October 31: Decorate-Your-Own-Frankenstein Doll

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 10:37 PM
Given to Chester from Molly.
I'm really trying to put a face with a name 
Happy Halloween everyone!  I haven't trick-or-treated in years, but when I did, I got about 96% treats and only 4% tricks.  Some of my favorite treats are Reese's Cups, Almond Joys, and Mounds.  The more upscale families would give chocolate from Malley's (a local chocolate company) or See's (on the West Coast) and us kids always made sure we left their house off the t.p. list.  This is what compromises the 4% of tricks that I loathed:

-Bit 'O Honeys: Would someone please phase these out of production?  My friend Mike Haas got a loose tooth out by biting on one of those.  They taste like your smelly cousin's earwax.  Uh, no thanks.

-Apples: The well-intentioned families who gave apples were loathed by trick-or-treaters.  First, your parents thought there might be razor blades in them and they were thrown away or you got a lecture about not biting into them right away.  Second, an apple tastes like a brussel sprout after you've been inhaling your trove of Pop Rocks, Nerds, Sour Patch Kids and Tootsie Rolls.

-Pennies: Ooooohhh--here's 6 cents!  Give me the Bit 'O Honey, please.


Harpists are 'players'
Chester
-Profession: IT

-Favorite rainy day song: "Singin' in the Rain

-You're a member of this group called 'New Horizons" where adults learn or re-learn how to play musical instruments.  In your opinion, which instrument [player] gets the most action?:  The trumpets...they blow a lot of hot air.

-Like Chester Cheetah, for what activity would you use or leave powdered cheese dust behind?:  I'd use the cheese dust to leave a trail to get to my favorite watering hole.

-You're the 21st bearded gift exchanger.  Are you jolly?:  Oh, but of course!

October 30: Decorative Kitchen Scrubber

Posted by 366 White Elephants at 12:31 AM
Given to Molly from Dan.

I was connected to Molly through her uncle Jeff whom I'm friends with.  Originally, we were just going to get some coffee and chat until the remnants of Hurricane Sandy took out my power last night, which set off a chain of Lemony Snicket unfortunate events, leading me to cancel the exchange I had previously scheduled with this guy named Dave.  Let's go over the cast of characters again--Dan, Molly, Jeff, Lemony, Sandy and Dave.  Okay, I think I got it.  A few hours before we met, I asked Molly if she could find a gift to bring to our meet-up.  Three hours?  No problem.  Molly got a gift. 

Since it was our first time meeting up, it was interesting to know what Jeff told Molly about me. She told me that he said I played basketball...and that was about it.  I recall a similar incident a few years ago when my friend Jack told his co-worker (who was trying to set her daughter up) that I liked to "laugh a lot".  It's really interesting to see what cream of information rises to the surface.  Why doesn't anyone talk about the fedora I wear?  "You'll really like Dan," says Jeff.  "His fedora's really hot on him."  Or what about the fact that I like to make applesauce? "You know, I think you and Dan will have a good time," says Jack.  "Dan is an applesauce maestro."

Molly
-Profession: First grade teacher

-Favorite running distance: 800 meters

-'Molly (16 Candles Down the Drain)' is a song by Sponge.  What went wrong for Molly on her 16th birthday?:  Actually, I have a story.  I share a birthday with my Dad and on my 16th birthday, he was going to take me and three friends to Chicago.  We were going to go shopping!  Two days before, my dad got a staph infection and we had to cancel our trip.  I was sad.  Then on my birthday, I got pink eye.

-'Molly' is also the name of a Polish children's TV show.  How do you think they would educate kids about pierogis?:  With a song that rhymes and to the tune of "Spice Up Your Life" by the Spice Girls.  "You can eat 'em on a hoagie...can't smoke 'em like a stogie."

-You've never broken a bone.  If you had to break a bone--knock on wood--which bone would be preferable?:  My pinky finger. 

October 29: $15 Coldstone Giftcard and Pack of UNO Cards

Monday, October 29, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 11:58 PM
Given to Dan from Cathy.

In Mexico, they call this game 'One'
This evening, I got to enact my dream of living like a mailman.  Despite heavy rain and strong winds, the gift exchange with Dan took place.  But today isn't about me.  It's about canonizing Dan into blogging sainthood.  Get a load of this: not only did he brave the same heavy rain and strong winds, but he also had a nail in his tire and lost power at his home.  He called, said he'd be a few minutes late, and we met over a brew and exchanged gifts.  I'd say I would change my name to Dan in honor of these heroics--har har--but naming rights for my first-born will have to do. 

Good fences also make good State Farm
agents
Dan
-Profession: State Farm Agent

-Favorite fruit with a pancake: Blueberry

-Where would you place the bond that Dan's have on the following scale? (1 being the weakest, 5 being the strongest bond)
1-fellow human; 2-alum from the same school; 3-cried over Lion King together; 4-fellow gang member; 5-blood relative


I'd say it's similar to the felling you'd have for a fellow alum.

-'Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.'  Can you tell me three situations where State Farm would be miles away?:
1) need a cab and I can't get one
2) looking for a washer and dryer
3) when I need another drink

-Who/what would be the State Farm spokesperson/mascot?:  Aaron Rodgers from the Green Bay Packers
-If there were a tag-team match the reps from State Farm (Aaron Rodgers), Progressive (Flo), Geico (the gecko) and Farmer's Insurance (a farmer, presumably), who would be teamed-up?:  Aaron Rodgers and the Gecko vs. Flo and the Farmer.  We'd win, of course. 

