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Ten ... nine ... eight ... seven ... 

Happy new day!

Can someone please explain to me what's so special about Dec. 31?

Sure, it marks the end of the previous year and the start of the new one, which is a reason for everyone to celebrate ... but how is New Years Eve different than going out and having a good time on Jan. 15, Nov. 12, Aug. 2 or June 24? There really isn't much of a difference, because on any given night we get dressed up, go out, stand in line, make a toast and then find someone to kiss at the end of the night. The only difference is on any given night, you don't have to pay a cover -- whereas you have to pay at least $30 on NYE to be more crowded. If the best things in life are free, then NYE parties are definitely not one of the best things in life. On the other hand, celebrating is. Therefore, partying like it's 1999 should be a year-round thing ... kind of like making resolutions. Why delegate just one day to making goals and celebrating when we have 365?

I started my New Years Eve by walking through Cans' Winter Wonderland. It was kinda like celebrating New Years in Narnia -- OK, not really. It was like being in Cans with the addition of the winter theme, equipped with sexy snow angels on hand serving tapas and making sure everyone had a full drink. I don't think it's possible to have a bad night at Cans, which is perhaps why so many people opted to kick-off 2007 there. I then migrated to Phil's, and it was like every other night there, which made for a good NYE. However, like Cinderella going home, I hurried to make it to Forum by midnight for the Alice in Wonderland themed NYE party. And a team of MVPs came to this alcoholic Disney World to kick off the New Year as well: Julius Pepper, Keyshawn Johnson, Emeka Okafor, Matt Carroll and Brett Basanez, to name a few. But more importantly, the Mad Hatter was there.

I then wandered away from the nightlife tour to The Masquerade Ball at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. DJ Red and Beija Flor kept the crowd moving well past midnight. I was just grateful to have a mask to cover my eyes after discovering that Patron makes me cry for no worthy reason. Perhaps they should put an emotional side effect warning on the side of that bottle.

From kick-off to count down ...

New Years Eve came second on my list of party priorities, seeing as how it overlapped with college football bowl season. Tailgating for the last game of the season is the sporting equivalent to a New Years Eve party. Charlotte hosted Boston College in their shock and awe victory over Navy for the Continental Tire Bowl; meanwhile, my Hokies went to meet Georgia down in Atlanta at the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl. It turned out to be more like a UGA home game. My friend Casey sent me an e-mail that said we were invited to a tailgate that involved midgets, magic tricks and beer pong, so it came as no surprise to me when I realized ATL, better known to the Hokies as Vick's town, was just one big giant tailgate. The roster included Champs at the Marriot Marquis, Twisted Taco in Buckhead, FOX Sports Bar, Jock and Jill's next to the stadium, and a fellow alumni's trunk in the purple lot. And we didn't stop tailgating up until about the fourth quarter when my Hokies pulled a Golden Gopher with a heartbreaking come from ahead loss. I had the option to ring in the New Years in Atlanta, but why would I do that? The QC beats ATL in the battle of the bars.

And the winner for best NYE party of 2007 is ... (drum roll please) ... well, I liked them all the same really. I went to two different wonderlands, a Masquerade Ball, and Phil's, and had the same good time at each place. Really, it didn't matter where I was -- it was all about who I was with.

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