March 30: Cafe Ah-Roma giftcard

Friday, March 30, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 10:25 PM
Given to Tom from Taryn.

Tom wanted me to convey his gratitude to Taryn for the giftcard.  While he's bean there and done that, he's looking forward to going back to Cafe Ah-Roma.  Though quiet, Tom's been known to get into a brew ha ha from time to time and get pretty steamed, although his last encounter gave him a brewed awakening and he's vowed to take higher grounds next time he's out.  The trip to Cafe Ah-Roma will give him and his wife the chance to catch up on their favorite subject--the Pony Espresso.  Tom's wife hates it when he does his Buffalo Bill impersonation, often looking helplessly to the sky saying, "Bean me up, Scotty."

-Profession: Retired Engineer

-Favorite kind of beer: Heineken

-True or False: You own a Tom-Tom GPS.:  False.  I don't own a GPS at all.

-When you're driving, do you use maps or stop and frequently ask for directions?:  I use maps.  I'd like to think I have a pretty good sense of direction.

-Since you own a car, do you think Shania Twain remains unimpressed?:  I have a Mercury.  And I don't think she'd be too impressed by it.

March 29: RC Olmstead swag

Thursday, March 29, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 11:35 PM
Given to Taryn from Lisa.
Where's the logoed stress ball?
Quite the gift pack here...eye glass wipe, jump drive, frisbee, mug, light/laser pointer, koozie, pen and band-aid holder.  And they're all from one location--RC Olmstead--that develops software for credit unions.  The stuff you see here are the kinds of things you'd pick up at a trade show or career fair or something like it.

About a month ago, I was at a career fair.  When I go to fairs, I make it a point to talk to the people who have no business at their booth.  The goal here is two-fold: 1) attract a crowd to their area; and 2) help pass the time for the person who probably wishes they were back in his/her Ford Fusion and on their way home.

"This is way cooler than the wallet
I also find it's a great place to flex my bartering skills.  For example, I will pick up some stuff and then try to see what I can get in a trade back.  Here is one trade I made: 1 tooth stress ball, 3 Fun Size Butterfingers (no joke intended here), and a pamphlet on retirement accounts for a Jimmy John's chocolate chip cookie, 2 notepads with a study abroad program logo on top and a player to be named later.

-Profession: Non-Profit Professional

-Favorite Continent: Europe

-When you're doing really well at something, do you say you're 'tearin' it up'?: I'll say that or killin' it.  Actually, some ex-boyfriends and friends quote the N'Sync song and tell me I'm 'tearin' up their heart'.

-Your job is to promote community engagement.  Would a campfire, alcohol or obstacle course event be the best at community building?:  I'd say obstacle course because people can work in teams.  The best would be the kid's game where you have to get everyone across the alligator-infested pond.

-You have curly hair.  Why do girls with curly hair go to great lengths to straighten it?:  Maybe because it's unflattering.  I will sometimes change it up, but it's what I've got and it's easy.  I like it.

March 28: Tangrams

Posted by 366 White Elephants at 1:30 AM
Given to Lisa from Crystal.

What are tangrams?  Tangrams are dissection puzzles featuring seven flat shapes (parallelogram, square, 2 small right triangles, 2 large right triangles, and a medium right triangle) called tans which are put together to form shapes.  Sounds like it could be fun, right?

To me, it sounds like Lisa could make a lot of money on eBay with these.  You know the occasional story of someone on eBay selling a bowl of cream of wheat that looks like Vladimir Putin's left earlobe or some smeared jelly on toast that bears an uncanny resemblance to Julia Louis-Dreyfus frowning?  While not quite as sexy as food that resembles celebrities or political figures, Lisa could arrange the seven shapes to form one.  I'd personally enjoy seeing NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell looking like he was goosed.  My starting bid: $4.25.

Still has not figured out the collate
-Profession: Office Administrator

-Favorite copier function: Scanning

-L.I.S.A. is an acronym for what professional association?:  Lyrics in Society Association?  [Life Insurance Settlement Association]

-What's the best gift you've received on Administrative Professionals Day?:  A day off

-Apple Lisa is a:
A) type of fruit
B) computer invented by MacIntosh
C) predecessor to Mona Lisa

I think it's B.  [Correct!]

