January 31: Rascal Flatts CD

Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 9:42 PM
Given to Lisa from Corey.
I might try "Love in an Elevator" this time

Dan's True Confessions:  A few years ago, someone burned me a mix CD, which included the song "What Hurts the Most", which is the feature song on this album.  It ended up being downloaded onto my iPod where it remained until one fateful day.  I had the iPod on shuffle.  A friend got into the car and this tune came on.  She laughed quite cacophonously and just kept laughing at me for having this song on my iPod.  In a fit of embarrassment, I deleted it from my library.

Since that time, I switch the music station when I hear it coming on.  Then on certain occasions, such as today when there's no escape from it, the song gets "memory burned" and I can't get it out of my head.  It's going to take either another song to take it's place (Rod Stewart's This Old Heart of Mine did the trick once before) or six sessions of therapy.

I didn't even bring up the topic
of prepositions with her
-Profession:  High School English Teacher

-Favorite way to say hello in another language:  Bonjour!

-What hurts the most--ketchup stain on khaki pants or a dented-in mailbox?:  Definitely the ketchup stain for sure.

-Tell me how your day was in an non-grammatical sentence:  It...was...busy.  Oh wait, that's grammatical!  Just put down 'Busy.'  It's just one word and not a sentence and that makes it un-grammatical.

If you could eliminate one part of the English language, what would it be?:  Swear words!

January 30: Mobile Martini Glass

Monday, January 30, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 8:14 PM
Given to Corey from Kari.
This would be great at a Monster Truck rally
This, ladies and gentlemen, is a martini glass on wheels.  Put it on a flat surface and the matchbox car will take this glass anywhere.  And it's homemade by Kari!

I can just picture Corey sitting at the end of a bar.  The bartender brings him his martini in his new custom glass.  He spies some young sweet thing a few seats down.  He slightly cocks his head up, gives a confident wink, and then a knowing smile.  She wisps her hair back, then looks down in embarrassment--not knowing quite what to say.  With a little push from his forefinger, he pushes the glass down to her seat.  It goes about halfway there...so he has to get up and roll the glass down to where she's sitting.  She takes a sip and they begin talking.  And the two share the martini, rolling the martini glass back and forth to each other...back and forth.

The man loves his milkshakes

-Profession:  IT Administrator; web designer

-Favorite highlighter color:  turquoise

-Have you ever thought about crossing over to the dark side and becoming a hacker?:  No.  Boredom takes people there.

-Outside of financials, what would you theoretically hack a person's computer for?:  I'd rather physically pour molasses into someone's machine.

-Will you get good use out of this glass?:  I love me an upscale alcoholic milkshake.  In fact, I have an industrial milkshake maker that makes three at one time, plus a residential model that makes one.  I can have four going at once.  It will be used.

January 29: Gemstone necklace

Sunday, January 29, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 7:36 PM
Given to Kari from Dottie.
Gemstones are chakra, red stone, Tiger Eye and jade
"Pay it Forward" has a special meaning to Kari.  A few months ago, my mom was appreciating a necklace Kari was wearing.  Kari took it off and gave it to my mom.  Now, she's getting a new necklace back through the gift exchange.  If only my mom liked Kari's drain and gutter system...who knows what would have happened then?

And, by including Kari, I've stumbled into someone who does a yearly white elephant gift exchange with a ton of her friends.  She showed me one of the gifts that keeps making it back into the exchange--this facially decorated (read: piercings and colorfully drawn-on facial hair) mannequin head.  It was a cross between Pee Wee's Playhouse and bad horror movie.

-Profession: Database Administrator Nerd

-Favorite insect:  Stink bug.  They're everywhere!  [she shakes her head] I even found some in my kiln gloves!

-You're a former cheerleader.  Can you come up with a cheer for this blog?:  Give me a 3!  Give me a 6! Give me a 6!  366 days of White Elephants!  Whoo!