October 28: Copper Horse Artwork

Sunday, October 28, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 11:59 PM
Given to Cathy from Carol.
Ride a horse and save a cowboy
 Here's Carol's 17 second gift--a very cool pounded copper relief of a horse.  I don't know if I like the gift more than the way Carol got it.  As I mentioned yesterday, I went downstairs from my brother's apartment to seek out Carol, not knowing if she was in or not.  However, she surprisingly greeted us at the entrance to the apartment complex and said she'd participate in the gift exchange on the spot. She invited my brother and me into her apartment.  As she rounded the corner from the entrance to her place, she grabbed the copper relief off her wall, held it up and asked me if it was sufficient enough to serve as a white elephant gift.  It may be four months away, but I have a question for Carol: would you be my Valentine?

Cathy
-Profession: ESL (English as a Second Language) Teacher

-Favorite activity to do on a holiday?:  Eat

-Do you view the 'y' in your name as more of a consonant or a vowel?:  A consonant.  If it were a consonant for another word and you were going to make it plural, the 'y' would convert to 'ies'.  You can't change me into a vowel. 

-You collect snow globes and have about 100 or so.  How many snowstorms could you crate simultaneously?:  I can do five by myself.  But I think I could do upwards of 20 snowstorms.

-At what age is appropriate to teach non-native English speakers swear words?:  They actually know them by age 10.  But I would say it's okay to teach them at 12. 

-What's the funniest phrase you've seen included in an English textbook?:  Brown nose.  I had a really hard time trying to explain that without using the expression 'ass-kisser'. 

October 27: Pack of Six White Hangers & Backscratcher

Saturday, October 27, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 11:50 PM
Given to Carol from Jeremy.
I'm hung up at how great these gifts are
Before leaving Minnesota tomorrow, I'd like to spread some new-found love to the people here up north.  First off, my thanks to Caribou coffee, which was founded in Minneapolis, for their high-speed internet service, making my posts for the last week possible.  [Blowing kisses]  My second round of thanks goes off to the people I asked up here in the Twin Cities who had little preparation to find a gift; I met some great folks up here. 

I'd also like to thank Carol.  She lives two floors below my brother in the studio basement apartment, situated right next to the laundry room.  When my mom and I were trying to find the laundry room earlier in the week, my mom accidentally wandered into her apartment before a quick caution from me saved her from an awkward encounter.  I had not had an exchanger ready tonight, but at my brother's urging, I went down and met her.  Immediately, she invited me into her apartment and set a record for quickest gift found at 17 seconds.  Seriously.  She walked back into her apartment, turned 'round the corner and grabbed the gift for tomorrow.  [More blowing kisses for you Carol]  It turns out that the backscratcher was a perfect gift given her profession and she expressed a need for some clothes hangers. 

FYI: Carol's on her way to a Halloween party, dressed as Cleopatra.  Hot!

Fortunately, Carol's mild manners
will prevent her from eating crow
Carol
-Profession: Chinese Medical Massage

-Favorite image on an overpriced helium balloon: Dog

-You love horses.  When someone ask you to get off your high horse, which ones are you getting off of both literally and figuratively?:  Literally, my black one.  Figuratively, if I'm telling someone to do something and I'm trying to push someone around.

-You also paint crows in your spare time.  How many times, within three, have you used the expression 'as the crow flies'?:  Never.
-Where would the crow be headed?:  North.

-During one of your deep tissue massages when a client was telling you something in depth and significant, how many times have you told that person that what they were saying was "deep"?:  Never.  If they did tell me something like that, I'd probably ask further questions to get them to work that part of it out.

October 26: "Einstein: A Portrait"

Friday, October 26, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 11:49 PM
Given to Jeremy from Jim.
Profiles Einstein's fondness for cucumber sandwiches,
leaving footprints in the sand, and slumber parties
I met Jeremy in the same Caribou I met Ambria a couple of days prior.  There I am, hat in hand, telling them of my tale of woe and gift exchange blogging.  After watching this play in Minneapolis called Two Sweet-N-Lows and a Stir (or Two Sugars and a Non-Dairy Creamer or Two Pumps of Mocha and One Pump of Vanilla Make a Delicious Hot Chocolate or some damn title about two women who talk about life over coffee), I made my way to see Jeremy.  When I spoke with him the past two days (during my time hogging their free internet), he kept on telling me he had a lot going on.  Not like bad things going on, mind you.  He was just a guy with a lot of 'irons in the fire'--a guy with so much going on that it convinced me to use the expression "dollars to donuts" at one point during a conversation today, even though I have no idea what that means and that it bears no relationship to a guy like Jeremy who seems like he could use a pocket organizer.  I suspect a needy girlfriend, but it's only conjecture at this point.

And...happy day!  Jeremy is gift exchanger #300 for the year!

Jeremy
-Profession: Commercial Surveillance Installer; Barista; Student

-Favorite trick to perform on a snowboard: Backside 270 into a boardside with a 270 out

-Pearl Jam said you spoke in class today. What did you say?:  I don't even know, brother.

-Of the stores you install video equipment in, which one do you think would have the best footage for a web series?: Victoria's Secret.  There's enough interesting stuff going on in there.  'Nuff said.