March 27: Nesting Doll Measuring Cup Set and Waterproof Notebook

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 10:14 PM
Given to Crystal from Michal.

The gifts are pretty sweet!  I'm fascinated by the waterproof notepad.  The product description of a similar kind of pad on Amazon says "it's always been a challenge to remember shower ideas, and writing in water is a struggle".  Last I checked, my showers were between 5-10 minutes and I'm usually more concerned with not drinking too much shower water and fending off the subsequent burping than I am with making sure I'm capturing the next great American novel while belting out some Billy Joel.  Oh, was that too much for you?  I've also never had to struggle with writing in water either.  The closest I ever came to that was grabbing this girl Jennifer's number near a friend's pool during my sophomore year in high school.  Conditions, however, proved favorable for date making and number writing.

-Profession: VIP Donor Programs Creator

-Favorite type of crystal: Antique German-leaded

-Do you prefer looking at a salt or sugar crystal?:  Sugar

-If you're having a formal dance at your house, what would you call it?:  Hoppy Rock Ball?  [We were looking for "Crystal's Ball"]

-What % off would you receive from a drug dealer if you wanted to buy crystal meth?:  I would say around 20% off.

March 26: Miniature Astronaut Figurine and Homemade Cloth Coin Purse

Posted by 366 White Elephants at 12:20 AM
Given to Michal from Rachel.

The photo makes them look about 400% bigger than they actually are, but the astronaut and coin purse are very small and would fit easily into most anyone's palm.  When paired together as one combined gift, they remind me of the talismans that the characters in Inception used to know if they were in a dream state or reality.  If they were in reality, a top (in the case of Leo DiCaprio's character) would stop spinning; if in dream land, it would spin like Uncle Kraker's record on a Sunday night.

If using this astronaut piece as my sanity guide, I would know I'm in reality if everyone around me is throwing back some Tang--the drink that took off in sales after use John Glenn's Mercury flight.  If I'm in a dream-like state, I think the astronaut would still be dissolving Tang with water and stirring into oblivion.  Agreed?

-Profession: Student

-Favorite video game: Portal

-Your nickname is 'Mickey'.  How many minds have you blown?:  A few hundred.

-Does college campus security seem as menacing as the police are at home?:  Yeah, they're around a lot more.  But I've never talked with them, though.

-When you see a prospective college student coming to campus (and current high school senior), you think they look _________.:  Lost

March 25: Hotel Zico water bottle and Assorted Toiletries

Monday, March 26, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 1:04 AM
Given to Rachel from Tushar.

Hotel Zico is a Mediterranean-themed hotel in Mountain View, California that serves a fine breakfast spread.  They have a friendly service staff, including our friend Tushar, and the rooms were comfortable.  However, two things were not quite as nice: the wall behind the check-in counter (an undulating 3-D wave pattern which I did not take a picture of because it made me dizzy) and their tweezer supply.

Let me back the story up to when I was on the plane and on my way to San Jose.  I rubbed my face in the manner that most people do when they're tired.  My index finger brushed past my eyebrow line and I felt what seemed like six hairs combined into one coarse son-of-a-gun.  Once noticed, I knew it was going to drive me batty.  After checking in (eyes looking down the entire time), I went back to the desk and asked if they had a pair of tweezers in their first-aid kit, again eyes averted.  They handed me a pair of blue plastic good-for-nothings, which couldn't have plucked this sandpaper hair under any condition, let alone an actual sliver if someone was in real need.  I resorted to a trip down to Walgreens the following day, snatching up a $3.99 Revlon magic plucker and moved on with the rest of my day.

-Profession: Freelance writer

-Favorite Starburst flavor: I like the pink and orange ones mixed together.  I smoosh them into one and that's the perfect flavor.

-If you're using a Bic four-colored pen of black, blue, green and red inks, which is your go-to ink?:  Blue

-You live in a community with five other people.  Are there at least two things you'd want to do alone?:  Pee and cry.

-I just had a fabulous vegan meal at Cafe Gratitude where their question of the day was 'Who inspires you?'.  So, who inspires you?:  My friends who I live with.

March 24: Avant-Garde DVD set

Saturday, March 24, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 1:46 PM
Given to Tushar from Jay.