-Since you're a self-admitted nerd, tell me something non-nerdy you do:  I like to do a lot of different things--using the left and right sides of my brain.  I was recently the Mom in Christmas Story.  I even got the "Bob the Builder" award.
She's not letting this go to her head

January 28: Two $10 Starbucks gift cards

Saturday, January 28, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 5:22 PM
Given to Dottie from Joe.
Does anyone have a piece of Double Mint gum?
'Joe' from Joe.  I recently was at Starbucks and don't know quite what to do with the new Blonde roast.  I keep thinking it should be the go-to drink for toe-heads like myself.  Then a barista once had me sniff the beans for blonde roast and they smell a little like peanut butter Whoppers.  But really, it feels like I'm just having a cup of coffee at my aunt's house.  That is, to say, two scoops of grounds and a lot of water.

Good News!  Now serving decaf
at most locations
-Profession:  University Administrator

-Favorite Family Feud host:  Richard Dawson

-You've had a boatload of jobs.  Tell me one you've always been dying to do, but never did:  I've always wanted to be a gas station attendant.  I'm all about customer service...and I like smelling gas.

-Where have squat thrusts gone in today's aerobic classes?:  To the bedroom.

-Bee Gees music--staple or guilty pleasure?:  Guilty pleasure.

January 27: Beat Generation Book & Backstreet Boys Buttons

Friday, January 27, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 10:35 PM
Given to Joe from Nancy.

Amazon.com sales rank of book: #742,738
Amazon.com sales rank of buttons: #6,982,778 (this is an insult)
These two gifts taken together are like a tuxedo t-shirt.  As the line goes in Talledega Nights, "It says like I want to be formal, but I'm also here to party, too."  By possessing this book and buttons, you're acting highbrow, but also telling the world that you have a sensitive and fun side, too.  I think it's perfect.  Or maybe as Joe repeated about six times when opening his gift, "This is interesting."

-Profession: Food Service Management

-Favorite planet:  Never thought about it.  Pluto!  And I want it re-commissioned as a planet!

-Do you laugh hysterically when ordering a 'cup of Joe'?:  No, I never say that.  And no one says it around me either.  I don't know why they call coffee 'Joe' anyway.  But we do have a bunch of jokes around here about 'Sloppy Joe's'.  I want to change it to 'Sloppy Dan's' or 'Sloppy Pete's'.

-Tell me a gourmet dish you could make with marshmallow Peeps?:  Rice Krispie Peeps.

January 26: Elixir Floral Infusions for Cocktails, Teas & Sodas

Thursday, January 26, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 11:09 PM
Given to Nancy from Tom.

Is there a bacon variety?
Tom's given Nancy an out when she's lost for conversation at her next home dinner party.  Suppose the conversation goes like this:

-"Is that a royal blue or midnight blue highlight in your couch pillows?" asks a guest.
-"You know, you might like to try a glass of lavender champagne!" says Nancy.
-"Ooh, sounds good!"


"My third husband said I screamed in my sleep." says a guest.
"You know, I'm in the mood for a glass of Damascan Rose soda.  How about you?" asks Nancy.
"Ooh, sounds yummy!"

2012 Presidential candidate for
Vampyres Witches Pagans Party
[it's for real, people]
-Profession: Disseminator of Revolutionary Knowledge

-Favorite hairstyle:  Pixie cuts

-Most ordinary thing you do:  I grade a lot of papers--a lot.

-Next revolutionary idea:  A three-party political system.

-Worst Skymall item for sale:  Pet water dispenser shaped like a toilet.  [Are you sure Nancy?  See below]

Yeah, he won't suffer years of
merciless teasing
For that inner Geordi LaForge in
all of us
Skymall appealing to the wolf market

January 25: Elvis guitar clock

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 11:41 PM
Given to Tom from Bob.
Fans have already started leaving flowers at
Tom's apartment
I enter the restaurant where I'm meeting Tom for the gift exchange.  Tom is not there yet.  The host asks me how I can be helped.  I say "I'm meeting a friend...well he's not a friend exactly, but well, we're doing this gift exchange."  The host asks me if I want a table.  I reply that I don't.  He then asks me what Tom's last name is.  I blank for a moment, then remember and tell him.  Meanwhile, I'm standing awkwardly with this Elvis guitar clock in one hand, telling him I'm not going to eat there, but using the establishment instead as a place where I can do this drug deal-like exchange with someone I don't know very well.  I was kindly offered a seat, uncomfortably sipped the water that lay before me, and used the time before Tom came to explain to the wait staff that I wasn't off my rocker.