-If someone were to do a portrait of Einstein, which medium do you think it would be in (other than a book)?:  Either a black colored pencil or a quill tip pen with ancient black ink.

October 25: Bulletin Board

Thursday, October 25, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 7:26 PM
Given to Jim from Ambria.

Time and space were off all day today.  It began with breakfast.  My brother, mom and me all trudged over to this fab place--French Meadow Cafe--and enjoyed a wonderful breakfast.  Before we left, we ordered a couple of wraps to-go for lunch, only to wait 20 minutes until they arrived, turning my brother's pants cranky in the meantime.  He dropped my mom and me off at his apartment for the morning.  When trying to communicate with my brother, my mom's text messages turned into mini-novellas; the beeping sounded like a MacIntosh II being booted up.  When we enjoyed our delayed lunch, the 5-second rule for dropped food turned into 18.4 milliseconds based on the wishes of the dust in my brother's apartment to mimic the old West.    It persisted into the afternoon.  My 20-minute "cat" nap turned into an hour and a half bear hibernation-like slumber. 

However, all returned to normal when we picked up some Chipotle and found the unusual number and placing of body piercings on their friendly staff.  It righted the ship and prevented the total collapse of my universe for the day.

Jim
-Profession: Business Analytics

-Favorite emergency roadside tool: A cell phone--I don't do anything

-You were formerly married to an Indian and now a German.  Combine an Indian and German dish into one and name it.:  Curry Wienerschnitzel

-Slim Jims: Dried, cured meat.  Fat Jims: vegetarian spring rolls

-You also teach physics at a local college.  Rank the effectiveness of each scenario on teaching acceleration: bowling ball from a roof; boulder down a hill; basketball from the rafters; medicine ball from a well-placed ramp
1--medicine ball from a well-placed ramp (it's the simplest)
2--bowling ball from a roof (irony and humor are memorable)
3--basketball from the rafters (interesting effects with bounce)
4--boulder down a hill (messiest)

October 24: Matted Poem

Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 4:17 PM
Given to Ambria from Laurie.
Second oldest gift at 10 years spent in a closet!
The past two days I've been hanging out in a Caribou coffeeshop as it's the only place I can get reliable internet service.  The free service "GuapaNet" I've been piggybacking on in my brother's apartment has gone on radio silence.  It forced me to trot over here yesterday to blog and email.  As it's day 5 of spontaneous gift exchanges, I met Ambria yesterday and asked her if she'd be willing to participate today.  Humanity gets a boost from her participation [cue the thunderous applause].

I've been sitting here contemplating what people are called who hang around coffeeshops too long like I am today.  There are barflies for those who spend too much time in bars, gym rats for those in gyms, workaholics for those who work too much (those people are also called crazy).  The best I could come up with is "Drippers".  As a former barista, we all despised drip coffee because it took too damn long, particularly for those 10:30 at night decaf drinkers who we wondered what woodwork they crept out from.

Overwhelmed with joy that the beans
finally have a new home
Ambria
-Profession: Student; Coffeeshop Employee

-Favorite part of New Hampshire: The Trees, in particular the climbing tree in my backyard

-If two coffee beans are planning an escape from the grinder, how might they go about it?:  They'd make a pitch to the barista that they smell so good they should be in cups in a perfume shop.  They are great at sweet talking and would be good salespeople to convince the barista to take them there.

-Your nickname was "Crash" during one summer and you also trained as an automotive tech.  How comfortable would people feel about you working on their car?:  Very comfortable.  They're unrelated.  I was working at a dealership and I was trying to back a car up into an empty spot...and I missed it by quite a bit.  And my boss was watching.

-You briefly studied opera and also enjoy crochet.  What would be the most dramatic part in an opera about crocheting?:  Probably when you're tying the knot at the end when you're finished.


October 23: "My Greatest Teacher" & "The Core Balance Diet

Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 5:45 PM
Given to Laurie from Ann Marie.
My greatest teacher was Andy Griffith's Matlock...what a
clever cat he was...and stylish, too!





I've been out of my usual habitat the past four days, writing to you from the great state of Minnesota.  With no gift exchangers in the fold, I have to search for them like truffles in a forest.  It's the blogging equivalent of cold calling.  Or door-to-door vacuum cleaner selling that I thought had gone away during the early-80s, but discovered that wasn't so, according to my friend Matt who did it a couple of years ago before too many close calls with dogs and unfriendly humans.

This morning, I trekked downstairs from my brother's apartment on the second floor and knocked on the neighbor's door on the floor below.  Out came Laurie and pleasant introductions before I asked her to participate in this project.  No problem!  We had a lovely little chat in my brother's in-the-midst-of-construction apartment (see the green tape on the windows), exchanged gifts, and felt great about humanity all around.  Thanks Laurie!

Laurie
-Profession: Stay-at-Home Mom

-Favorite wonder of Minneapolis: The seasons

-As a 50-year old woman, you went to your first KISS concert.  Were you nervous for your 'first Kiss' experience?:  No, I wasn't nervous, but it was great hearing Gene Simmons in his New Jersey accent tell people that it was 'awesome' to play in front of them.  As far as my first kiss, oh yeah, I was nervous.  But probably not as much as my 11-year old.

-Laurie Island is an island in Antarctica.  What do you think their #1 seller is in the tourist shops?:  Ice cube trays shaped like lorries [trucks].