Let's get a basic definition of 'avant-garde' out of way: it's a term that refers to works that are innovative or experimental in the areas of art, politics and culture.

Over the last day I educated myself on some of the avant-guard movements.  Now, you may be at a dinner party and some of these terms come up, so listed below are a few examples and their definitions so you don't wind up empty-handed and can jump in the conversation with some knowledge.

-Angry Penguins: The working title has been Happy Feet 3, but was changed when Christopher Nolan took over the franchise.  Look for the premiere sometime in August 2014.
-Cinema pur: Metro Goldwyn Mayer for years has been pressured to remove its trademark lion from their logo.  The company finally does so and replaces it with a Devon Rex variety of cat.
-Epic theater: the 2012 Republican candidates for President
-Neoism: a cult of Keanu Reeves followers; The Matrix: Reloaded is looped 24 hours a day
-Prakalpana Movement: Occupy Wall Street needed a makeover in their branding; this one seemed to fit

-Profession: Hotel General Manager

-Favorite card game: King's Cup

-% of people who steal towels?: About 15%

-What's your reason why people steal them?:  Maybe they need them.  But hotels won't charge because they want the repeat business and it turns out to be more of a hassle.

-You're the ninth bearded gift exchanger.  Are you jolly?:  I am jolly, but I'm shaving the beard off tomorrow.  And I will still be jolly tomorrow without the beard.

March 23: Tiger Themed Candle Display

Friday, March 23, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 3:06 PM
Given to Jay from Wally.
Nothing says "I want you to be happy"
more than this gift
Wally won this as a door prize at some raffle/benefit dinner a few weeks ago and, in proper fashion, put this up on the gift exchange block.  It's sort of a cross between a Busch Gardens and Skymall gift, but the sum is not greater than the parts in this case.

You may remember my interesting encounter with Tom and the staff at the restaurant back on January 25.  Well, Jay is a cook at that restaurant who was looking at me with stink eye until he knew my mischievous intentions.  Here we are two months later and he's coming away with a tiger candle.  Now that's a win-win for everyone.

Beard would give aerodynamic
edge to Bolt
-Profession: Cook, Musician

-Favorite Shape of Blown Smoke: Thin Stream

-What's a title for an indie rock album about cooking?:  I Eat Standing Up

-You're in a 100 meter race with Usain Bolt.  You have an 85 m head start.   Who wins?:  I do.  But if you pushed it back to 80, I think it would be close.

-You're our eighth bearded gift exchanger.  Are you jolly?:  I am in fact jolly.

March 22: Star Wars comics book and Annakin Skywalker Trivial Pursuit figurine

Posted by 366 White Elephants at 2:30 AM
Given to Wally from Geoff.

It's certainly way after the fact, but I feel a need to weigh in on the Ole Miss mascot controversy.  Back a couple of years ago, Ole Miss cast a popular vote to replace its outdated symbol of a Confederate rebel with a new symbol.  One of the choices that was brought to light was Admiral Ackbar, leader of the Rebel Alliance in Star Wars.  Ultimately, the university thought the suggestion a joke, but I think it had a lot of merit...and it would have grown the Ole Miss fan base by a million fold, given the popularity of the sci-fi franchise.

Hokey religions and ancient weapons
are no match for a good blaster
at your side, kid.
-Profession: Priest

-Favorite hymn: Amazing Grace

-What's the oddest thing you've had to bless?: Someone once brought me a goat.  That was interesting.

-Much like a tuxedo t-shirt, do they make collared priest t-shirts?:  Yes, and I used to wear one.

-If Hershey's were to make a candybar that was priest-themed, what would it be like?:  It would be dark chocolate and white chocolate.  Keep it plain and simple.

March 21: Guitar Hero II and III, Glow-in-the-Dark Star Kit and Post Secret book

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 12:53 PM
Given to Geoff from Faith.

I struggle when I run into people named Jeff who spell their name Geoff.  No matter how hard I train my brain, my first inclination is to call that person Gee-Off.  I guess the equivalent for me would be someone named Dan spelling their name Jdanj--the j's both remaining silent.  It didn't help matters when I heard someone who knows Geoff call him Joffles.  Now this poor chap Geoff, who really probably would like to mind his own business, is now known as Joffles by two people on the planet, who are just plain confused.