5-star gingerbread house builder
-Profession: Pastry chef; recovering architect

-Favorite musical voice: Soprano

-How do you feel about getting your mid-life crisis out of the way early?:  No, my mid-life's yet to come.  This is just a quarter-life crisis.  I still want to go back to Paris and work again with pastry.

-What's a better surprise inside of a cake than a woman?:  A French woman
-What's a worse surprise inside of a cake than a woman?:  A snake

-How do you feel about photos being sprayed on a cake's icing?:  Ehh...errr...ummm...[visualize a contorted face] It's an American thing.

January 24: Photo Frames and Coasters

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 10:01 PM
Given to Bob from Dina.

"Picture frames for the picture framer...just what I need" is Bob's apt description for this hugely ironic gift.  As with all gift exchanges, neither party knows each other and what their professions are, which sets this up to be an hilarious encounter.  Says Bob, "I'm giving these away next Christmas."

Picture me rollin'
-Profession: Picture Framer

-Favorite mode of transportation:  car

-How many copies of the Bill Murray classic "What About Bob?" do you own?:      Zero.  I've seen it about 20 times, though.  It's funny--about four or five years after the movie came out--they came out with all this 'Bob' stuff.  Bob socks, Bob tools, Bob this, Bob that.  There was this commercial that came out, too, and it got played a lot.  I got tired of it.  And people call me 'SpongeBob' when I borrow money from them.

-If you were wrongfully incarcerated, what would your statement to the media be?:  I've been framed.

-Would you frame the news clipping?:  Yeah, I probably would.

-How many times have you told people to 'think outside the frame'?: None, but that's a good idea.

January 23: 20Q

Monday, January 23, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 11:33 PM
Given to Dina from Dick.
A travel-sized Ken Jennings
As you read below, please respond quietly with the following answers:

Are you human?  Do you live in Antarctica?  Does your mother make cheese?  Are you a crystal meth dealer?  Are silk undergarments a little too uncomfortable for you?  Did you have sushi for dinner last night?  Is 'pelican' your favorite word?  Do you have 3 boxes of popsicles in your freezer?  Do you text LOL even when you're not laughing out loud?  Are you a subscriber of Smithsonian?  Did you clip your hedges this past summer?  Are you in a relationship with Paul Rudd?  Can you bench press 225 lbs.?  Do you sleep with your contacts in?  Can you drive a manual transmission?  Were your parents missionaries?  Are you missing Vermont from your state quarter collection?  Is a clothespin sitting on your nightstand right now?  Are you named after a saint?  Do you have a bowl cut?

Your name is Jennifer.

That's how this works...and it's always correct.

-Profession:  Patient scheduler

-Favorite way to summon a server?:  Usually with a smile and a short wave.  Except this past weekend!  We had this waitress who kept ignoring us the whole time-probably because the food was bad.  I kept flagging her down, but she didn't come.

-Do you sing in the car?:  Yes

-Do you have a sizable light rock playlist?:  Well, yes, and I try to listen to other stuff, too.  I belt out a lot of Journey actually--in front of my kids and in front of their friends.  They get soooo embarrassed.

January 22: 4 Petite Natural Garden Grow Kits

Sunday, January 22, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 2:58 PM
Given to Dick from Kyleen.

First, some housekeeping.  If you tried to comment on a post, but couldn't, I believe I have fixed that issue. So comment away!

Dick leads what many observers would call a monk-ish existence.  Oftentimes, he'll be working on his next movie review in the subterranean level of his home in dim lighting with a few crusts of days-old white bread and a pot of diluted tea his only sources of nourishment.  He'll emerge out of this scholarly cocoon exhausted, unshaven, too weak to stand and pale.  But he will have completed his work.  And the majesty of all of this is that he will do it again and again and again until the public has their demand of movie reviews fulfilled.

I pray he opens the blinds a few days a week or re-gifts these to a more nurturing home.

