade down, in other words trade a green for two red letters, or a red for two yellow letters.

Tell your guests hints will be given every 5-10 minutes during the night. These can include things like “two of the letter A’s have no prizes”, or something like “the red letter A is a guarenteed prize”. It can also reveal something like “the green letter A has a bigger prize value than the green letter B and C combined”. Something to add a little intrigue to the game.

As you get closer to midnight, start revealing some of the letters at each level. At 11:00 reveal 6 of the yellow letter prizes. At 11:20 reveal 3 of the red letter prizes. Finally, at 11:40 reveal 1 of the green letter prizes. When you reveal these prizes this does not mean you give them out at this point. This just gives people some idea of what prizes are in play, and if their letters are worthless or will receive a prize. Obviously there will still be a lot of unknown letters as far as if they receive prizes, but these “hints”.

This New Year’s Eve party game can be adjusted if you wish to have larger prizes or smaller ones depending on the budget for your party. It can also use numbers on the card and prize board if you have more people than the alphabet will allow. One final adjustment you can make for your New Year’s Eve Party is to either add another color to the cards you hand out or reduce the amount of colors. Regardless of how you adjust the rules, your guests will all get to socialize and “compete” in a friendly manner for prizes. Some might want to collect as many yellow (low level) cards as possible, others might want to go for the big ones and get as many green cards as possible.

Your friends will love the mystery involved in this New Year’s Eve Party Game.


New Years Eve with Garrison Kiellor, Uncle Bammer and Musical Legends at the Ryman Auditorium

Is it Possible that Time and Experience Are Mellowing Me?

Having spent a good share of my existence frequenting bars, parties and going anywhere things might be unpredictable at any given moment, New Years Eve ceased being synonymous with hangover quite a few years ago. The final straw, I believe, might have been in 2010 when I found myself celebrating and singing Karaoke with Uncle Bammer at The Moose Breath Saloon in Billings, Montana. Bammer was dressed as he always is on the final night of the year — in nothing but a bath robe and pink, fuzzy, bunny slippers.

To put the inanity of this emerging image into perspective, it may be helpful to know that Bammer is a biker. In the 1970’s he was an Enforcer (bodyguard) for the President of the most notorious motorcycle club in the World. Although he is now retired and usually rides on 18 wheels instead of two, Bammer always has been and always will be a biker. With his long, graying, sometimes braided beard, he even looks like a biker turned trucker… even when dressed in a blue bath robe and pink, fuzzy, bunny slippers!

We had been politely asked to leave several drinking establishments prior to finding ourselves drinking shots of Hot Damn schnapps and singing karaoke out of tune at The Moose Breath. The year 2011 was only moments away when it was Bammer’s turn to sing Hank Williams.

As he took the stage and began to sing, Bammer experienced a premeditated wardrobe malfunction that makes Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl flash shrivel in comparison. And there was, at no time, any doubt that this was not an accident. But the music continued.

Bammer sang as if nothing were unusual. The crowd reacted in a myriad of ways. Some covered their eyes, while others hands went over their mouths — and Bammer continued to sing. There were whispers and shrieks as my uncle croaked out the words to I’m So Lonesome, I Could Cry. And when the song was finally over and the gasps and laughter died down, the microphone was returned to the reluctant Karaoke host. Bammer tied his robe shut, quickly downed his drink, and then after being politely asked to, we left to sing Auld Lang Syne from the parking lot.

But that’s another story.

After that, some of us began referring to New Years Eve as amateur night and figured our chances of starting a new year waking up in jail would be diminished significantly if we refrained from hitting the bars for karaoke, Hot Damn and free champagne at midnight. The next year I joined my mother and great uncle at the American Legion’s Bingo fund raiser and the excitement has waned even further in subsequent years.

I had made no plans to celebrate New Year 2019, so when a friend invited me to use an extra ticket she had to go see a show, I humbly accepted. The show was being held at the historic Ryman Auditorium in the heart of Nashville. The Ryman was opened in 1894 and is known for its outstanding acoustics and the legends that have graced its stage. The one time tabernacle has hosted The Metropolitan Opera, Vienna Boys Choir, Enrico Caruso and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. It was also home to the Grand Ole Opry for 30 years; where Patsy Cline sang, where Johnny met June and where Hank Williams made his debut in 1949.

Being a former radio announcer, I was doubly excited that the show we would see was a live production of A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor. The show was not only airing live on PBS radio throughout the nation, but was also being aired live on PBS’s Great Performances television program. I was impressed.

While my experiences in broadcasting have been pretty extensive, I was awed not necessarily by Keillor’s performance, but by the massive amount of effort and talent that was invested in the production. Keillor served mainly as a mechanism of transitions between various musical acts that performed wonderfully.

Musical legends from both in front of the microphone and at the control panel entertained the sold out crowd. Suzy Bogguss sang several songs and joked with Keillor. Jerry Douglas, Buddy Emmons and Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver all participated, as did producer Cowboy Jack Clement and Tim Russell. The Old Crow Medicine Show delighted the audience with some fine mountain pickin’ and grinnin’. Even Keillor took the mike on several occasions throughout the evening and tried his singing voice on.

Because January 1st is the 53rd anniversary of the death of Hank Williams, many of the performers had a desire to pay tribute to one of the most influential musicians to ever stand on the stage they now played on. Robin and Linda Williams performed several songs that were either written by or written in honor of Luke the Drifter.