"Did you just call me Joffles...again?"
-Profession: Student

-Favorite hair styling product:  Blue Hair Gel

-A 'geoffery' is a slang term for a joint laced with hard drugs.  Have there been any hard drugs you wanted to try?:  Well no.  I drink a lot of fruit punch and that has bad consequences for me, which I don't want to get into.

-Is college really the best time of your life?:  Yes, certainly these have been the two best years so far.  There's so much going on that's all very different.

-Geoffery the Giraffe is the Toys-R-Us Mascot.  Is there a toy from that store that you never got?:  That's the most common thing people say to me when they meet me is that they know Geoffery the Giraffe.  'I'm not a giraffe', I tell them.  I never had a gameboy, sadly.

March 20: 1970s Chromed-Plated Serving Tray and a Shin-Soo Choo Bobblehead Doll

Posted by 366 White Elephants at 1:17 AM
Given to Faith from Ken.

I stumbled upon a rare time capsule--one that gives modern-day sociologists an insight into the dating practices of people in the 1970s.  If you take a closer look at the box that the chrome-plated serving tray came in, you'll see a demure-looking woman with a sprawling set of other chrome-plated objects, such as a butter dish and candlestick holders, that seem to float in mid-air at knee height.  Shift your focus to the left side of the box where you have four pictures: a round serving tray; a handle tray; a two-tier tray (like this one); and a three-tier tray.

Much like the 3-star Michelin system that the French use for grading restaurants, men would evaluate their prospects by giving them one of the four chrome pieces.  A 'three-tier tray' meant the woman was all that and a bag of potato chips, while a simple 'handle tray' meant that she was the gender equivalent of a jeep.  A simple 'round serving tray'--the lowest of the four grades (and no rating)--was given only in the direst of circumstances and for people who managed aquariums for a living.

-Profession: Receptionist

-Favorite decade: The 90s

-If you're feeling a bit under the weather, does Hope fill in for you?:  She should!  I just try to push through it...(sigh).

-You carry around 'gamer dice', which are normally used in role playing video games.  A real-life instance where you've used them?:  If I don't know what I want on the dollar menu at drive thru's, I roll out my 10-sided di.  I do dares with them, too.  Like if it's over or under a certain percentage.  Then you might have to drink Mountain Dew.

-Speaking of role play, does a fantasy game ever carry over into real life?:  Sometimes I'll be so into it and tell my roommate or whoever and they just look back at you like "what is going on with you?  You know you're just pretending, right?"

March 19: $20 Barnes & Noble Giftcard

Monday, March 19, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 10:46 PM
Given to Ken from Chris.

I loved Ken's comment when I presented his Barnes & Noble gift card: "This isn't the one that closed, is it?"

"Midge makes delicious green bean
casserole," says Ken.
-Profession: Food and Beverage Management

-Favorite kind of paper towel:  Bounty

-Is your underwear permanently molded to your body?:  No.  That's not the case.

-You worked for Wolfgang Puck in Las Vegas.  Did he greet you in German?:  No, he didn't greet me in German, but he swore in German a lot.

-You also worked for Subway.  Rumors are persisting that Jared has been reassigned to the mail room.  Do you know anything about this?:  Not true.  He's a nice guy.  Speaking of rumors, there were these rumors in the media that he gained a lot of weight.  I saw him like a week later and he looked great.

March 18: The Big-Ass Book of Crafts and a Bike Navigator Bell

Sunday, March 18, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 10:59 PM
Given to Chris from Molly.
The Little-Ass Book of Crafts has 40% less craft projects
"What am I going to do with this?" asks Chris upon receiving his gift.  He thumbs through the pages, shakes his head, then grunts.  I had perused the book prior to giving it to Chris and I thought the same thing.  Do I have the time/patience to make my own stationary? [side note: I just scent my letters with some Axe body spray.]

The book advertises that it's for any "mood, budget and skill level".  Skill level-check.  Budget-check.  Mood--what does that mean?  I'm feeling high as a kite!  Let me make a patterned tablecloth!  I'm feeling depressed and anti-social.  I guess it's time for me to make a gothic chime.