-Laurie is also a 1965 tragic ballad by Dickey Lee.  If it were instead a tragi-comedy, what would be funny about Laurie's tale?:  That she had a tail. 

October 22: Compact from San Francisco

Monday, October 22, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 12:00 PM
Given to Ann Marie from Aria.

I think that mirror makes my hand look fat
This compact has been with Aria for eight years after she purchased it in San Francisco at age 15.  It's got a nice black dove costume jewel with faux diamonds on the top outer case, along with some inlaid fancy metal circular pattern on the outside bottom, both of which are not pictured.  Inside, of course, is the mirror and a Sharpie-drawn eye that Aria did back in high school.  I strolled into the organic cafe where she worked, had a meal, told her my gift blogging story, and--kazow--she came up with it for me to pass along.  [cue the polite golf clapping in the background]

Of all the things women carry, I think the compact is the one I'd like for myself.  People get all caught up in man-purses and stuff, but any human could benefit from having a pocket-sized mirror at the ready.  After eating meals containing visible spices, I often awkwardly ask strangers if I have anything stuck between my teeth.  Kapow!  No need for that anymore.  Instead of foundation, I'd probably have some of those mini Altoids ready and perhaps a few strands of floss.

Still uses a Teen Spirit stick
Ann Marie
-Profession: Bon-Bon eater

-Favorite part of a Boston Creme pie: The Chocolate Coating

-You really like and watch for bald eagles.  If they were not bald, what kind of hair style would they have?:  Psychedelic, shiny crystal sequence hair that's sprayed in purple.

-If you were to anthropomorphize your Honda Fit, what does it do to stay in shape?:  It loves sprint drills on beautiful country roads.

-Your email has 'gentle spirit' in it and, by coincidence, you bought paint that is called 'free spirit'.  What will be the next 'spirit' in your life and what will it apply to?:  It will be 'true spirit' and it will apply to my life.

October 21: Chicken Clock and Ohio University Kids Jersey

Sunday, October 21, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 9:57 PM
Given to Aria from Lindsay.


I don't understand this Chicken Clock.  There's this rooster, actually, with a disproportionately ginormous left claw.  A loaf of bread on a serving tray serves as the placeholder for his right claw.  He's standing behind this giant teapot, holding the front of it with four fingers in the front and presumably another human-like fifth digit for support in the back.  You round out this kitchen-themed clock with the fork and spoon sticking out behind this guy.  I don't know who I feel sorry for more--the rooster, the people who buy this kind of crap, or the Chinese people who make it.  My instincts say the rooster because he didn't have any choice in the matter and he can't escape from it like the characters in the Harry Potter paintings can at Hogwarts.


Aria
-Profession: Visual Artist, Organic Cafe Guru

-Favorite Wizard of Oz character: The Cowardly Lion

-How would someone who enjoys good-for-you, organic food let their hair down, culinarily speaking?: Pizza Luce.  I'd get a mock duck, banana pepper, BBQ sauce covered, pineapple and cheddar pizza, along with some ranch sauce on the side for dipping.

-You have a Heinz 57 dog (a lot of varieties of dogs) named Ketchup.  Did Heinz 57 get its name from:
[A] # of sexual positions the company had listed in its HR manual
[B] # of pickle varieties
[C] # of divorces in the Heinz family over the last 200 years
[D] ???

I think it's [D] because there were 57 total ingredients in the ketchup.  [Actually, they sold 57 varieties of products.]

-If you buy copier paper that's 99.99% jam free, what kind of jam is the other .01%?:  Elderberry
Copying never tasted so good

October 20: Louis Roth Necktie

Saturday, October 20, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 10:51 PM
Given to Lindsay from Sandu.
What a girl wants, what a girl needs...is not a
necktie
I boarded a plane to visit my brother today.  It's a good thing it was Delta.  It's no slap on the other airlines' reps.  I haven't been on a Delta flight in at least a couple of years.  But I love going with them not for their great airline deals or comfy seats or availability of flights.  No, I like Delta for the Biscoff cookies they serve.  If you've never had them, they are a delicious bite of cinnamon goodness.  Throw them up at 30,000 feet and it's heaven.

Given my robust excitement, I told the flight attendant today that they would make an excellent prison meal and also that I had not had them lately.  Do you hear that sound? That's the sound of surplus Biscoff cookies falling into my lap from that friendly little flight attendant.  How does five packs sound to you?  [Ching!] Aside from the first pack paired with some cran-apple juice, the remaining four will be delicious.

Lindsay
-Profession: Accountant

-Favorite question to ask a stranger: Would you like sparks to come out of your hand or be invisible forever?

-The Clan Linsday is a Scottish clan.  Fill in the following Mad Lib: They can take away our __(1)____, but they can't take away our __(2)____.  Computer (1) and Smart phone (2).  I can't live without my smart phone.

-You live with a tax accountant in, coincidentally, apartment number 1040.  What sort of exemptions do you make for each other?:  None.  We get a deduction for being ultra trendy.
-Would a Schedule C be akin to your bathroom cleaning rotation?:  Yeah.  Because we don't cook dinner and we have floors, so we don't vacuum.

-What would you tell a would-be accountant to crush his/her hopes and dreams?:  The CPA exam...yeah...it's terrible.  I'm not sure why someone didn't slap me when I wanted to be one.

