September 30: Frozen Margarita Drink Mix, Key West Shot Glass and Two Decorative Plastic Cups

Sunday, September 30, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 11:11 PM
Given to Tracy from Mandy.
On the Border margarita mix: thirst-queshing for every coyote
If you've ever ordered a bagel from Panera Bread, you know that the inevitable question you'll be asked is, "Would you like your bagel sliced and toasted?"  This morning, I stopped in to get a bagel for breakfast and before the high school-aged baker's assistant could get it out, I said, "I would like my bagel sliced and toasted, thank you."  I really wasn't trying to do their job, but really trying to save them and their speaking longevity.

About a month ago, I was frequenting a Panera Bread and asked a worker how often they say this during the course of a shift.  This person told me they say it so much, they don't even think about it.  They admitted, though, that it was a lot of times to the point of mind-numbingness.  You multiply a lot of times during a shift by 4-5 shifts per weeks and that's a boatload of slicing and toasting.  Do your local Panera worker a favor and say it before they get the chance.  They might not thank you then and there, but when they're 75 and their voice is still going strong and their mental acuity is in tip-top shape, they'll know what a boon you were to them in their impressionable youth.

Kids in Brussels, Belgium also eat
less brussel spouts than the national
average only because they think
it's funny
Tracy
-Profession: Vocal Teacher

-Favorite color of a leaf: Bright Red

-You enjoy traveling in your camper.  What makes it a happy one?: Having my family in it and going to beautiful destinations.

-As a child, you played the clarinet.  From your experience, have you found that the squeaky reed gets the moisture?:  No, because my very loud clarinet playing didn't earn me lauds in band.

-Do you think people in Lima, OH eat more, less, or the same amount of lima beans as the average American?:  Less, just to be rebellious.

September 29: One and a Half Year Old Bar of Soap, Red Cross Gift Set, and Chinese Purse

Posted by 366 White Elephants at 12:32 AM
Given to Mandy from Jenny.

I love a story about a well-travled bar of soap, don't you?  Jenny got this bar at a Bostonian wedding in March 2011.  Despite her not wanting to use it, the soap accompanied her on her move to Virginia, then to Ohio.  Now it ends up in the hands of Mandy, who I hope just keeps it around in her closet and moves with her if she ever decides to move.  The weird thing about it is that it doesn't look like soap, but like a slice of a caramel-colored biscuit with a sweet gummy treat in the middle of it.  Why even bother?  They should make soap looks like chisels or a can of varnish remover so you know it's giving your skin a good scrubbin'.

But really, is a year and a half that long a period of time?  You know what's coming and I'm going to say...NO!  I went estate sale-ing earlier this summer and they were selling old soaps at this one house.  Think Holiday Inn from 1973 or The Palisades Inn from 1958!  I'm not embellishing in any way here.  They had this massive collection of hotel and motel soaps they collected over the years.  I passed.

Barry Manilow wouldn't have her
any other way
Mandy
-Profession: Communications Coordinator

-Favorite Dinosaur: Saurolophus

-Where did you come from, what did you give, and what didn't you take?:  I came from a metropolitan suburb, I gave smiles, and I couldn't take any chocolate.

-"Mandy" was a comic book that dealt with many story themes, including which of the following?:
[A] The love quarrels between Pierre and Marie Curie.
[B] Girls pretending to be disabled in order to take advantage of people.
[C] How to build a nuclear shelter.
[D] Combing your boyfriend's hair.

I would say [B].  [Correct!]  That is a dramatic comic book!

-What would you say are the benefits of having nearly identical arm and leg length?:  Reaching things off tall shelves and Turkish belly dancing.  I remember when I went gym in grade school, our shorts had to go down to the tips of our fingers and mine went down to my knees.  I couldn't find shorts that were that long and I got sent home a couple of days.  Or my mom would have to bring up replacement pants.

September 28: Silver Watch Pendant

Friday, September 28, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 12:31 PM
Given to Jenny from Carrie.

Part V: Toilet Freshness
Today's the last day of the five part miniseries centered around toilets.  During my time with Jenny, we talked about various things, including discovering fun facts about ourselves.  I found out, for instance, that Jenny is against taking baths because sitting in her own pool of filth is not appealing for some reason.  And given this week's focus on toilets, I'll leave you with one fun fact about me and toilets:  I like dissolving the round blue or pink air freshening discs with my urine stream.  When I'm doing my business, I gotta say that the bathroom smells a lot fresher.

Stephen Hawking was really
laughing at a good 'Yo Mama' joke
Jenny
-Profession: Medical Research

-Favorite snack to eat after giving blood: Soft oatmeal raisin cookies

-If a Dane eats a Danish, is that a form of cannibalism?:  No...I'd call it auto-consumption.  But I bet they call danishes "Turkishes" in Denmark.

-Stephen Hawking once smiled at you.  What do you think he was thinking when he smiled?:  He was probably wondering what those babies were doing at his talk.  I was only 18 when I saw him.

-You're averse to taking baths.  Because of this, do you think you'd lobby Bath & Bodyworks to change their name to just 'Bodyworks'?:  I could go for that.  I like activist causes.  And there's about a 20% chance it's something I would do.

September 27: Backpack

Thursday, September 27, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 11:20 PM
Given to Carrie from Phil.
We all scream for ice cream!...errrr...GE
Part IV: Toilet Protocol
We're day four into this five part toilet mini-series and today I have one burning question for you.  And before you answer in your head, no, the answer is not Tucks.  The question is, "Are you supposed to wash your hands before you do your business as well as after?"  I would have never thought about this question, but two experiences are at play here.