What if you did the ultimate craft project and got some of those fancy patterned scissors and cut a pattern on the perimeter, then cut a pattern into the binding?  Open it up and--tada!--you've got a snowflake book!

-Profession: Small Business Owner

-Favorite Dairy Queen treat: Reese's Pieces Blizzard

-How many tropical storms bear your name?: 2?  [There are 5]

-When you're doing a "criss-cross applesauce", what are you doing?:  Playing with my mom's homemade applesauce on my plate.  [Answer: Sitting in a lotus position]

-You have a special connection to frogs?:  The town I grew up in is the frog jumping capital of the state. My grandmother always held the contest on her estate.  All these senators and business people would come every year.

March 17: Luck O' The Irish Hot Sauce, Beer soap, and Dill Pickle Popcorn

Saturday, March 17, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 7:24 PM
Given to Molly from Tiffani.

Most people remember where they were on transformative historical days--fall of the Berlin Wall, landing on the moon, the election of Barack Obama.  One of today's gifts--the hot sauce--takes me back to November 12, a day that has been burned into memory and historical unimportance.

I was in college and my cross country teammates and I were enjoying a post-practice meal.  One of the freshman runners--Hank (whose last name shall remain omitted for his own protection)--declared to the table that he was going to drink a whole 5 fl. oz bottle of McIlhenny's tabasco sauce like a shot.  Well, he did it and...I don't think he was able to lay down for at least a week.

Whenever I see a bottle of hot sauce, I think of November 12 and the poor custodial workers.

-Profession: Cook, Urban Farmer

-Favorite Spring Vegetable: Dandelion Greens

-Molly Mormon is a stereotypical name for a female member of the Church or Latter Day Saints.  There are two companies, Molly Gear and Shameless Humor, who make items specifically geared toward Molly Mormons.  What do you think they make?:  Molly Gear--orthopedic shoes and support stockings. Shameless Humor--curtains.

-Have you ever experimented with food and have a dish completely flop?:  I tried to make a lemon sauce with onions.  It was not very good.

-Can you come up with at least five dishes using some or all of the following: sugar, eggs, flour, water, oil, lemons, mustard, asparagus?:
-1) quiche; 2) pretzels with a nice mustard dipping sauce; 3) crostini; 4) steamed asparagus with lemon sauce; and 5) crackers

March 16: Italian-made Ceramic Bowl

Friday, March 16, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 11:03 PM
Given to Tiffani from Rosann.
It's not Tiffany, but she likes ceramic
Tiffani was thrilled with her Italian-made ceramic bowl because of some domestic trouble she's having.  Her boyfriend, she says, fills the bowls and baskets around their apartment with other items that belong to him.  For example, her bread basket contains his apple supply.

Tiffani's problem got me thinking about bread bowls.  Is a bread bowl not the perfect system for holding food?  Eat your soup or salad in the bowl fashioned out of bread, then eat the bowl, and you have nothing left.  Nothing to clean.  Nothing to store.

My unsolicited advice to Tiffani and any of you reading that if you have a significant other who stores his/her food in your bowls is this:   Have a garage sale and sell all your bowls.  Make some coin and use that money throughout the year to buy flour so you can make bread bowls.  Then offer to store kiwis, trail mix, holy water, and whatever else your significant other has that needs holding.

Bowls, not life, have come between
her and her boyfriend
-Profession: Graduate Student

-Favorite kind of Kool-Aid: Strawberry Kiwi...and now I want some!

-When you get into minor arguments with friends of yours, what do you call those disagreements?: Tiffs

-Your initials are TBA.  When you host a party or tell someone when you're coming over, do you say TBA just to mess with them?:  Oh yes, I mess with people.  I worked in a doctor's office and had to initial stuff and put mine on a document once.  This woman just went off and asked, "What is going on here?"

-What do people eat for breakfast at your home?:  I make a mean French Toast.  And we'll have Bloody Mary's.

March 15: Homer Simpson Trivia Game

Posted by 366 White Elephants at 7:44 AM
Given to Rosann from Beth.