October 19: "The Global Encyclopedia of Wine"

Posted by 366 White Elephants at 1:33 AM
Given to Sandu from Rusty.

Years from now, you'll be reading about a psychological experiment that me and my work colleagues unwittingly participated in.  As we've descended into fall, the temperature outside has obviously dropped.  However, the air conditioning in our building has mysteriously remained on.  We have thermostats in our office that work, that show temperature, and on which the temperature can be programmed to go up or down.  As they get progressively colder throughout the day, people go to them and try and make the office warmer.  The interesting bit about them is that they don't do a damn thing.

We've made several calls to the maintenance office and they've said the heat should be working.  We finally called a VP to come over.  He tells us that the heat will be turned on in a week.  And that the thermostats--just installed a year ago--have no function.

There would be riots at the mention
of Chester Arthur's name in Romania
Sandu
-Profession: Guitar Maker

-Favorite squash: Acorn

-You're Romanian.  Tell me a Romanian holiday that the U.S. should adopt and a U.S. holiday that Romania should adopt.: Mărțișor (March 1) is a day when all men and boys give flowers to every girl in their lives (mothers, aunts, cousins, girlfriends, wives, etc).
-I'd say Romanians should celebrate President's Day.  They wouldn't care, they would celebrate any day off and for a reason to drink.

-Many a man have romanced a woman with a guitar.  Would guitar making be akin to whispering in the guitar player's ear and telling him what to play for his love interest?:  No, the guitar maker is going straight for the girl and romancing her.

-Do you insist on silence when 'Dueling Banjos" comes on the radio?:  No.  I like banjos, but I don't care about that song.


October 18: Fire Extinguisher

Thursday, October 18, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 11:18 PM
Given to Rusty from Matt.

A couple of years ago, Matt was driving from the middle of Michigan to Cleveland and got stuck in a car backup around Ann Arbor.  He and his Air Force colleagues saw smoke coming from the other side of the highway.  They got out of their car, ran to the other side of the street and found that a car was on fire.  Matt was yelling to see if anyone was in the car; passersby said no one was in there.  The trio wasn't thrilled about getting too close to the burning car, but one of the bunch went over to see if anyone was in the car.  No one was. 

They still had a situation of the burning car on their hands.  Matt's friend ran to a semi and asked the driver for his fire extinguisher.  The driver told him some b.s. remark that he didn't have one.  A few minutes after the request, the police pulled up to the scene of the accident and put the fire out.

Since that time, Matt has made sure that he has a fire extinguisher in his car in case a situation like that would ever present itself again.  He asked that the recipient of the gift keep it in their car.  When I told Rusty of this request, she said she would.

Rusty
-Profession: Gym Check-in

-Favorite pamphlet color: Purple

-Does checking people in void the ability to check people out?:  Yes...most of the time.

-If you stepped on a rusty nail, who'd be the first person you'd call?:  My brother.

-Rusty the Diesel is a character on Thomas the Tank Engine.  What do you think the hardest part of being a train is?:  Pulling the whole bunch of cars.  I'm sure it gets taxing.  And if the train's really long, you could see your end.  You could lose a part of your train and not even know it.

October 17: Hardhat Stress Ball

Posted by 366 White Elephants at 2:06 AM
Given to Matt from Derrin.

I've got eight stress balls lining the metal railing that outlines my desk.  They came to me through a combination of boredom and orneriness.  As a side perk with my job, I get a bunch of product catalogs that showcase items companies can put their logo on.  I flipped open a page that said the company would offer to send me free samples of any item.  [insert evil laugh]  I asked them for four different stress relievers two summers ago and then ordered four others this past summer. 

I also have asked for samples of pint glasses, pins--I had a random collection of them, including "Princeton Theological Seminary, 2011-12 Madison, WI School District, and I'm a Nursing Cowboy, among others--and pens. 

Matt
-Profession: Video Production

-Favorite time of day to nap: 2:00 p.m.

-Nightlife is important to you and your wife.  What would daylife be for people getting off third shift?:  They should have a few drinks and turn it into nightlife.  There are bars open...bars you probably don't want to go to, but there are some open.  That would be like crossing over into different worlds--people getting a beer while people are going to a diner.  The beer people would be getting all social, while the others would be waking up.

-'Girls are nice like sugar and spice' goes the saying.  You have a wife and two daughters.  Tell us if they're more like sugar or spice and which kind.
-Wife: Brown sugar.  That kind of sugar's not used as much, but it's there and important.  She's quiet, but she knows what's going on with me without even saying anything.
-Daughter #1: Caramelized sugar.  She's a goof like me, but she's also compassionate.  She doesn't like watching America's Funniest Home Videos or the bad characters in Disney movies because she's worried about the people getting hurt or doesn't like people being mean [respectively].  It's kind of like that layer you can't get through, but she's soft and sweet underneath.
-Daughter #2: White sugar.  She's always smiling and brings happiness to us all.

-No one has driven one of your cars after you've owned it; they've all gone to the junkyard.  What item from each car would you salvage?:
-Plymouth Reliant K car: the frame
-'86 Buick Century: car alarm. That sounded like a cop car's--I got someone pulled over with it once.
-'87 Chevy Cavalier: hatchback.  I lived in that car and all my clothes were in the h-back.
-'92 Ford Ranger: stick shift
-'99 Hyundai Elantra: the gray side mirrors (on a maroon-colored car)
-'01 Chevy Cavalier: speakers.  I only had that car six months before it got totaled; the speakers were nice.