1) If I have a cold or I'm at the gym and need to blow my nose, I'll generally sanitize my hands, blow my nose, then sanitize after.  This seems to make a ton of sense.
2) My friend Sheri told me she would tear off the first few squares of t.p. because she said peoples' "poop hands" touched the last one.  This thought is now memory burned and your comment--the gift that will keep on giving until I croak--will forever affect me.  Thanks.

I also don't know if washing and sanitizing is over-kill or if I should just do one or the other when I'm finished.  Based on the work bathroom, the hand "dryer" sort of discourages hand washing.  But the Purell they dispense doesn't come with a moisturizing component.  It's a real dilemma.

Kangaroos have no choice about
where they wear their pouch
Carrie
-Profession: Retail Management

-Favorite shopping list item: Pineapple

-Since you work in the food business, has anyone ever offered you food from their tray?: No, that never happens.
-Have you wanted to eat anyone's food?:  Yeah, the salads.  They are lookin' good--the ones people are making.  I'd like to eat them.

-What advantages does a backpack have over a fanny pack?:  It's definitely more stylish...I wouldn't want to wear a pouch.  It's bigger and can hold more stuff.  And it probably has more compartments.

-Carry & Conceal: Gun Laws.  Carrie & Conceal: My shyness.

September 26: "Simple Sewing" Book, Reusable Tote Bag, "Recycle" Bumper Sticker, and Small Bottle of Hand Sanitizer

Posted by 366 White Elephants at 12:19 AM
Given to Phil from Elena.

Part III: Handblower Nonsense
I'm not sure if you've kept up with my battles with the work toilets that I chronicled in parts I and II.  I turn my attention today to the hand dryer in the work bathroom.

Let's go over some basic definitions first.
wet- something that has moisture
dry- something that lacks wetness or moisture

Therefore, a dryer would remove wetness from a person's hands.  The dryer at work generates no discernible amount of heat and basically just pushes the water from your hands and onto the tile underneath its discharge vent.  I've held my hands underneath the "dryer" for as long as three minutes and there was no temperature change.  There's a bright blue light that illuminates your hands as you do it, which I guess is a bonus.  You leave the bathroom with clammy hands and not feeling confident at all that your hands are clean.  It's really easier just to spritz your hands with some Purell or simply hold it until you get home later that afternoon.

Phil
-Profession: Electrical Engineer

-Favorite football position: Offensive Tackle

-Dr. Phil said which of the following?:
[A] Your rose-colored glasses could use a cleaning!
[B] I've seen jellyfish get out of a relationship faster than you!
[C] You're acting like bananas on a pb on rye!
[D] Don't make me put your head in my blender!

I'd say it's probably [A].  [Actually, it's D]

-If someone fanatically liked the way you lied, what would they be called?:  Gullible?  [How about Phil-lie Fanatic]

-Phil Niekro was a Hall of Fame knuckleball pitcher.  What did one player say hitting his knuckeball was like?:
[A] eating soup with a fork
[B] playing Jenga with your elbow
[C] writing your own fortune cookie
[D] buying a woman a sweater vest

I think it's [C].  [It's A]

September 25: "Pears a Tumblin' Down" Painting by Aimee

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 11:56 PM
Given to Elena from Aimee.
Painted by yesterday's gift exchanger Aimee!
Part II: Toilet Twitch
My trips over the past week visiting Lou the Loo have been relatively normal; the sensor on the work toilet seemed to be functioning all right...except for yesterday.  Yesterday was 3 cups of frustration.  First off, I had a medium duration pee--not and in-and-out, wham-bam-thank-you-Dan, but not an I've-had-four-beers-and-two-waters-at-an-outdoor-sporting-event-with-no-clean-port-o-pots-around either.  Again, it was a stand up job for a sit down apparatus.  Instead of having to coax it to deliver my homemade goods to the sewer system, the toilet probably flushed four times!  FOUR TIMES!  For two of the times, I shifted weight from my left leg to my right ever so subtly and it flushed!  And that right face I was telling you about yesterday(but this time I hadn't even turned 15 degrees) produced the other two!

 Is fearr Gaeilge briste, na Bearla cliste
Elena
-Profession: Engineering Student

-Favorite fruit to compost: Grapes

-Given your strong interest in the environment, do you dream of a day when the whole world will be clothed in organic hemp clothing and recycling their plastics in separate number bins?:  Yeah, sort of.  Maybe I wouldn't have them sort by number.  They should be bio-based polymers so they could readily and easily absorb into the ground.  And I'd actually prefer people wearing second hand clothing.  The fabric would be processed in environmentally ways.

-Your goal is to learn all romance languages and currently you know Spanish and Portuguese.  What would be the language of one-night stands?:  Gaelic.  It's one of those lost languages.  You would hear it once and that's it.  I tried to learn it as a kid...it was hard.
-What would be out-of-love languages?:  Russian...oh, that sounds bad.  And probably German, too.

-You seek out running in the rain.  When it rains, does it really pour?:  When I would start out for a run in cross country, it would drizzle and I kept going and it would always downpour.

September 24: White Chocolate & Peppermint Instant Manicure, Milk Chocolate Caramel Body Soufflé, and Candle

Monday, September 24, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 11:18 PM
Given to Aimee from Mary.

Part I:  Toilet Trouble
Last week, I had a stare-down with the office toilet.  It's one of those with the auto sensors that flush when you move away from it, but is also equipped with a soft black manual backup button in case the sensor malfunctions.  I had finished my vertical business and proceeded to make a right face to wash my hands.  But no swooshing sounds started.  I returned to the scene of the crime and repeated the same motion in the event it was snoozing on the job.  Nothing.  I did this about three other times, with a Stephen Colbert eyebrow raise in between each try.  Nothing.