The biggest treat of the evening for me came when Emmylou Harris took the stage and sang several of her hits, as well as music she recorded with The Nash Ramblers. In a voice as fresh and unique as the first time I heard it, she paid tribute to John and June Cash, who Emmylou said were an ideal couple that exemplified the word love. Sam Bush and Jon Randall, both former Nash Ramblers, also joined Harris on the stage.

To end the three hour program, everyone joined together and held hands for a Grand Ole Opry style rendition of Will the Circle Be Unbroken? The crowd demanded an encore and Keillor returned to the stage one more time to enlist the services of the Old Crow Medicine Show to perform a few more pieces.

While Garrison Kiellor and The Prairie Home Companion radio program have brought their fans back to simpler days, the real talent this past New Years Eve at the Ryman Auditorium were the crews who combined their skills to bring the show to not only a live local audience, but provided it to a nation wide public television and radio audience also. At the Ryman, the audience is able to see and hear the reality behind the lights… camera… action!

Although this New Years Eve celebration lacked a lot of the fun, excitement, risk and drama that were naturally included partying with Bammer, a night seeing legends perform among the spirit of the many legends that preceded them at the Ryman Auditorium wasn’t half bad. And the chances of waking up in jail were greatly diminished. Happy New Year!

New Year’s Restitution

For the past 30 days, I’ve experienced some very bizarre coincidences. I reunited with some old friends, lost one, and fell in and out of…something. Christmas came and went, practically unnoticed, and New Year’s was brought in with a whimper rather than a bang. Emotionally, I experienced the full spectrum, from hopeful to heartache and back again. I found myself searching deep within my soul for an unknown thirst to quench the pain that was nearly tangible.

Of course, this is dangerous territory for me, to be standing on hallowed, shaky ground. And so, I found myself falling in so many ways. Falling towards love (though not necessarily in), falling into old patterns, falling off a wagon or two, allowing self-pity to bubble to the surface. When you’re sinking into a quagmire of your own shit, it’s difficult to reach up for help, afraid that someone will smell it on you – the pungent smell of desperation and fear. It becomes a challenge just to keep breathing it in.

The blessing is that even in the pit of stench, we can always find our bottom, the spot we reach when we can travel no more. And at the bottom, I regained my footing. It’s a great place from which to vault. I opened my eyes, realized my ass was on fire, and decided it was time to put it out. I took the next right step. I severed some unhealthy ties, promising to return when I was in a better place. A person who is very dear to me said simply, “Call me when you’re back.” That sentence summed up my 30-day wayward journey. I had left my path. So, New Year’s resolutions? Fuck ’em. I’m looking for restitution – a way to return to what I know to be good and true…and me.


New Year’s Parenting Resolutions of a Soon-to-be-Stepfather

Becoming a Co-Parent Means It’s Time to Bring Your “A-Game”

The woman I plan to wed is smart, gorgeous, funny, hardworking, and sweeter than her favorite Splenda. She also has a four-year-old son, who is a great kid. He is smart, well-adjusted, and precocious. But it’s obvious that I need to keep some New Year’s resolutions in mind as I prepare for step-fatherhood in 2019.

1.) Become more comfortable with assertive fathering. As the non-parent, it is easy to sit back and let the parent step in when the kid gets out of line. Certainly, and especially as a male, I do not want to be seen yelling at a tyke in public, lest people worry that I am some sort of child-abusing criminal. I often stand by, mute, as my fiance chastises her scowling son for whatever misbehavior or tantrum he has just committed. She has told me that I need to “step in” and be more comfortable with ensuring good discipline. I feel confident that this is a scenario that makes many soon-to-be stepfathers a tad uncomfortable: What is acceptable in “ensuring good discipline” of a young kid? What is acceptable to the mother, and what is acceptable in the public eye?

Be sure to talk to the mother so expectations are synced.

2.) Become less squeamish. Four-year-olds are masters at unwanted and unexpected bodily functions. Let’s just say that one day, when the going got tough, I froze and let the kid’s mother handle it. I realized that I should be more proactive about cleaning up kiddie messes because, when she and I have our own kids, I’ll want some experience under my belt instead of being hit unawares.

We should all buck up a little, because kids can be gross. Fact of life.

3.) Budget better. Kids are expensive, so I’m maximizing my pre-wedding bank account by cutting back on inefficient spending. To help pay for child care services (my new wife and I will both be working full-time) I have dutifully cut out my energy drink fix (Red Bull costs a pretty penny!), limited my use of bottled water, and am planning to cut out cable TV. It’s a small sacrifice to help the pinch of child care spending feel more tolerable.

Who shouldn’t resolve to be more thrifty? I think that’s a good resolution for anyone.

4.) Think safety. As a single, twentysomething guy, safety is often not in the front of my mind. I disconnected my smoke alarm because the battery was low and the machine started beeping…and did not exactly replace said batteries promptly. Smoke inhalation could’ve gotten me, but I was not concerned.

It’s different when you’ve got a kid in your home. I need to think more about safety, as should we all.

5.) Maximize free time. With a kid about to be a permanent addition to my lifestyle, I need to be able to keep my sanity and retain my invaluable “down time.” Right now I am woefully inefficient at this. For instance, I should go straight to the gym after work instead of loafing around for an hour at my apartment. I never manage to pick up a book, truly relax, or even watch a good TV show during this hour, therefore making it rather wasteful.

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