This Homer Simpson game looks like it'd be fun and all, except for the two people who posted reviews on that said it was "tough" and "hard".  Obviously, those people aren't getting a Jeopardy try-out any time soon.  While on Amazon, I perused other TV show-turned-board games and found that there was a smattering of them for nearly every flavor of show--from Grey's Anatomy to How I Met Your Mother.  If you wanted a TV game that was really tough and hard, Hasbro should make one for Walker, Texas Ranger.  Instead of collector tin, the game would come in a makeshift wooden casket.  And instead of having a mini poster included, I'd think they should put in a Chuck Norris strap on beard.  Then no one would mess with you.

-Profession: City Economic Development Director

-Favorite Time Zone: The one I'm in!

-In your position as City Economic Development Director, have you considered having a city-wide cactus sale to raise dollars?:  No.

-Tell me at least one thing you have in common with Homer:  I never watched the show!  But I like donuts.

-Today is March 15, the Ides of March.  Have you noticed the Mayor acting a little more paranoid that usual?:  I haven't seen him.  Hmm...

March 14: Asian desktop pen holder

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 10:08 PM
Given to Beth from Claudio.

The ghosts of gift exchange past and future reared their ugly heads this evening.  A transcription of their comments:

-Distant past: Claudio: "This is lovely and really unique gift.  I will treasure it forever."
-Recent past: Claudio, on March 13: "This thing was sitting in my office for two years."

-More recent past: Beth, on March 14: "This will go great with everything else in my office.  Let me fill it with pens!"
-Distant future: Beth: "This thing has been sitting in my office for two years."

Pat Sajak gives "limp fish" handshakes
-Profession: Den mother to college students

-Favorite ambient temperature: 78 degrees Fahrenheit

-As a former Deadhead, do you reminisce when you eat Cherry Garcia ice cream?:  I love it, but I don't get sentimental over it.

-You were once a contestant on Wheel of Fortune.  Did the wheel give you motion sickness?:  No, but it's a lot heavier than I thought.  I didn't get to solve any puzzles either.  I remember being seven months pregnant and they made me stand on several boxes.  I looked like a gargantuan next to the others.

-Kazoos have a special meaning for you?:  I used to play my kazoo at my son's baseball games.  We would go to Eden, NY to the American Kazoo Museum.  It was great.  And right next to the Jell-O museum.

March 13: Green Day shot glass, Applebee's Brewtus Pilsner glass, and Irish felt hat

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 11:14 PM
Given to Claudio from Ron.
Doesn't this look more like an Irish pilgrim hat?
What does a man who has everything need?  Apparently, he needs this St. Patrick's Day assortment--shot glass of the band Green Day, a beer glass from Applebee's, and a felt Irish hat.  The shot glass, I'm told by Ron, had been around for a coon's age, and the Brewtus beer glass was a stolen item that also was housing a dust colony.  The felt Irish hat hit on Claudio's fun side.  "I used to dress up for Halloween and get really into it.  One year, I was a Werewolf and another Dracula--and I mean I was dressed up.  I gave a few people heart attacks."  I can visualize that.  However, I'm having difficulty imagining the transition from off-the-boat Italian to heel-clappin' Irishman.

"You tap your toe and then your heel..."
-Profession: Hospitality

-Favorite midnight snack:  Peanut butter and apples

-What's one misperception Americans have about Italians?:  That all Italians are part of the mafia...hey, look at that goomba.

-Do native Italians refer to their country as "the boot"?:  Never.  They never do.

-Do you think Italians should have their own holiday where people get kissed and drink a lot of beer?:  No, I think it's perfectly fine that the Irish have their own holiday.  We can celebrate Columbus Day I suppose.

March 12: Keb' Mo' "Just Like Me" CD

Monday, March 12, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 11:58 PM
Given to Ron from Pam.

Each of the songs on this cool Keb' Mo' album harken back to past relationships with women.  Allow me to explain.