I resorted to doing a jig in front of it--really putting on a show--but my Lavatory Lindy Hop produced no results.  I sighed--conceded defeat--then reached for the black nipple, hoping for a quick release.  I held it for a good 10 seconds before the flushing motion started and then another three before that morning's tea went bye-bye.  I guess the nipple and sensor were on their honeymoon or something.

Aimee
-Profession: Life Insurance Agent

-Favorite leg to stand on: Left

-How much money would it take for you to tell me how to commit insurance fraud?:  No amount is big enough.  I would lose my job.  I would be in prison.

-Given your interest in remodeling, if you were remodeling a large bathroom, what amenity would you add that does not currently exist in any bathroom you've seen in person or on HGTV, for which you are a fan?:  Full body dryer.  No towels...just stand in the middle like the TSA screening.  I like to reuse my towels anyway, but there are three people who use my bathroom and home and we share towels.  We don't care.

-I've always felt that Aimee's with two e's are more fun than Amy's with just the y.  True or not?:  Very true!  I should be dead for the things I've done to my body and places I've been over the last 30 years.  I'm surprised that I'm happy and healthy.

September 23: Moonlight Yankee Candle, Bayberry Legacy Candle and Set of Twinkling LED Micro Lights

Sunday, September 23, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 12:35 PM
Given to Mary from Emily.
I think this picture might be too phallic
"Happy Fall Equinox!" says Emily to Mary.  The equinox was yesterday--the midpoint between the summer and winter counterparts--and another indicator we're all moving toward a slooow descent into darkness.  To combat the darkness, Emily wanted to pass along some light.  As a speech pathologist, she gets good-bye gifts, including many candles.  At the time of this blog post, she had a dirty dozen in her possession and claims she picked out the two best smelling ones.  Mary and I didn't realize that moonlight had a scent, but it evidently does.  She also had some extra LED lights that she uses in her annual winter art and music festival.  Because it's impact will grapple you at home, I should let you know that Mary plans on scalloping the single string of lights over a window.  Recently purchasing a home whose decor had not been updated in 30 years, Mary thought a single scallop would be a real uptick.

Mary
-Profession: Continuous Improvement in Manufacturing

-Favorite tun to whistle: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

-Part of your job involves working on the color strip indicators in baby diapers.  What color should they add to Depends?:  Red
-Should there also be an alarm?:  Yes, a fire alarm.

-If "Ways Women Like to Enjoy Time Alone" was a category on Family Feud, how many responses would there be and where would "Burning Candles and Taking a Bath" be on that list?:  That would be #2 on a total of 5 answers.
-What would be #1?: Sleep

-Do guys named Herb feel that their name is too generic like Joe?:  No, I don't think they feel that.  I knew an Herb.  None of the other herbs sound like good names, though.  Maybe Curry would be a better name.

September 22: Magic 8 Ball, Stress Ball, and 2012-13 Daily Planner

Saturday, September 22, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 10:54 PM
Given to Emily from Joe.
Emily thought the layout of this photo was too phallic
People like miniature things--petite desserts, model train villages, foam animals that expand from capsules, etc.  You get the idea.  Candy companies have played on this weakness by offering "fun size" packets of candy.  But I see nothing fun about them.  They piss me off.  A friend offered me a fun size pretzel M&M's today and it had five little balls of candies in them.  I kept shaking the postage stamp-sized bag--hoping the upper corner had a secret pocket where eight resided.  No, I would call them "enrage size" pretzel M&M's.

The only group these small packets of candy are fun for are probably cheating diabetics.  They get to sneak in a little candy and only feel 30% of the guilt they would have normally had if they can consumed a "pounder" of M&M's.

Emily
-Profession: Speech pathologist

-Favorite wurst: Knackwurst with mustard

-Evaluate the impact that stadium mustard would have on the sausage eating population in Europe: It would be huge...HUGE.  The mustards are either like whole grain or super spicy.  The Stadium Mustard is slightly spicy and mellow.  I actually thought about introducing Stadium Mustard at Oktoberfest or at the Christmas markets.

-As a speech pathologist, what might you do to improve Sting's diction?:  I'd tell him to channel his inner yogi.  He pushes too much.  And he's nasally.  He sounds forced.  I would say he should just go with it and don't force it.

-In your free time, you like to sing and cross country ski.  Could you write four bars of a song about cross country skiing?:  Okay, but sing it Colbie Callait-like.
Oh, how I wish
I could hear the snow swish
Falling down
Snow and I hit the ground

September 21: Pack of Three Ornament Frames

Posted by 366 White Elephants at 1:48 AM
Given to Joe from Sarah.

Joe showed up for his gift exchange with a large coffee traveler his companion, getting up only a couple of hours before our lunchtime exchange.  He freely admitted he hated coffee--the smell, the taste, being addicted to caffeine, the culture around it--until he started working for his current civil engineering firm where they offered free joe.  Now, he drinks a cup to stay awake during the day.  I asked him what his first cup tasted like and he said "it was not positive".  Unless it's really good, he says the taste can sometimes get his papillae running for his throat.  And no one, he says, wants to kiss anyone with disgusting coffee breath.

Agreed.  On those lines, I offer an hour and a half "service" whenever I get my teeth cleaned.  On the day of a cleaning, I will eat a sizable breakfast--enough to last me the morning.  The hygienist will go in there--first scraping off the plaque build-up, then brushing, then flossing--leaving my mouth contaminant free (no coffee breath for miles around) and fresh for the kissing.  Given these pristine conditions, I will offer to kiss any girl for free for the hour and a half during the key time when my mouth is a model of sanitation and before I get greeted by arch-nemesis Hungers McGoogan.  Next cleaning: February 2013.