October 16: Pixies: Original Master Recording Record

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 1:27 AM
Given to Derrin from Betsy.

I'm beaming today--absolutely beaming!  The sun was shining more brightly today, children were laughing everywhere, and powdered iced tea was actually potable.  But that's not why I was thrilled today.  I was thrilled because I visited the James A. Garfield Presidential Monument! 


Dein Gepfurze riecht wie hoellisches Sauerkraut.
Here are some key facts about our 20th President:
  • openly opposed the adoption of the greenback
  • last of the Log Cabin presidents
  • liked triangles
  • campaigned in German
  • left-handed

Derrin
-Profession: Associate Marketing Manager

-Favorite word to print: To-do

-You're a Twitter addict.  What would your tweet be if you're congratulating a friend who got an ice cream cone, dropped it, slipped on the cone, met the girl of his dreams and then bought a jeep, which he then rode off into the desert?:  Congrats. Your life sucked and now it doesn't. 

-Roadtripping is one of your favorite pastimes.  If you were going to start a collection (i.e shot glasses, snowglobes), from rest stops, what would it be?:  Local food wrappers.

-What color were the peppers that Peter Piper picked?:  Green
-What time of year did he pick them?:  Early-autumn.

October 15: Dog-opoly

Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 1:03 AM
Given to Betsy from Matt.

You really don't want to be the Shoe gamepiece
You'll pay $200 if you get fleas.  The butcher shop and the fire hydrant are the dog "utilities".  The Great Dane is "Boardwalk".  And in the process of playing Dog-opoly, keep in mind that you are the dog, Parker Brothers is the tail, and you are being wagged.  Oh I forgot to mention Betsy loves Monopoly and loves dogs and her roommate is a pre-vet major.  That's got drinking game written all over it.

Go and do a search on Amazon for 'Monopoly' and you'll find that there is a version of Monopoly for any taste--Metallica, Family Guy, John Wayne, New York...and on and on.  They even have a Puppy-opoly as if Dog-opoly wasn't comprehensive enough.  For those of you willing to delve further into obscurity, try Redneck-opoly or Ocean-opoly.

I'd like to see a personal hygiene-opoly ($75 if you land on Ingrown Hair), 2nd Tier Soda Pop-opoly (I can't wait to collect rent with my three Tabs), and Fine Tobacco-opoly.

Crockett called his diary "The New
Adventures of Old Betsy"
Betsy
-Profession: Pre-Med Major

-Favorite rock climbing level: Bouldering

-As a summer lifeguard, how much of the time were you contemplating saving someone's life?:  About three-quarters of the time.  The other quarter of the time I was paying attention to the staff I was overseeing.
-What was the most dramatic rescue you imagined?:  If someone had a seizure in the water.  If that happens, you keep that person in the water and just make sure their head's out of it.

-Davy Crockett used two kinds of guns: Betsy and Old Betsy.  Do you think 'Betsy' was just a euphemism for his surgically attached bicep?:  I don't know about that and I don't know if I'd like my name associated with a bicep or firearm.  I do like the idea of getting a musket named after me.

-Betsy Ross was the first seamstress of the American Flag.  What do you think she liked to sew outside of flags?:  I think she sewed clothes for her grandchildren.  Little dresses like the Amish make.  And bonnets and button-downed shirts. 

October 14: Campbell's Soup Travel Container

Monday, October 15, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 12:34 AM
Given to Matt from Kennetha.

This weekend I went out for breakfast twice--at Gene's Place yesterday and Bob Evans today.  On the front of B.E.'s menu, which is designed to make you think the farm's just out back, is the company slogan: "We treat strangers like friends and friends like family."

That sounds great, except if your family's clinically dysfunctional, takes communal baths (as mine does), or is going through a blood feud.  I'd probably also avoid Bob Evans if there are any traces of incest running through your bloodlines.  In the aforementioned instances, I would opt for being treated like a stranger. 

Friends can get under Matt's skin by
telling him Newton was just inventing
a primitive form of 'bobbing for apples'
Matt
-Profession: Lead Systems Analyst

-Favorite Panera Bread Bagel: Cinnamon Crunch

-Someone who is witty is said to be 'quick on their feet'.  What would a witty track athlete be called?:  Quick in their cerebral cortex?  I don't know if that's even the part that it [wittiness] comes from.

-How many times per month do people ask you to fix their printer jam?:  Never.  I get computer help requests more from people in my personal life.  Someone asked me where the 'Any' key is because they couldn't find it when prompted to 'press any key to continue'.

-You're a distant relative of Isaac Newton.  Do you have a strange affinity for apples?:  Very strong.  I love honey crisp.  I've never had an apple fall on my head, but I do believe in gravity. 

October 13: 'Neccos for Breakfast' and 'Together, Pamoja, Tenebo!' CDs

Saturday, October 13, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 10:42 PM
Given to Kennetha from Joanne.

This morning, my brother, mom, friend Maria and me went out to breakfast at an establishment called Gene's Place.  Gene decorated the place--an original Perkins restaurant many moons ago--with many 60s crooner photos, vintage sports memorabilia and WWII posters.  He also had many custom names for the choices on his menu, including 'The Jack Benny'--two pancakes and two eggs--which is what I got, or 'The Don Knotts'--a sirloin steak with a couple of sides. 