1) That's Not Love:  tipsy make-out in college with a girl named...Julie? "That's Lust"
2) Perpetual Blues Machine:  where do I begin?  This is like Santa's Christmas list.
3) More Than One Way Home:  to home plate that is...
4) I'm On Your Side:  that's Beth.  I agreed with her parents that she shouldn't get a tattoo, but, at her request, took her to the parlor for "support".
5) Just Like You:  I haven't met my 6'5", 200 lb. counterpart yet.
6) You Can Love Yourself:  I don't want to go there.
7) Dangerous Mood: Michele, Stephanie, and Haley.  Don't change the channel when Sportscenter is on.
8) The Action:  Mary Beth.  All day, girl.
9) Hand It Over:  Notes between me and Kate turned into our sixth grade teacher.
10) Standin' at the Station:  Michele.  We're at Penn Station getting some subs and chips.  AWK-WARD.
11) Momma, Where's My Daddy?:  Jackie--my high school honey.  It was a literal question to her when we snuck underneath the football bleachers.
12) Last Fair Deal Gone Down: Don't ever try being friends immediately after breaking up.  See #2.
13) Lullaby Baby Blues: I sang Katy to sleep on the phone to Snoop Dogg's Gangsta Ride.

-Profession: Bartender/Nursing student/Volleyball Coach

-Favorite U.S. State Quarter: Florida

-'Kills' in volleyball sound so morbid.  Can you come up with something that doesn't sound so morbid?:  Maybe call them 'Smurf berries'.

-Do female bartenders hands down make more money than male bartenders?:  It obviously depends on where you are, but where I work everyone's an equal opportunity tipper.

-You collect coins.  Are the infomercials selling dug up Confederate silver coins for real or what?:  I think it's hogwash.  I've been down South and they have some stuff like that, but it's not polished or anything.  We have sometimes bought the coins that feature a newly-elected President, but that's just a trinket kind of thing.

March 11: Handcrafted Polish Beer Stein

Sunday, March 11, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 9:41 PM
Given to Pam from Adam.

This is a pretty awesome story.  On February 1, I'm going into a bar where I'm meeting Lauren for her gift exchange.  As I enter with gift bag in hand, this guy at the bar (Adam) snarkily asked me if I brought him his birthday present.  I reply that I didn't that evening, but could in the future.  We get to talking, I tell him about the blog, and Adam ultimately signs up to do the exchange yesterday on March 10.

March 10 is an important day to Adam.  His father, a former police officer, died a couple of years ago on that date and he wanted to honor his father's passing by doing this exchange.  Adam gave me a beer stein that was given to his dad in 1983 by a police sergeant on his 30th birthday.  This police sergeant's brother-in-law was from Krakow, Poland.  The stein is home blown glass and the leather koozie is also homemade as well.

It's a unique, thoughtful gift that Pam absolutely loved.  And later in May, Adam invited Pam to come over for his birthday party where he'll have some home-brewed beer to fill her mug with!

Luggage tags are conversation
starters for her and her co-workers
-Profession:  Airline Employee

-Favorite hand soap:  Bath & Body Works Coconut Ginger

-Is Pam cooking spray and oil the official cooking oil in your household?:  No, but I've used it.

-Any advice on how a person should handle their luggage?:  Don't ever, ever put your bag on your bed or couch or anyplace you'd like to sit or lay on. is a site for what?:  Something with women against men. [It is actually the site of the Portland Art Museum]

March 10: Plastic Hear-No-Evil Frog

Posted by 366 White Elephants at 1:21 AM
Given to Adam from Dawn.

The frog in the Speak/Hear/See No Evil triumvirate that has it the worst has gotta be the 'Speak No Evil' one.  It would be a real drag to get some chow time in.  His friends would have to collect flying bugs and put them in a jar so the Speak Frog could quickly snatch a lick-and-go insect.  Aside from the eating, I suppose the one inherent benefit of being a frog that Speaks No Evil is that frogs and other amphibians breathe through their skin.  If you're keeping track at home, that's a check for 'no asphyxiation' by covering your mouth.

-Profession: Marketing/Operations

-Favorite kind of apple: Winesap

-Do you have a hard time being and staying clothed?:  No. I'm comfortable being clothed.  But I'm also very comfortable unclothed.

-Do you feel cheated that you can't use the phrase, "You don't know me from Adam"?:  No, I'm happy being Adam.  And I wouldn't want it to be anyone else.

-Your nickname is 'Topper'.  What's the topper on being on a date with Topper?:  Not really sure.  The girls I go out with think I'm a charming, cordial asshole.