Joe
-Profession: Civil Engineer

-Favorite item to scrub: Toilet

-Before you drank coffee, did you advertise that your breath was fresher to the ladies?:  Not intentionally.
-During your pre-coffee (P.C.) days, did you eat coffee ice cream?:  No, I didn't like the flavor.
-Other than mint, what would be an effervescent food flavor?: Whiskey.

-You love movies.  In what year do you think the futuristic Regal cinemas trailer was set in?:  2005 set from its production year of 1980.

-You enjoy adventure sports and have run with the bulls in Pamplona, skydived and bunjee jumped.  Tim McGraw's Live Like You Were Dyin' talks about "skydiving and Rocky Mountain climbing".  What would be the title of a Tim McGraw sequel song about bull running and bunjee jumping?:  "Crack of the Bunjee Whip"


September 20: Ganesh

Thursday, September 20, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 10:15 PM
Given to Sarah from Grant.

It's kind of hard to see in the picture, but a Ganesh is a Hindu god symbolized by the elephant.  He is worshipped as the destroyer of vanity, pride, and selfishness and is the remover of obstacles.  Grant has many Ganeshes in his home and channels the energy of it by staying out of his Deans, faculty, students and staff's way, in order for them to fulfill their ideal.  That's cool.

What would also be cool is if a Ganesh could also remove the following obstacles to make life even better:

-hotel mini-fridge lock
-love interest's chastity belt
-a 2:30 p.m. meeting with your boss when you really want a snack
-a teenager's clogged pores
-Data's quest to become human in Star Trek: The Next Generation
-all hot dog condiments in one easy-to-squeeze bottle

Nearly attacked in WI by a street gang
called "The Squeaky Curds"
Sarah
-Profession: Alumni House Manager

-Given your background in interior decorating, how might you pull off a faux glaze with a cake donut?:  I would spray the donut with a primer to contain the crumbs; you couldn't brush it on because the donut would be too brittle.  Once the spray dries, you could then apply a delicious faux glaze.

-As a child, you wore an eyepatch.  Do you think that might be one place people on the patch could wear it to get their nicotine fix?:  I would actually be concerned about that.  I hated it.  You would probably have to bribe the smokers to keep it on through an allotment of cigarettes or a cash reward system.

-You went to school in Wisconsin.  Does any cheese peer pressure exist?:  Yes.  I was ridiculed when I first got to the state because I hadn't had a cheese curd, which squeaks in your mouth.  I'd probably apply the same peer pressure if I was in Wisconsin and a newbie came up there, but I'd let it go if I was in another state.

September 19: The Green Guide to Chicago

Posted by 366 White Elephants at 1:23 AM
Given to Grant from Davide.
Let's hope they're not talking about the food
On my way to see Grant this evening, election season came to the forefront of my mind, which then got me thinking about a deep dark secret that I need to unburden myself from.  If you're a parent with young kids at home, the following admission involves PG-rated content; it's safe for them to read along with you.

During my sophomore year in college, I was mesmerized the name of a local political candidate running for office--Bill Anfang.  At the same time, I was taking intro German and learned that the word 'anfang' means 'to begin'.  On my way home for fall break in mid-October, I pilfered a very large Bill Anfang sign, took it on a short car ride, and set it up in my parent's front yard.

About three or four days after it proudly stood in their yard, a few neighbors came up to my parents and inquired about who Bill Anfang was.  I think they told them a different story every time and periodically over election season, neighbors would ask my dad who this character was.  Well, long story short, my dad reports back to me after election day that there were a few write-in votes for Bill Anfang that year for Mayor!

When getting the ball in the post,
Grant likes to go to work in
"the President's Office."
Grant
-Profession: Professor of Philosophy and College President

-Favorite instruction to a barber: Not too short

-Do you have a vested personal interest that all college students at your school get more 'grants' than loans?:  No, but I do have a vested interest that all students get 'Grant' before they graduate.  I'm always trying to convey messages to them and I work hard at it.

-At age 7, Ulysses Grant almost died on a fishing excursion.  What do you think he was fishing for?:  I'm a philosopher, so I would say the truth.  My guess is that he was probably fishing for sunfish.

-As an NBA aficionado, you probably have noticed that several young centers (i.e. Andrew Bynum, JaVale McGee) in the league have been mentored by some of the all-time greats (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hakeem Olajuwon).  Who would be the worst person you could have as a mentor?:  LeBron James.  I can't make my body do anything he does.  I'd see it, get it, and fail in execution.

September 18: Bottle of White Zinfandel, Two Bottles of Chiraz and Two Wine Glasses

Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 12:31 AM
Given to Davide from Tom.

Should the Dos Equis spokesman die (which I hope doesn't happen since those commercials are in a tie with the William Shatner Priceline commercials as my top two favorites), we have a capable replacement in Davide.  Let's give you a little taste of Davide.  First off, he plays guitar in several groups, including an ABBA and Billy Joel/Elton John "Piano Man" tribute bands.   He enjoys throwing back a 5-hour energy when the time calls for it.  He lets me borrow his car.  He's Swiss.  Ladies love his accent. Oh, and I have a story for you.

A little while ago, I was interviewing for a job away from my natural habitat and stayed with Davide and his wife.  I had the whole kit ready to go--suit jacket, suit pants, black socks, tie, belt, and polished shoes.  I forgot my dress shirt.  I thought it would look kind of silly to be going to an interview with five curled chest hairs sticking out of an elegant black suit.  It was around 10 p.m. when I discovered this and I had an 11 a.m. interview in a town about an hour away the following morning.  I knew I could probably stop at the store, but that wasn't the best option.  Despite being eight inches shorter than me, Davide--by some crazy stroke of luck--had a shirt that fit me.  I must have given him a hug that corresponded to each inch between us.