Er ist wie aus dem Ei gepellt 
-Profession: Retired German professor; actor; movie reviewer

-Favorite winter accessory to one's wardrobe:  scarf

-When displeased, have you ever mumbled something in German under your breath in an English-speaking context?   No, but vice versa.  The edited version: Damn.

-Tell me an expression in German and English that means the same thing, but is expressed in two different ways:  In German, when someone is talking about you, you say your ears are ringing.  In English, we say your ears are burning or tickling.  [Dick called two colleagues in Germany and one in the States to get this answer.  Four bonus points for the extra effort!]

January 21: 4-Piece Bubbly Bowl Set

Saturday, January 21, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 5:53 PM
Given to Kyleen from Kim.
Caption on the box: "Easy Elegance for Every Lifestyle"
Rescued from the back of closet as an unused baby shower gift, these bowls are set to transform Kyleen's next card party into something truly great.

Says Kyleen: "I was such a horrible mess, clumsy, and no one liked coming to my house with the dishware I have.  It will all change now with these bowls.  I already know what's going in each of them: salsa, ranch dip, my homemade bbq dip, and M&Ms."

Look away...and don't come over
*ding* Now, I'm elegant!
-Profession: Expander of young minds

-Favorite citrus fruit:  grapefruit with a little salt on it

-How long can one say "Happy New Year" after Jan. 1?:  I think during the first full week in January, you're okay.  Then you're in this grey zone until the end of the month. Then, that's it.

-You enjoy going to Utah.  Tell me a slogan that discourages me from going there:  Don't go to Utah: We're going to run out of water.

January 20: Homemade Sparkling Wedding Wine and 3 Votive Candles

Friday, January 20, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 10:40 PM
Given to Kim from Nick.

I'm making moonshine for my wedding

It's cool that Nick made his own sparkling wine for his wedding and even cooler that he gave it to Kim as a gift.

What's not cool is that Kim and I missed the opportunity to blow off the entire workday by turning the glass candle holders into makeshift mugs and getting completely wasted.  I know Kim's not that kind of gal and neither am I, but it's nice to dream every once in a while.

Let's meet the teetotaler.

"Is that the Electric Slide I hear?"

-Profession: Higher Education

-Favorite casino game: poker

-30 seconds on the clock.  Name all words that rhyme with Kim:  dim, limb, Jim, gym, hymn, Tim

-What do you think was Nick and Robin's wedding song?:  Unforgettable by Nat King Cole

-If you had gone to the wedding, would you have danced on the tables?:  In my younger days, yes, ummm, but not now.

January 19: ALF floor puzzle, Stegosaurus kit, slap bracelet and WHAM-O ball

Thursday, January 19, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 10:49 PM
Given to Nick from Angela.
Angela was not messing around
I did a little research on ALF or, more specifically, the actor who played him, Paul Fusco.  I was surprised to discover that Fusco has played the character of ALF on six different series: ALF, ALF: The Animated Series, ALF Tales, Matlock, Blossom and Love Boat: The Next Wave.  I have one question, which I'm sure 70% of you have right now: What the hell was he doing on Matlock?   Andy Griffith should have also invited Scotty from Star Trek, Duncan MacLeod from Highlander, and Ziggy from Quantum Leap to round out his guest appearance cast.  Sheesh.

Now watches George Lopez in
a separate room
-Profession: Software engineer

-Favorite Scooby-Doo character: Scooby

-Your workplace is housed on a docked ship, which may or may not have been a pirate ship.  If you were a pirate, what would your name be?:  Gangrenous Barney Bellamy

-In the evening, does your wife look at you when you're watching Nick-at-Nite?:   No, never...at least I'm not aware she is.
Just imagine 100 of these on the interstate

-Tell me the most devious place you could use your newly-acquired bouncing ball:  There's a four-story indoor water park nearby.  That would be an excellent place.

January 18: Relaxing Kit with body butter, body scrub, sleep mask, and body pouf

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 11:17 PM
Given to Angela from Erika.

Says Angela: "I could use this every day!"
Every white elephant gift exchange blogger dreams of a day when a man will use a body pouf.  Today was not that day.

