A Good Walk Spoiled

I was having a pretty good New Year’s Eve day.

Got a lot of the house cleaned up. Got some papers in order. Sent email thank-yous for various Christmas cards. (Unmarried Jewish guy = email response to Christmas cards is the best I can realistically manage.)

Read the news at a leisurely pace. Bid a last goodbye to a number of entertaining but ultimately pointless political blogs, and their legions of time-wasting commenters. This is one of my New Year’s Resolutions. If I can quit Slashdot, I can quit you too.

Walked down to Satan’s Santana Row and stopped at one of the bistros. Enjoyed a glass of red wine on a cool, sunny day with a bright blue sky. Read most of Life in a Medieval City by the Gies-es-es.

Continued on my way to a small art gallery to look at my two tree paintings again. Actually, prints. They cost $3400 each. The last time I’ve been so affected by artwork was in the Prado looking at The Dwarf Sebastian de Mora. Wished that I had the kind of disposable income that I could just snap my fingers and take them both.

Then back home to do a little more noodling on the computer. And in the process of writing a friend an email, I came to a horrible realization: We are going to be stuck with Carson Daly doing the Rockin’ New Year’s Eve for the next fifty years.


Unsolicited Investment Advice for Mur

So it appears that Mur has been [laid off by her company right before the holidays](http://www.murlafferty.com/blog/?p=54). Even we non-Christmas-celebrating folks know that *that’s* not right. What a bunch of Scroogey McScroogersons!

Fortunately it sounds like Mur is doing all the right things, which almost as valuable as cold, hard cash. Even better, she has a severance package, which as it turns out is *exactly* as valuable as cold, hard cash.

Now as a [veteran of the Silicon Valley layoff scene](https://www.goer.org/2002/11/riffed.html) (seriously, there’s a scene, with red carpets and paparazzi and everything), I feel qualified to offer Mur some advice. Specifically about that severance package. See, Mur might be tempted to run off and spend that money on something irresponsible, like videogames. In particular, she might be looking at Rock Band Special Edition with guitar, drum set, and microphone. Oh sure, it *sounds* like it would be fun to have a Christmas morning jam session with your husband and daughter, where right as the final chords are fading away, you all extend a Lafferty Family upraised middle finger, “Merry Christmas, you spineless incompetent corporate bastards!”

But think about it — would that actually be *spiritually satisfying*? Would that bond you as a family? I think the question answers itself. Far better to put that money into something responsible. Like T-bills! Or wheat germ!

As an aside, Mur also suggests playing Arkham Horror over the holidays. Once again, I would argue that Cthulhu-based games are insufficiently light-hearted and family-oriented during this time of great crisis and international brou-ha-ha and so forth. To quote Joshua Falken, perhaps the best and most famous game reviewer of all time, “How about a nice game of Quirkle?”

Not Cute

Oh sure, the glowing cats are super cute and all. You probably want to rush right out and get one for Christmas? Of course you do.

Just keep in mind that it’s stories like these that make one thing increasingly clear: in the next five years, some deranged madman is going to engineer flying spiders.

Don’t worry, though. Even though they might be flying right at you with their huge creepy fangs and eight hairy legs and eight soulless eyes, just remember that they are more scared of you than you are of them.

Feeling a lot less sanguine about technological progress now, aren’tcha?