If you were not duly impressed, his wife and I think he looks like the famed French philosopher and mathematician René Descartes pictured in the Cafe Descartes logo.

Davide
-Profession: Musician

-Favorite Will Smith movie: Independence Day

-As a Swiss, do you remain neutral in quarrels with your wife?:  No and that's all I'm gonna say.

-If it were not a popular, low-cost hot chocolate, what would 'Swiss Miss' refer to?: My mother.

-What's the longest amount of time (approximate) you've zoned out during an ABBA song?:  A whole song sometimes.  Probably three minutes.

September 17: Giant-Ass Pen, Cinnamon Burst Cheerios, and Can of Green Giant Green Beans

Monday, September 17, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 11:59 PM
Given to Tom from Taylor.
I wonder if Hemmingway wrote with a pen
like this?
I stopped at the gym once the work day ended today and went through a workout circuit of chest and triceps, a workout routine many gym go-ers know.  I did some crunches to get my abs talking and then stopped and had a conversation with my friend Ray.  I confessed to Ray that I had not been as regular a lifter over the summer as I wanted to be, but that it was great being pipecleaner man with the time off.  I don't know how we got started on it, but we reviewed the key things guys can do if they haven't been to the gym in a while to get their ladies to take notice of them.

1) Do two sets of push-ups before going out; that'll get your chest roaring.
2) Do some curls in the car to get your arm veins to pop.  Shouldn't take too much effort.
3) Buy a short-sleeve shirt one size too small so the cuff of the sleeve rests flatteringly on your bicep bulge.

Guys, if you're unaware of these tips....you're welcome.  Ladies, if you're unaware of these tips, please don't go all Spanish Inquisition on your man if he's looking more barrel-chested than normal on your night on the town.  It's a happy problem to have.  Leave him alone.  Touch his pec like Hayley Atwell does in Captain America.

Tom
-Profession: Sales

-Favorite getaway destination: The Beach

-You described yourself as 'predictable'.  What's the worst unpredictable thing that's happened to you?:  Getting my last job.  It was totally not on my radar, but someone brought up an opportunity and it really wasn't what I was looking to do.

-You work for a Fortune 500 company that does copying and printing.  When they are not looking, do you photocopy anything, like your forearm?:  No...

-In your spare time, you compete in karate competitions.  Are there any swear words you say that are motivational for you?:  It's not really swearing, but there is a saying, "Rock 'Em, Rock 'Em, Rock 'Em...Cheat" that kind of gets us going.

September 16: The Game of Life

Sunday, September 16, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 10:20 PM
Given to Taylor from Sharon.
There's Safe Route and Risky Road.
How can I take "I Don't Give A Shit Alley?"
The AARP (American Association of Retired Professionals) has their Depends in a knot over this game.  According to my friends at wikipedia.org, the "AARP criticizes the game for ending at retirement. AARP argues that this implies life ends when one retires. Instead, AARP argues that one can have a fruitful and fulfilling life long after one retires."

I'd have to agree with them.  Take Monopoly, for instance.  People can still make money and acquire assets even when they land in jail any number of times.  Life doesn't stop just because you get busted for a misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

The truth is the number of retired persons I talk with say that retirement is a full-time job.  They are busy traveling, babysitting, eating out, showering, playing cards, reading, watching television, making woodcrafts, and boating, making it feel more like work than leisure time.  I would recommend to Milton Bradley that if they want to continue producing this game, they should amend the recommended ages from "9 and up" to "9 to 62" if they want the AARP off their back.  


Listed in Who's Who of Professional
Badasses
Taylor
-Profession: Professional badass

-Favorite camera zoom magnification: None.  I like to keep it simple.

-You grew up working for your grandparent's butchery, stamping meat to show its grade and also that it was USDA certified.  Did you ever feel that any of the packages contained money and that your grandparents were laundering it?:  No, I felt like it was slave labor, though.  I also had to organize every customer order alphabetically.  My favorite last name was Cappazello.  As far as money goes, my grandparents kept it in the pockets of old coats, not in the freezer in meat packages.

-You have a peanut butter addiction.  Please complete the second sentence.
FOOD:      It takes a lot of little nuts to make a jar of peanut butter.
PEOPLE:  It takes a lot of little nuts to make ________________. (a psych ward)

-Taylor Thermometers are used on whom and in which orifice?:  On people who don't think I'm awesome enough and they would be good for a rectal temp.

September 15: "Light One Candle: Quotes for Hope and Action"

Saturday, September 15, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 11:29 PM
Given to Sharon from Angela.
...and get off your kiester.
The last time I saw Sharon was a little over a tenth of a century ago when we graduated from high school.  Recently we got back in touch after I was circling our hometown on a late night stroll and saw her outside of her parent's house.  The conversation went something like "I haven't seen in a while and I'm sure it's all nice what you did the last few years--oh and by the way, I still don't wear deodorant, but more importantly, do you have any junk lying around your house that you want to give away for my blog?"

Sharon and I share the happy memory of dancing together in the musical Brigadoon during our sophomore year.  More aptly, it was Sharon guiding a Gap mannequin with two lead feet around the stage for the entire number.  Dear Sharon, if you're reading this, I never got around to giving you the big props you deserved for that show.   Maybe I can make up for it by buying you a pair of steel-toed boots if we ever decide to re-enact it--right after we pose for prom pictures in your parent's kitchen.  And...I am hoping that we could sway to a Savage Garden song to rekindle some 90s magic.  Sharon? Sharon?  Are you still there?