-Profession: Medical editor

-Favorite kind of rock: is basalt a rock? [yes, it's a volcanic rock]

-90's...take 'em or leave 'em?:  Take 'em!  You've got slap bracelets, grunge music, Blossom, TGIF TV, Jammin 92.3, and SNICK (Saturday Nickelodeon television)

-By trade, you write about menopause.  Do you get hot flashes as you approach deadline?:  Not yet.

-Describe what a Menopause Superhero would be like:

Available for
Halloween 2012!
Name: Wise Old Crow
Strength: Keeps status quo in the body
Weakness: Loses strength around fertility clinics
Wise Old Crow is adventurous and ready for a new phase of life.  She embraces her challenges with superhuman strength!

January 17: Electric wind chime

Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 11:26 PM
Given to Erika from Heather.
Green power ring not included
One woman's closet dust collector is another's...well...I'm not sure what Erika plans on doing with her plug-in wind chime.  It works like so: You plug it in, the electric fan beneath starts a whirrin', and then these chimes clang & bang into each other.  It's too bad Erika won't be a part of this exchange later in the year to get her mechanized screen door.

Confirms nor denies membership in
the 'Mile High' club
Profession: Master of Zen

Favorite textile: linen with a mosaic pattern

Most interesting job: I worked in HR for an Emergency Response company.  They would send me out on site to any location, but I never knew when I would return.  I wouldn't even know where I was going until right before I left.  Some people thought I worked for the FBI or CIA.

You worked for Air Traffic Control.  Do you keep the men in your life in a holding pattern?:  No, I keep them at 5,000 ft.--apart, that is.  They're all flying at the same speed--and I control the speed.

You also worked for an airline.  What were your perks?:  Of course, the alcoholic beverages.  You get one before you even take off!  You could fly for $15.  And, as an employee, if you dressed nice, they bumped you up to first class if you were on an economy pass.

January 16: Showtime Grillwave and Denim Grill Apron

Monday, January 16, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 4:46 PM
Given to Heather from Christine.

This gizmo lets you "grill" items in your microwave.  You put your hot dog, gardenburger, brat, etc, in this little guy, throw it in the microwave, and--voila!--grilled delights.  I presume the denim grill apron is included so you can cook like people "as seen outside".

FYI: We've had 4 "As Seen on TV" gifts in 2 weeks. A-mazing.

Let's meet our lovely contestant...

-Profession: Physical Therapist
-Favorite computer font: Cambria

-You're a movie buff.  If they were going to make a movie about a physical therapist, what would the plot line be?:  "Set aboard the Orient Express, Angel embarks on the journey of a lifetime.  During the ride from Istanbul to mainland China, murder erupts every evening in the dining car.  The only evidence: a blue exercise band.  Angel must quell her inner demons, avert capture, and win the heart of the train conductor in this fast-paced thriller."

 I guess it's a Made-for-TV movie
-Title of film: Oriental Deathtrap
-Angel: Helena Bonham Carter
-Conductor: Clive Owen or John Popeil

January 15: Reach Access Flosser, Assorted Toothpaste, Pin, and Republic Tequila

Sunday, January 15, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 9:00 PM
Given to Christine from Audrey.

I'm not sure if Audrey was buttering up to her dentist, but she certainly kept the agenda very focused on oral health...except for the tequila in a bottle shaped like Texas.  Perhaps she was confusing the friendly spirit with mouthwash?

Confused, yet grateful, is today's recipient--Christine!

Disappointed the gift didn't come
with x-rays
-Profession: Mother, Waitress

-Favorite kind of precipitation: mist

-Do you plan to use the tequila as an antiseptic oral cleanser?:  No, not sure if I'll use it at all.  This looks like re-gift territory.

-Since you work in the restaurant business, do you ever advertise 'specials' when you cook dinner at home?:  Hmm...well pizza from scratch...that's pretty special.

January 14: Eggies and bottle of David Stone Shiraz

Saturday, January 14, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 12:32 PM
Given to Audrey from Annie.
What an eggs-cellent gift
Have you ever seen the advertisements for people who ride to the top of those ginormous pyramid schemes and smash their alarm clocks because they'll never work another day for a boss in their life again?  Usually, it feels like you're watching instant reply from a football game because the camera captures the busted alarm clock from like six different angles.

