This is a very hard thing to admit. I’m addicted to e-mail.
Yes, I realize it has eliminated the need for exercise in the office and the art of communication. (How many times do you send an e-mail to the person sitting right next to you instead of walking over and chatting?) But it also makes communication simpler and fun. (I love decoding messages like, “Do u hve time 4 mtg 2morrow @ 3?”) And as much as I hate the never-ending flow of information for keeping me up at night (literally), I just can’t keep myself from reading messages, replying to messages, and sending messages at all hours of the day and night. Even when I’m (supposedly) on vacation.

I don’t own a BlackBerry or Treo — yet — because I’m afraid that will only make things worse. But the thought of being able to communicate anytime/anywhere is evilly enticing. (Just a small hint to any of you out there contemplating what to get me for Christmas … it would be rude to return such a thoughtful gift!)

So based on this, you might think the story on page 52 was written specifically for me. But in fact, there are hundreds of people like me out there. I see you on the plane all the time. The wheels have barely touched down and you’re reaching for your PDA. Or the flight attend­ant has to personally ask you to please turn off your cellphone. You know who you are. And I sympathize.

So “Get Disconnected” is written for all of us. It’s an excellent primer that suggests slow and simple ways to wean yourself from this unfortunate habit. I’ve read and reread it in hopes that it will sink in sooner rather than later.

In another story, we take a peek at the magic behind Pixar’s business. With all it has going on these days (its split from Disney, the phenomenally successful release of The Incredibles), we thought it was a good time to see how they’re doing.

Our visit concluded that it looks and sounds like an amazing place to work. And there is a lot to be learned from their attitude and creativity. (But no matter how great and innovative they are, I bet we can find people there who are also addicted to e-mail!)

Those are just two of the many, many, many stories in this issue. And why are there so many stories? Because for this, the very last issue of the year, our salespeople outdid themselves yet again, pushing the magazine to another 140-plus pages. (If you recall, they did this to us last month as well.) Between you and me, I think our publisher just wanted to be sure we really earned our holidays this year!

But I can’t complain. Because not only is it a great vehicle to showcase the incredible work of our art and editorial folks, but it also showcases what an incredible job our salespeople do in a still remarkably tough market. If it weren’t for their successful efforts, we’d have no pages on which to tell our stories. And thus, I’d be out of a job. And, thus, no one would e-mail me. So my heartfelt thanks to our entire team for a stellar 2004. And to all of you for reading the magazine and e-mailing your thoughts.

As I look ahead to 2005, I’m thinking I’d better make the most of this year’s holidays, because if this trend of bigger magazines continues, I’m not sure there will be time to take off many more days! But even if I do manage to slip out for a day or two, don’t worry — I’m always reachable by e-mail or cellphone. At least for now.

Picture of Sheri Burns