If a man braids his ear hair, it can be
a big turn-on
Sharon
-Profession: Grad student; bartender

-Favorite ghost: The one in my parent's house

-SHARON is a wastewater treatment process.  What are the treatment facilities using this most proud of filtering out?:  Tetrahydrochloride
-What are you personally most proud of filtering out?: Excuses and regret

-As a former dancer, are Colbie Callait's "Bubbly" lyrics about the feelings "starting in her toes and crinkling her nose" impossible for a ballet dancer to relate to?:  I can relate to them.  Modern dancers can relate.  But not ballet dancers.  There's not a lot of crinkling with a ballet dancer.  They do what they're told.

-Women have a greater chance in getting offended if a man asks them to pluck a chin hair.  What hair area would a man find offensive if a woman asked him to pluck it?:  Ear hair--always.  I don't get offended--it's like something in your teeth.


September 14: Sudoku book, 2 packs of Microwave Popcorn, Mini-M&Ms, and $10

Posted by 366 White Elephants at 9:29 AM
Given to Angela from Kerry.

I drive a Ford Edge, a mid-side SUV I really like--it drives great and is big enough for me (I'm a tall drink of a human).  Its official color (straight from the dealership) is 'creme brulee'.  When I needed AAA for a jump a few weeks ago, they asked me the mileage on the vehicle, the make, model, and then finally what the color of it was.  I said, "Creme brulee." Following a surprising awkward pause, they asked me for another similar color.  I replied, "It's cafe au lait-like, but with less espresso."  So, it's coffee-colored?  Not precisely, I said, but perhaps something like parchment that's been exposed to the centuries of decay and has lost its brilliance.  Come again, sir?  "Pearl, with less luster?"  "Ivory?"  Still confused, I gave in to them.  It's off-white.  I'm so upset with myself for caving in.

Angela
-Profession: Student Affairs

-Favorite Spanish saying: Pura Vida!  (Pure life!)

-Based on Frank McCourt's suggestion, is it an inevitability that you will be cremated?:  Yes.  It's the cycle of the world.

-You've been to every country in Central America by bus, which makes the Greyhound bus line look like ________.:  a South American company.  It's about the same, actually.  Their line is call "Tica Bus" and they actually have an animal that looks like a greyhound as its logo.  However, you have the tell the driver when you need to use the bathroom and he might pull over at the side of the road.

-You're somewhat newly married.  If Americans take honeymoons, do Canadians take maple-syrup-moons?:  Probably...they should.  Canadians are probably less obnoxious, less Hawaiian shirt wearing on their maple syrup moons than we are on our honeymoons.

September 13: Matted Sentimental Poem and Unknown Plant

Thursday, September 13, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 11:56 PM
Given to Kerry from Melissa.

I felt like I had a scarlet A on today.  I wore a nearly brand new, pristine white shirt, along with a sharp-looking turquoise tie.  I was at my desk taking notes with my blue ink pen and twirled it and the pen dropped and made three marks on my shirt.  [cue my primordial scream]

I asked everyone in my office, people across the way, called a friend in another building and asked some other people wandering on the outside of the building if they had something to get rid of ink in fabric.  No, no, no and no were the answers.  But I kept looking at the damn stain markings the whole day and turned my body to the left whenever I would engage in conversation, shielding the right side of my body from everyone's judgmental eyes.  The embarrassment burned.

Kerry
-Profession: College student

-Favorite letter on an eye exam: K

-As a soccer player, do you think David Beckham's checks bounce?:  No.  But I'm telling you no just to be difficult with you.

-You want to buy a coffeecake.  Does it help or hurt Entenmann's cause that it's on an endcap?:  It hurts it because I don't check the endcaps for anything.  Then again, there are sales on endcaps.  I should check their spot more often.

-One of your student jobs involves shuffling paperwork around.  Do students realize that this is what they'll be doing when they get "real" jobs?:  No, they don't; paperwork is boring and causes paper cuts.  I dream of playing around with chemicals. Actually, I'm working on a wound-healing polymer.  As long as the cut's not deep, it could help paper cuts heal.

September 12: UK Coffee Mug, 5 Pens, $10 Coldstone Creamery Giftcard, 1 Fun-Size Reese's Piece, and 1 Fun-Size Kit-Kat

Posted by 366 White Elephants at 8:08 AM
Given to Melissa from Rachel.
Too much Coldstone and candy will get
you teeth appropriate for drinking out of
this cup
The work meeting I had tonight ranneth over and I ended up being about a half-hour late for my meet up with Melissa.  I did not have her cell phone number, so I resorted to calling the Starbucks where we were meeting, giving a police sketch description of her to the barista, and having that barista tell Melissa I was going to be a bit late.

Given that I was a half-hour late, Melissa and I spent a little time at the beginning of our night discuss being late. While this wasn't the case tonight, I don't get the people who set their clocks a certain amount of time ahead as a trick to have them be on-time for things.  What happens to them when they are traveling in a car and changing time zones?  Does the time change really mess things up for them?  I think it would because you'd have to do some quick mental math in the car in order to know the real time, then you'd be resetting your car clock and watch.  Then, because you can't do anything to change your cell phone time, that would add to the confusion.  These people could never have sundials in their yard; they could, I suppose, but it would be an improperly set sundial and neighbors and guests using the sundial to synchronize their watches would also be thrown off.  

I've just listed a few examples.  Watching favorite TV shows, for instances, presents the same challenge.  If tardy-come-latelys want to go through the trouble of converting their futuristic time to normal time, it's another step where human error can miscalculate the time and it would just be pointless since they could just set their clock/watch for what the rest of the world is using.