March 9: Mini De-stressing Sandbox, Travel-sized Listerine, Bottle of Bubbles, Notepad and Yelp! pen

Friday, March 9, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 11:09 PM
Given to Dawn from Kaitlin.
Can you make bubbles with Listerine?
Sandbox de-stress kits, in theory, are a good idea.  They fit easily on a person's desk and the intention behind them is great: lower a person's stress levels.  However, of the people I've known who keep them on their desk, they don't use them.  They just sit there on the edge of the desk--the New Age version of yesteryear's paperweight.

Speaking of paperweights, I never understood those either.  How many people have 5 mile per hour winds in their office and need to keep the papers in place so they don't blow all around?  People still give them with their company logos on them and they just collect dust.  I say, save the glass and mold it into a beer stein so I can fill it up with foamy delights and can hit the tap again and again.  That'll relieve my stress and it's probably not a bad way to relieve other peoples' stresses, too.

Can't grow old together with a zombie
-Profession: Patient Representative

-Favorite kind of appointment to schedule:  Pediatric speech appointments

-Kaitlin had to give up the sandbox because she had a cat and cats used the sand as their litterbox.  She wanted me to ask you if you are a cat lady.:  I had 2 cats before I moved into my new apartment; my girlfriend has them now.

-Kaitlin also wanted me to ask you if you'll turn into a lady with 20 cats.:  I would love to have a lot of cats.  I just need someone to clean all the litter boxes.

-If you existed in a Dawn of the Living Dead world, what would be the thing you would miss the most?: Going out and not looking over my shoulder.  And probably companionship, too.  I wouldn't want to spend time with a zombie.

March 8: Sepia-toned picture of an Amish buggy

Thursday, March 8, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 11:13 PM
Given to Kaitlin from Sally.
2007 Yoder SLX 30 Series of buggy
Kaitlin's pretty sweet to me.  You know, asks how my day's going, what's new, things like that.  She also checks in to make sure I'm bathing on a consistent basis.  Without getting into my immediate and extended family's bi-annual, communal six-month bath, there is a reason why she asks.   A short while ago, I celebrated my one-year anniversary with my current day job.  I got temporary superhero tattoos and had all of my co-workers wear them on their left forearms.  I wore one of Justice League super villain Darkseid.

One of my co-workers must have scrubbed hers down in the shower the subsequent night because all that remained were a few flecks of Lex Luthor's head.  Mine remained mostly in tact and got Kaitlin to wonder whether I was showering on a regular enough basis.  As I write now, I still have some Darkseid remaining two weeks later.

What Kaitlin, my cleanly co-worker and I concluded was that I'm a decent (for scent) shower-er, but fairly lax as a scrubber-er.

Seductive one prefers shag
-Profession: Food writer; Seductive Sagista (seductive, wise barista)

-Favorite kind of carpet: I don't like carpet.  But I do like the braided, woven rugs or I like the rugs I crochet myself.

-What kinds of things do you notice when you go into a competitor's coffee shop?:  The sound of their milk steaming.  I know when the milk's going to be burnt.

-Is there any kind of food you will not eat and write about?:  I'm not picky.  I just had a steak, which made my mom tear up.  She's been trying to get me to do that for ages.

-How often do you spray down your bathroom tiles with tub-n-tile cleaner?:  They get a good scrub-down about once a month.

March 7: Folding Metal Picture Stand

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 11:46 PM
Given to Sally from Kate.
Finding a photo is going to be a real pane
in the glass
"I've been framed" is an expression freshly-arrested rapscallions use to proclaim their innocence to the media.  It can also be used as a way small craft and picture framing shops can appear to be clever.  Either way, it's probably not something you want to be caught saying out in public under any circumstance.

With one exception.  Did you ever make those frames consisting of various shapes of dried macaroni?  I think they soften any harshness, round out any sharp corners, and add a little bit of levity to the grump, in-law and neurotic dictator that you may have framed on your desk, respectively.  If you happen to be any of the aforementioned characters, I'd say it proudly.

Penne for your thoughts?
-Profession: Retired Jack-of-all-Trades

-Favorite kind of window cleaner: White vinegar with, my window cleaning company

-Do you own any Sally Beauty Supply products?:  Yes, I use their combs.

-You led a Rotary chapter.  What cause would Rotary least be likely to support?:  Anything supporting politicians or elections.

-There were consequences if you missed a certain number of Rotary meetings.  What would you have liked to see installed as a penalty?:  Probably nothing that's legal.