We placed our order and my mom was the first to speak up.  "I can't eat their syrup," she said.  "I won't."  "I have to agree," I chimed in.  "If I wanted a bottle of corn syrup, I...I...well, you know what I mean.  I don't want a bottle of corn syrup."  Maria remained silent, taking inventory of the increasingly disgruntled environment.  "I'll be right back," said my brother Mike.

Mike left to the local grocery store and came back with some Grade A Dark Organic Amber Maple Syrup from Canada.  No questions.  No dirty looks from the wait staff.  Gene didn't even notice.  Mom was happy.  I was happy.  Mike was happy.  Maria abstained.

Civilian personnel on base were called
'civilian ho-hos'
Kennetha
-Profession: College student

-Favorite color of a garage: Blue-ish gray with red and white trim

-You're the daughter of two military parents.  Is there a better nickname for military offspring than 'brats'?:  I like 'military Oreos' better.

-As a creative writing major, if you're unsatisfied with a diary entry, do you ever re-write it to make it more scandalous or graphic in detail?:  No, never.  I figure it had better be real...it's my life story!

-In high school, you played 'Teenager #1' in an indie film called "Distorted Reality".  As the first of four named 'teenager' characters, were you offered first right of refusal for bathroom breaks?:  We didn't have a bathroom and I didn't need to use it on set.
-What about the craft table?:  I did get to go first, yes.
-Did you bond with the other three 'teenagers'?:  Yeah, we all got the parts because we were in a youth-based acting camp.  It was cool.

October 12: Steve Miller's 'Nobody's Women'

Friday, October 12, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 9:31 PM
Given to Joanne from Steve.
Clearly not a book you'd start a first date with
I had an event today where I ordered many Jimmy John's sandwiches--all served wonderfully on three round party trays.  I was expecting 30 people; less than a third of that total came.  I was left with a bunch of sandwiches that I could not and preferred not to eat.  My co-workers took one or two of the sandwiches halves before leaving work today, but I was still left with a boatload of sandwiches.  I was about to give up, but Lady Luck paid me a visit.  It just so happened that a party was being thrown in the lobby of the building where I work--a party for eco-friendly folk.

I'm reluctant to admit this, but I backed the organizers of the party into a corner and offered them the leftover sandwiches.  If they refused to take them, I would have call them hypocrites.  If they accepted them, they would have fulfilled their mission and I would have been rid of the three trays.  They took the trays and had plenty of sandwiches to pair with their alcohol consumption.  I did my public health service for the evening.

Nell can eat as many Ginger-O's as
she wishes
Joanne
-Profession: Corporate Compliance Officer

-Favorite vegetable to cream?:  Asparagus

-If Joann Fabrics and Pat Catans were vying for Michael's love, who would win out?:  Joann would because Pat's really a guy.

-Joanne Woodward (a.k.a. "Nell" Newman) is pictured on many a Newman's Own product.  Which one do you think she had the heaviest hand in developing?:  Any of the creamy salad dressings.

-If someone's not in compliance at your company, how would you rank the following punishments, in order of most to least severe: 10-minute, tied down tickle; peeling 100 lbs. of potatoes for the company picnic; wearing a vinyl unitard covered in Vaseline and sliding from one cube to another for entire day; shear all men's beards in a community that are too long?

1) vinyl unitard with Vaseline
2) shearing beards
3) 10-min. tickle
4) 100 pounds of potatoes to peel

October 11: Barbara Walters 'Audition' Memoir, Pack of Trident Gum, and LED Pocket Flashlight

Posted by 366 White Elephants at 12:15 AM
Given to Steve from Lizzie.
LED flashlight makes this easy to read in
the closet...and out of sight from your friends
I think I would have a hard time co-habitating with an investigative journalist.  Aside from the weird camera angles TV stations use to promote their reports (if you don't know what I'm talking about, the camera does some free styling, hovering type thing), I'm sure investigative reporters are nice folks.  But can you imagine how annoying it would be to eat your oatmeal with them?  For instance, take the scenario below:

-Spouse Ursula: "Enjoy your oatmeal, dear,"
-Investigative Reporter Trudy: "What did you put on top?"
-Ursula: "Some currants."
-Trudy: "One looks like a craisin."
-Ursula: "No, I took them all out of the currant bag in the fridge."
-Trudy: "That's not good enough, damn it.  I'm going to get a microscope to see if 30x magnification will help identify it.  Then I'm taking this currant impostor down to a food safety testing lab to see what its chemical composition is.  Then I'm going to install a 24/7 monitoring camera to see if you really grabbed the currant bag or if you're trying to mess with my head.  Then I'm going to contact the supermarkets in a 50-mile radius to see if this sort of contamination existed in other cities.

That's just plain exhausting for one currant/craisin.  It's not bloody worth it.

I can write more news stories about you
than you can even conceive of
Steve
-Profession: Investigative Journalist

-Favorite 'Steve Miller' band song: The Joker

-You live in Texas.  In order of importance, what three things should you mess with in that state?:
1) armadillos
2) border crossing where people get popped for weed
3) old oil money

-Given that your full name is Steve Miller, if you had to put together your own band, what other journalists would you have in it?:
James Elroy would be my lead singer.  David Carr would play guitar.  Juan Williams on keyboards.  And Buck Henry from MSNBC would be on drums.

