Kate and I had a much more relaxed New Year's Celebration, particularly in comparison to the madness of Christmas. Invited about a double-handful of friends, did not ask for RSVPs, and was not worried when about a half-dozen showed (combination of other parties and two inches of snow may have disuaded some). Junk food laid out (well, Kate made some cookies), cook-your-own pizzas and champagne chilling in the wine cellar (most folk would call it the garage, but it hasn't seen a vehicle for the past five years). A nice time was had by all.
Mostly, we played games. Wolf the Monkey King brought a card game called Summer Camp which revealed nothing more than the designers have some issues with acceptance to work through. Shelly the Wife of the Monkey King (doesn't that make her the Monkey Queen?) brought her Christmas present, a microphone/Karoke hookup for the X-box, which my pitiful sound system did nothing to enhance (though now that I have seen the lyrics to Y.M.C.A, I can safely say that there's some sort of agenda going on there).
John, our resident Tolkien expert (and in this lot that's saying a LOT - he's been quoted on CNN Online) brought a Lord of the Rings game, and the collected group desperately avoided being fed to Sauron on the last round of the game. I unearthed Citadels, a very nice European board game released in this country by Fantasy Flight which is a city-building game where everyone has a different role each round (The Assassin moves first and can make another character lose its turn, but doesn't know who the other characters are yet. The Thief can steal the money of another character, except for the Assassin and his Victim, the Bishop gets extra gold for religious buildings, etc. . . ). Solid game, and works well in the 4+ players catagory.
Midnight by the radio atomic clock and champagne/cider as fireworks popped outside (proximity to the various reservations = major pyrotechnics on the holidays). Most of the crowd retired soon afterwards, but the survivors played Carcasonne: Hunters & Gatherers. It is a "variant" of the Carcasonne game (where you are building a medieval countryside with tiles) where you are building a paleozoic countryside with tiles. No, really. You are putting out tiles for gathering (forests), fishing (rivers), and meadows (hunting). The new variant avoids a lot of the problems of the earlier Carcasonne, and the new rules twists make it a similar-but-strangely-different game.
And so to New Year's Day - my Mom called from the Rose Bowl Parade at nine in the morning, tumbling me out of bed - they're having a good time, but they are cold in Pasedena. Kate is talking about heading down to Boeing Field to see the Concorde, which they missed a few days ago. And I have to finish a project. So it feels like a pretty pleasant, and typical, year.