Tag Archives: Amount Of Money

The Box Or The Thought

My little dudes loved ripping wrapping paper off presents.

I can’t tell you the number of times I cringed my way through a birthday party with one of the three dudes. They’d sit up there in their place of power (that is, surrounded by the rest of the party guests with presents stacked around them), and rip their way through the entire stack, barely pausing to breathe.

Cringing seemed mandatory to me because they would at times only Birthday parties for young dudes and dudettes are rapidly becoming greedfests, in which the birthday girl or birthday boy rip and tear through packages and don't even care about who's giving it, or what the present even is.rip a hole in the paper, see what the gift was, drop it and then move on to the next gift.

They took no time for appreciation, no time to thank the giver. Heck, they took no time to even find out who gave them a present. That was up to their mom and me.

Here’s the thing about that. Most of the presents? Hardly ever got played with. Either they already had something like it, didn’t like it or whatever reason. And my little dudes weren’t the only ones.

Most parents aren’t going to spend a buttload of money on a birthday present for a young dude or dudette, so there’s a certain range that the presents will be.

It felt so. . . wasteful.

And then our kids were invited to a party by a friend of ours. The birthday card requested that, instead of gifts, we bring either dog food, or a canine toy, or money to donate to the animal shelter. The girl of honor, you see, wanted to use her birthday to help those who couldn’t help themselves.

It was brilliant. And, apparently, it’s an idea the time for which has come. In a major way. Thanks to the internet. Of course.

EchoAge is an online invitation service that not only handles inviting the kids, but makes sure the party thrower gets wanted gifts and gives to charity.

When you receive an invitation, you can go to EchoAge to either accept or decline. While there, you can give whatever amount of money you choose to the birthday boy or girl.

Rather than being crass, it’s brilliant. See half the money goes to the kid and half of it goes to a charity the kid has already designated. Once the party is over, the kid can take the money given through the service and go out to buy a present he or she actually wants.

Not only does a charity receive donations, but both party giver and party goer can have discussions with parents about charity, the importance of helping out those who are less fortunate than you are, and finding ways to do things that are more efficient and more environmentally friendly.

How cool is that?

I really wish I had this service when my young dudes were young enough to actually use it. Right now, though, my young dudes are in that parental awkward age where they’re too old to want to have a cake-eating birthday party and invite friends and too young to go to Las Vegas, so that’s out.

Fortunately for you, though, EchoAge is expanding beyond the birthday party for kids and is starting to invite adults for various different kinds of parties, still offering to give half the money or more to charity.

No matter the age of the party giver, I think that’s a great idea.

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Put A Little Love In Your Life

Yes, dudes, it’s Valentine’s Day. I sure hope you have already purchased/made/found the right gift for your loved one, the gift that says exactly how you feel and will be accurately understood as such.

And, yes, I also know that Valentine’s Day is a creepily commercial holiday designed to force people to spend unFSMly amounts of money on chocolate and flowers and cards and gifts and all that stuff just so they can say they love/like/don’t actively plot to kill someone.

So, yes, I did go out and buy stuff for She Who Must Be Made Aware Of My Undimmed Ardor. Yes, we did purchase cards to send to children, nephews, nieces, aunts, uncles, parents, step-parents and all like that.

Sure there should  be a boycott of the whole silly thing, but, brother, I ain’t the dude to lead that futile bit of fluff which will, ultimately, only make its leaders look like idiots.

Even with the commercial aspect of all this. . . You know what? I really don’t mind it.

You can and should tell your loved ones every single day that you do love them, that they mean the world to you and you would hardly be able to go on without them. Or words to that effect. That’s something that every right-thinking individual should do on a more-than-daily basis.

But that sometimes doesn’t happen. I think it’s nice that there’s a day set aside for love. A day designed (in theory) explicitly to make it easier to express the love we feel toward another person.

That and I love getting chocolates. So there’s that.

Of course, I think the whole thing has become overblown to an appalling extent, but that’s what happens with most things in America that stand a small chance of actually making some company somewhere some amount of money. More hoopla, more money. It’s the way it goes.

Which doesn’t mean it’s all wrong.

So, whether or not you’ve bought into the prevailing zeitgeist and purchased something big and expensive or simply took the time to walk up behind your loved one and wrap an arm around his/her shoulders and whisper that she/he is loved, enjoy it.

Realize that love, however and wherever you find it, is a rare and precious thing that should always be celebrated. Even if it means you have to dress in silk underwear with red hearts printed on it.

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It’s Not Like I Was Going To Put It To A GOOD Use

By Richard

 

The way I see it, going to Vegas doesn’t have to end in a horrorshow of blood and sirens and flashing lights and horrible cramps as you try to recapture your breath while being as silent as possible so you don’t get caught by the mob button man who wants to extract revenge for that little incident at the roulette tables. It usually does, but I’m just saying it doesn’t have to.

You know, The Hangover really made it a lot harder to do Vegas jokes like that. That’s me, working harder for your enjoyment.

So. Vegas. Right.

No, what I was saying was that I try to look at time in Vegas not as a complete time and money sink, but as a vacation I’ve already bought and paid for.

This is, so I don’t end up as one of those sad stereotypical dudes who’s trying to pawn his watch so he can replace the plane trip he sold to cover his losses at the sports book. I just set aside x amount of money.

The key here is not the amount, but how I think about it. I think about it as having already paid for the weekend.Sort of like an all-inclusive vacation. One where you still have to pay for the food. And the drinks. And the room.

All right. The analogy doesn’t really hold up all that well. What do you want? I’m in Vegas. We  don’t do coherent thought out here.

No, what I’m saying is I think of the money as being already spent. That is, I’d feel completely justified as the dude who paid $x for the weekend. It’s just in Vegas, I have to pay that fee over several days and some spectacularly bad bets.

Which makes it all the more fun because I’m not just signing a credit card receipt. No, I’m basically making’ it rain up in here. Only I’m holding  an umbrella and the rain only falls behind the betting counter.

Still, better here than lost in the desert. What? That’s a perfectly good comparison. No? What’s a straw man?

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