I feel the same kinda thing's going on here with the Eggies based on the package's claim that one will "NEVER PEEL a Hard-Boiled Egg Again!"  If you've never seen Eggies, you crack open a raw egg, dump it into an egg-shaped container, then drop in hot water and cook.  Take it out and--PRESTO!--you've got a shell-less hardboiled egg.  I can see the advertisements for Eggies with people crushing the egg shells with their bare hands in repeated slow motion.  More realistically, though, is the B-rate actors sighing and shrugging and throwing the egg aside on the table because peeling off an eggshell is just tooooo difficult.

Excited at the prospect of saving her fingers and brain all that frustration is future starlet Audrey.

Renewed her copy of Rick Steves'
Budapest in the nick of time
-Profession: Actress; waitress

-Favorite way to eat an olive: marinated in brine and herbs...kalamata is my fave

-Out of 100 tables, how many ask for or leave you their number?: Maybe five.  I wait on a lot of old wealthy people and young married wealthy people and their kids.  The stats aren't in my favor.

-Tell me an order of someone that you've got stuck in your head and can't let go of:  I have a million orders in my head.  A favorite is half-sized oatmeal with blueberries, another with some grainy seeds something on top (like flax), one milk for both orders, usually the reused portion of yesterday's brown sugar they had saved, dark-and-stormy coffee, and dry rye toast.  They always left a good tip and were the staff's favorite customers.

-Let's see your acting skills.  A mustachioed villain is tying you up on some train tracks.  What do you say to get out of the situation?:  Ohh...ahhh...I forgot to return my library books!

January 13: Cool Lovin' Facial kit

Friday, January 13, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 10:18 PM
Given to Annie from Devin.
What if your skin type falls into the
"normal to rough as a callous" category?
Devin insisted that I mention he was at a crossroads between giving the facial kit or a set of Ginsu knives (tough enough to cut through a tin can and a tomato).  How he had a facial kit in the first place is beyond me.  Have fun cutting through tin cans at home, D-man.

His gift, though, landed in the right spot with Annie, who said she was going to use it this very evening. That's probably a good idea.  Use it tonight and wait.  Wait in case you have a breakout with this stuff.  MLK Day couldn't have been more timely.  Annie was also stoked about wearing the included headband featuring three of nature's finest: a carrot, cucumber and beet.

Plans to use leftover cream as
chip dip
-Profession: Alumni Relations & Fundraising
-Favorite kind of noodle: farfalle
-Blonde moment(s): Well, um, I have kind of a lot of them.
-What would a 'brunette' moment be?: Falling a lot and running into things (ouch!)
-A 'redhead moment'?: Anything where they are flying off the handle quickly...and watch out when they drink.  Uh-oh.

January 12: Going-out bag with shea butter soap, absinthe gumballs & silver sparkle hair gel

Thursday, January 12, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 10:42 PM
Given to Devin from Matt.

-Body Language Soap in "Tease" scent: certain to turn anyone's head in your direction; notice the lipstick kiss on the letter inside the envelope
-Absinthe gumballs: I had no idea what absinthe, the "green fairy" as it's called in French, was until discovering that it's a high proof (90-148) beverage that tastes like anise
-Tish & Snooky's Manic Panic Dye Hard Gel in silver sparkle: when blonde highlights just won't do

This + silver sparkle gel =
-Profession: Physical Therapist

-Favorite excuse for people not rehabbing: "I don't know about other people, but I have a high pain tolerance."

-Your name means 'bard' or 'poet' in Gaelic and 'boss man' or 'god-like' in Hindu.  Which is closer to the truth for you?:  I heard it was 'seeker of wisdom'.

-Dole some advice out: You will always fall if you don't take a stand.
I'll be in the market for a wooden leg...

-Do your patients give you their replacement hip joints as souvenirs?:  No, I don't have a mantle with them displayed.

-Do you explain all of life's struggles in ball & socket metaphors?: I use a lot of metaphors, but hardly any are work-related.  I like to paint a visual picture--like an artist--when I speak.