She's not hard-hatted at all
Melissa
-Profession: Construction Management

-Favorite disco hit: "Stayin' Alive"

-You say you're more of a listener than a talker.  A talker is oftentimes referred to as "Chatty Cathy".  What would a listener be referred called?:  Silent Sally

-You love roller coasters.  Can you explain the paradox between airplanes who have vomit bags for each passenger and roller coasters who have none at all?:  Airborne-flying vomit (from a roller coaster) seems less olfactory offensive than vomit contained in the confines of an airplane.

-If you have a work dream, what color hard hat are you wearing?:  The color's hidden by a bunch of stickers.

September 11: "Blue Kit": Desk Lamp, Magnetic Board, Notepad and Pen

Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 11:33 PM
Given to Rachel from Jen.
It's a blue, blue, blue, blue white elephant gift
Are you familiar with nature vs. nurture?  That is to say what degree a person is affected by genes or environment.  What my family is trying to figure out is where my napkin hoarding habit came from.  When I go to Starbucks, for instance, I'll take my coffee and five napkins with me.  Subsequently, I'll put those napkins in my pocket or my work bag, (but never my car for some reason).  My work bag is chocked full of restaurant napkins, so much so that if my notebooks were made of glass, I'd have no problem dropping my bag on the ground because of the extra padding.

Just so you don't think I'm ca-razy, I blow my nose year-round.  Pollen? Claritin clear?  87% humidity? It makes no difference.  My nasal passages are generally moving free and easy.  Hooray for me!

Where the argument comes in is that my dad's a napkin hoarder as well.  I'm not sure what exactly he uses his napkins for, but I don't really see him blow his nose nor is he particular messy at the dinner table.  His pockets are stuffed with them.  They're all over his car, crammed neatly in the armrest, glove compartment, etc.  The real debate is not where my habit came from, but how we can get the help we need to overcome it.

Anyway, this is a self-described "blue" office kit (per Jen's description) for Rachel.

Waiters try to encourage hurried
consumption of the salad course
Rachel
-Profession: Manager, Postdoctoral Affairs

-Favorite academic degree: PhD

-In your opinion, should any vessels historically retracing the Titanic voyage ban the serving of iceberg lettuce on their ships?:  No.  I don't believe in banning anything.  I'm anti-banning.

-Combining your interest in reading and job at a University, what fictional literary figure would you give an honorary degree to and why?:  Probably Hamlet for his love of velvet and royal fashion sense.  It would be an honorary Associate's Degree from a textile school.

-Where is the next place they'll be able to put more cheese on a pizza?: In pepperoni-wrapped cheeses as toppings.

September 10: Pickled Garlic, Balsa Wood Sky Streak Airplane Kit, and Paddywax Candle

Posted by 366 White Elephants at 12:20 AM
Given to Jen from Roz.

There are five kinds of people who participate in my gift exchange:

1) People looking to get rid of crap from their house/apartment via a sexier option than Goodwill

2) People who want the experience of a drug deal, but are either unwilling or unable to purchase/sell illicit substances and choose to mimic that experience by meeting me, a stranger, in a non-descript location--each of us armed with gift bags

3) Bored people

4) Undercover police officers checking to see if I am using this gift exchange as a cover to pass along illicit substances

5) People looking for some good, clean fun

Which one is Jen?  See below.

Jen
-Profession: Not working for a paycheck

-Favorite microwave button: The one that opens the door (it's easy to push)

-You're a self-described treehugger.  If nature lovers were not hugging trees, what (A) greeting would humans be offering (B) some part of nature other than trees?:  Hugging Al Gore?  Well, probably hugging a pet is close.

-Since you're not working for a paycheck, do people ever tell you that you're lucky with soooo much free time?:  I don't get it a lot, really.  [By the way], there are a lot of people in the morning yoga.

-How good are you at spotting toupees? (Excellent, very good, good, poor, not good, N/A):  It's both N/A because I'm not really looking for them, but if I see one that sticks out, then it's good.

Answer from above: A combination of #1 and #5

September 9: Plush Clown Doll

Sunday, September 9, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 11:28 PM
Given to Roz from Cathy.

Listen up kids, it's short story time.  This cute little clown was a gift Cathy's nephew gave her when he was 11 years old.  He said he wanted to give her "someone to talk to".  She promised him that she would keep him for one year.  Eleven years later, she is finally relinquishing the doll that's heard all of her woes...all of the work stresses...all the times she's been cutoff in traffic.  Cathy, I'm glad you're moving on with your life.

Roz works for an auto repair place where my family and I take our cars for service.  Roz and her husband are great folks and they give you a pack of two freshly-baked cookies from a local baker when you leave as a thank you.  I think they're on to my dad, though.  It seems like every week he's bringing in his car for the most minor of things.  "Hey, I think there's a loose bolt by the engine.  Could one of your techs take a look at it?"  They'll take a look, hand him a bill for $79, and he'll get his packet of cookies.

Once, he brought in his car because he had a streak of water on the windshield or something.  They didn't charge him for it, but he loitered in the lobby area, read the local paper cover-to-cover and then started on the auto magazines before Roz asked if she could help him out with anything else.  "Nope," says my dad.  "But, what kind of cookies do you have today?"

The garlics would share Tic-Tacs
before saying goodnight
Roz
-Profession: Office and Business Manager

-Favorite kind of bread: Pumpernickel

-Today you attended a garlic festival.  If garlic was going out on a date with another garlic, what might he say to impress his date?:  Nice head

-If you were a Pez dispenser, what flavor of candy would pop out of your neck?:  Passion fruit

-Roz is a slug-like monster with a raspy voice from Monsters, Inc.  If and when might that be an appropriate description of you?:  As I'm raising a teenage daughter

September 8: Disco Queen Fish Christmas Ornament

Saturday, September 8, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 11:43 PM
Given to Cathy from Becky.