-As an investigative journalist, what would you uncover from a caper at a suburban dry cleaners involving a missing sock?:  I'd find the missing channel changer, too.  There would be no malice, just ineptitude.

October 10: Iron City Beer Glass

Thursday, October 11, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 12:18 AM
Given to Lizzie from Juantesha.

During my pleasant little chat with Lizzie tonight, she turned the tables and asked me a question about an island and what three items I would bring on it.  Here are my thoughts.

First draft:
1) Baked Beans
2) Elizabeth Hurley
3) Richard Dean Anderson

The idea here is that the the beans would sustain the three of us, while MacGyver figures out how to build a raft to get us off the island.  Liz Hurley and I would bide time by making out while he's doing his thing.

Second draft:
1) Baked Beans
2) Emma Stone/Rachel McAdams/Liz Hurley
3) Richard Dean Anderson

The only difference here is that Emma had my heart in The Help.  Rachel had me in The Notebook.  However, neither have a British accent.  The debate rages on.

Third draft:
1) Liz Hurley
2) Richard Dean Anderson
3) A taser

Liz can stay.  I still need to get off the island.  I'm worried about RDA moving in on Liz.  A taser should keep him at bay.

Final answers:
1) Liz Hurley
2) Richard Dean Anderson
3) Book of Spells

I would have no way to recharge the taser and I'm not asking our Stargate SG-1 star to develop a recharger that would only hurt him.  Instead, I would enchant him with a spell that would make Liz look like a clump of inedible moss.  Hard to imagine, but that's my plan.

Checks friends' blood pressures using
the '60 Minutes' watch
Lizzie
-Profession: College student

-Favorite news anchor: Stephen Colbert

-You aspire to become a TV broadcaster on 60 Minutes.  Are you more likely to be hypnotized or pumped up by the sound of the ticking watch?:  Hypnotized.  I would become a drone.  I would be likely to channel Dan Rather.

-During the summer, you were a Democratic spy working for the Republican party.  During the summer, you heard several ridiculous things, including a pronouncement that Ronald Reagan would defeat Jesus in a fight and that Jesus would be Reagan's VP.  If Reagan had to battle the following foes, would he win or lose?:
-Reagan vs. Chuck Norris: Lose.  No one loses to Chuck Norris
-Reagan vs. Tasmanian Devil: Lose. Reagan's an old man.  He wouldn't survive
-Reagan vs. Steven Seagal: Win. I don't know action hero Steven Seagal.  I only know sad, reality-show Steven Seagal.
-Reagan vs. Wolverine: Win.  Reagan has bigger claws.

-On her next trip to buy a home computer, do you think Adele has 'gotta get a Dell'?:  Yeah.  She should get one.  And one for the baby.


October 9: Anakin Skywalker Pillowcase, Monster Lunchbag, Metal Waterbottle, and Can of Spaghetti-O's

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 12:21 AM
Given to Juantesha from Danielle.

I love days like today.  I didn't have someone scheduled in advance for today's gift exchange, so it's a little bit of an adventure trying to see if someone's up to talking with me (a stranger at that point) and then finding a gift to pass along.  In those situations, I really wish I had someone to vouch for my character, so that their finger doesn't migrate to the security button so eagerly.  I approached Juantesha this evening shortly before her shift was ending and she happily agreed to swap gifts.  Yay for nice humans!

Her customer service asking for $$
when someone lands on her property
is outstanding 
Juantesha
-Profession: Hotel Front Desk Customer Service

-Favorite candy bar: Milky Way

-When playing Monopoly, does simply building houses frustrate you?:  No, I'm okay building houses.  And I don't trash talk when I put up a hotel either.

-If you're running low at home, do you help yourself to the guest soaps?:  [She looks behind her] Sure, it's always the same brand.
-Towels?: No
-Sheets?: No

-Has anyone ever asked you the thread count for the hotel sheets?: No
-What is it?: I don't know

October 8: 4 Pack of Beer Glasses

Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 12:45 AM
Given to Danielle from Chuck.

What do y'all think of two letter abbreviated first names (i.e. J.K. Rowling)?  Perhaps you've not given the matter any thought.  In that case, here's a hot list that breaks down most of the known names.

Mean: J.R., J.C.
Artistic: B.B., J.K., B.A, K.D.
Athletic: M.J.
Preppy: J.P., A.J., D.J.
Cool: K.J., T.K., any alliteration (i.e. C.C.)
Scary: B.J., L.T.
Hot: K.T., M.J. (if a girl)
Clueless: P.J., J.D.

Fastest crocheter this side of the
Potomac River
Danielle
-Profession: Evolutionary Biology Major

-Favorite animal's evolutionary tree: Whale

-You know how to work on cars and also how to crochet.  What could you do faster--change a car's oil or crochet a washcloth?:  Definitely crocheting a washcloth.  I could do that in 30 minutes.  It would take about 45 minutes to change oil.  I'm not as proficient with that.

-Given your major, how big of a badass is Darwin?:  He's a pretty big badass.  As he was going to publish his work, someone else was writing the same thing.  But Darwin stole that guy's work.  He was a badass at stealing other people's work.

-In the same manner that Chuck (yesterday's gift recipient) makes friends with other Chucks, how good do you interact with Daniel's?:  I know a lot of Dan's.  Many of them are good friends.  My dad's name is Daniel.  But I know only one Danielle; we don't get along.