What in Jack LeLane's name is this?  It appears in one regard there is no difference between a question about the origin of the universe, for example, and this Christmas ornament.  There's no difference because when you raise one question, it leads to several other questions, which then lead to other questions.

If you start by asking, "What soul decided to make something like this?", you raise questions about their childhood and early influences (if they had bad or good experiences with fish and/or discotheques).  Did they have an aquarium and were they allowed to feed the fish inside it?  Did the parents of this individual enjoy tilapia for dinner, followed by disco beats as their baby-making music?  You see what I mean?  And I haven't even talked about the cast maker of these so they can be mass-produced or the owner of the store who buys these for the shop or the people who are, in turn, purchasing them.  All of the characters weave such a tangled web, it leaves your head spinning and you none the wiser once you manage to extract yourself out of this mind-numbing inner discourse.

Lastly, most of our goods, such as this one, are made in China.  I didn't look to see if it was or not, but I don't believe anyone in China could come up with this design.  A disco moose I could see.  But not a disco fish.

Cathy
-Profession: Actor/Teacher

-Favorite line in a play: "Why Jesus wasn't even born until I was a junior in college--I remember it distinctly."-from Steel Magnolias

-Pair the modern day actor to his suitable Shakespearean character:
-Charlie Sheen:   Iago
-Betty White:        Doll Tearsheet
-Tom Hanks:       Malvolio
-Hilary Swank:    Olivia

-Your grandchildren are important to you.  Rank the following items you want to leave them from least to most important: commemorative coins, U.S. Treasury bonds, your DNA, family jewels
1) U.S. Treasury bonds
2) commemorative coins
3) family jewels
4) my DNA

-What percent of the time are you tempted to take the mints or mint-flavored toothpicks when leaving a restaurant?:  100% of the time.  I also like the candy in the bowls, too.

September 7: Jar of Marmalade

Friday, September 7, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 9:25 PM
Given to Becky from Harry.

I am not a judger.  I just laugh out loud.  No, really, I don't judge...except when it comes to jam.  I find the following uses of jam intolerable:
1) on ice cream
2) on toast when someone really wants a cookie or legitimate sweet instead

I find the following existence or non-existence of jam vexing:
1) at a chain breakfast establishment (i.e. First Watch, Denny's) when they don't present the full complement of Smucker's products (concord grape, mixed fruit (which tastes like grape anyway), strawberry, orange marmalade, seedless blackberry, and cherry).  Either show up to play or close up shop.  [I omitted having apple butter and honey packets because they are not considered jams.]
2) any place that sells bagels and doesn't have at least two jams available

As a side note, Becky's brother dates Marie, who exchanged gifts with me earlier this year.  I popped the question then about finding a way to land permanently into her family.  I'm in full-out culinary crush right out because Becky told me that Marie made her own marmalade for her Christmas gifts this past year.  Marie, you are the pectin of my life.  You're also the sugar, too. ;-)  Can you find room in your heart somewhere...anywhere for me?

The Flash hopes his Six Sigma
training will get him ahead
Becky
-Profession: Human Resources

-Favorite pan: Jellyroll pan from Crate & Barrel

-Tell me a situation where using jam would be the only way to get you out of a jam: I couldn't get in the door...I was locked out.  I would use the jam like WD-40 to pry the lock open.

-Given your work in HR, I'd like you to evaluate the Justice League.
-Who is due for a promotion?:  Batman.  He's a hard worker, dedicated, selfless, and conscientious.  He tried to get out of taking care of Gotham, but he had the pull to get back to work.
-Any staff changes or firings?:  I would fire Hawkman.  Who is that?  If I don't know who he is, he's not working hard enough.
-If there was a worker's comp issue, who would be the rep who would take all employee claims?:  Wonder Woman.  Women are more organized.  She's a good note taker and she would make sure the appropriate follow-up would be taken.

-You love cats and have two.  What are the human equivalents of...
-a litter box?: kids playing in the sandbox
-ball on a string?: bad accident

September 6: Ceramic Snoopy Bank

Thursday, September 6, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 11:35 PM
Given to Harry from Richard.
Where's the Red Baron?
Today's topic may be a little esoteric for most of you, but work with me for a minute.  Last evening, I played the Chinese tile game Mahjongg with my mom, brother and sister.  The gist of the game is you form runs of certain tiles that are based on a number of listed combinations.  You also announced the tiles you are discarding by saying, for example, "4 bam".  It's really good fun.  But I don't think a guest could catch up with the way we've morphed the names of the different tiles.  See the picture below for a  reference.

Here are some examples of what I'm taking about:
-See the 1 dot (the tile in the upper left corner).  We affectionately refer to it as ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation) since it looks like an 'O' and is a dot.

-My favorite is calling out the 2 Bam (bamboos) because it is always followed by "or not to bam".

-In the wind family, this is probably the most confusing.  Take note of the West wind.  When you say it, it sounds like the way Marv Albert says "Westwood One" when he's doing a sports radiocast on that network.  We've transitioned from saying Westwood One the way Marv says it to "do do do" (with some unique inflection), which is the sound the network cues when going to a commercial break.

-The cracks (characters) are just a whole can of crazy worms.  3 crack (or any other one in that family) opens the discussion up to who's on crack and what a crack addition can lead to.

$30 could also get him a really
fancy armpit hair comb
Harry
-Profession: Retired Executive and Engineer

-Favorite day of the week: Sunday

-What do you think Woodstock is trying to communicate to Snoopy that only Snoopy can understand?: That birds and dogs are easier to deal with than people.

-What body part is acceptable to be hairy?:  Underarms

-If you used this bank, how much do you think it would hold?:  Around $30
-What would you do with the money you save?:  Probably use it on food or go out to eat.