December 31: Graduation Photo Frame and 2 Disposable Kodak Cameras

Monday, December 31, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 7:44 PM
Given to Sarah from Thomas.

Shakespeare himself could not have crafted the irony any better: the camera shop employee gets two disposable cameras and a graduation-themed frame!  Ha ha ha!  Sarah told me she's going to use them just 'cuz she has them now.  You go girl, but that's akin to telling a pastry chef rolling out cookie dough to use the bottom of a pail instead.

Here we are on the penultimate day of the Great White Elephant Gift Exchange.  Tomorrow is the final day when my gift from Sarah is unveiled.  There will be no spoiler alert, but I can confidently say that I really like what I got.  It's no sack of loot, though.

Part II: The Blog is Ending

Over the last month, I've had a number of people ask me what I'll do when the gift exchange is over.  I will now have around an hour and a half every day built back into my schedule, so I'm looking forward to filling that time with re-finding my life's purpose, making long-term plans now that we've breezed by the Rapture and Apocalypse, and trying different kinds of cheese on an assortment of crackers.

I've also been asked if there's a favorite gift that has passed through my hands.  Here are my favorite five:
1) Emergency Oxygen Drop-down Mask and Seatbelt Demo
2) Giant Chicken Wing Hat
3) Ceramic Cheetah Head
4) Indoor Kite
5) White Trash Rubber Chicken
Honorable Mention: Ugly Sweater T-shirt, Disco Queen Fish Ornament, Decorative Box Full of Pennies

A number of people asked me if I am going to continue it.  NO!  While a year of passing along white elephant (and other) gifts has been scintillating, there are new presents to wrap, new bows to tie.  Think about it for a minute:  If I did this for another, say, seven months, what would be the point of a 19-month project?  It doesn't have a certain finality or roundness to it.

If I did the project for 10 years, then it would just be my 'thing'.  Imagine that: I walk into a place and, under their breath, people mumble and grumble, "Oh, here comes that gift exchange guy.  Keep looking down until he passes."  And my obit would read something like this: "Devoted white elephant gift exchanger...died alone."

I leave you with good tidings and happy thoughts for 2012.  I'll see you for one more day tomorrow.

She'd really want to comb Burt's stache
Sarah
-Profession: Artist

-Favorite failed New Year's resolution:  Being a more patient driver

-If you had a crush on a guy named Art, what might you do for him to let him know you were interested?:  I'd introduce him to the wonderful world of bourbon and take him to hear some good blues music.

-You have a distant relation to Burt Reynolds.  What burning, unanswered question would you ask upon meeting him?:  At what age did he discover the mustache.
-What activity would he be doing at your family reunion?:  We would be playing cornhole.

-Take a photographic term and turn it into a colloquial expression:  "Slow down your shutter speed" would be for people who are too impatient.

December 30: John Cena Wrestling Figure

Posted by 366 White Elephants at 12:09 AM
Given to Thomas from Dan.

Part I: The Blog is Winding Down

This year has been full of entertaining surprises and I've enjoyed the privilege of spending time with 365 great people this year; I've met over 200 new people in the process, including today's exchanger Thomas.  I met him as he and his fiance were preparing to meet with their wedding officiant at a local Starbucks; we got together after he returned from his honeymoon.

Below is a list of some memorable exchanges:

-Most unusual place: It definitely has to be getting a two-for-one exchange on my return flight home from San Jose, CA, meeting fellow passenger Jesse and flight attendant Breezy in the process

-Most serendipitous: "I, too, love U.S. Presidential history" sounded like sweet nothings when my long-lost friend Sharon gave me two DVDs--JFK and W--along with her gift and agreed to come with me to the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Museum in Fremont, Ohio

-Quickest: 6 minutes with Jessica; when it was over, I felt like I could run down the leasing options for a new car in the four seconds left on a 30-second ad

-Most spontaneous: I was visiting my brother in Minneapolis and I walked down to visit his neighbor Carol in the basement of the apartment complex.  I asked her if she wanted to participate, she immediately said yes, then walked into her apartment and plucked her gift off the wall within 10 seconds.

-Longest distance I've traveled for one:  I'm based in Cleveland, but I've incorporated my exchanges during my travels to San Francisco (the longest), Minneapolis, Chicago, Wisconsin, Pittsburgh, and Washington D.C.

-Most random non-exchange part of the exchange: When my friend Ray and I got together, the waitress asked us if we'd like to get dessert three times.  By the third time, we knew we weren't getting out of that place without our thighs begging for a break.


Thomas
-Profession: Data Manager

-Favorite part of the wedding vow: The part in ours when we took the Green Lantern oath

-You are probably familiar with the expression 'doubting Thomas'.
What % of the time do you doubt?:  40
What % of the time do you believe?:  20
What % of the time don't you care?: 40

-If Thomas Edison, Thomas Jefferson, and Thomas Kinkade were competing against each other in a swim race, who'd win?:  Kinkade would be first, then Edison, then Jefferson.  Edison probably took a lot of naps, so he'd be tired.  Jefferson probably had some ancient disease and wouldn't do well.

-You've been known to eat apples in the shower.  What fruit wouldn't be appropriate to eat in the shower?:  Oranges and other skinned citrus fruits
-What would be a good fruit for the bath?:  Grapes
-What would be a bad fruit for the bath?:  Pomegranates

December 29: 1984 Edition of Ripley's Believe It or Not Board Game

Sunday, December 30, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 1:36 AM
Given to Dan from Christopher.

Dan and I were thumbing through the questions in the card deck and came across this most puzzling one:

Dan (me) _______ when he goes to TJ Maxx.
A) gets giddy at the sight of jellies and jams from France and Switzerland
B) spends a lot of time trying on women's shoes
C) takes naps in the display furniture
D) takes suitcases in the dressing room to 'try them on'

There's a half-ounce of truth in (C), but it's (A).  I didn't enter a single store during the month of December this year, save for a trip in early in the month to pick up some French sour cherry jam.  Oh man, was it delicious!  It's so good with some cream cheese on a bagel or toast!  The jam prior was a Swiss mixed berry, which was also superb.  I get super pumped at the jams and other foods in the Homegoods section of the store, along with coffee, chips, teas (I just had a cup of a lemongrass-nettle tea from England) and, occasionally, some chocolate.

He'd get laughed at if he just ate a
donut hole.
Dan
-Profession: Naturalist

-Favorite cereal combination: Crispix, Kix, Frosted Mini Wheats and Lucky Charms

-This year, you rode and finished in the middle of the pack at the Tour de Donut, a bicycle race that allows riders to decrease their overall ride time by five minutes per donut they consume.  If you could assign specific characteristics to the following donuts, what would they be?:
-maple glaze: 10 people behind me would slide like they were on banana peels
-Boston creme: it would be a shot of HGH (human growth hormone)--I'd have increased power
-chocolate glaze:  my eyes would become glazed over and my vision would be changed; instead of powering past cornfields, I'd be in paradise
-French cruller: it would be a missile attack for the rider in front of me
-jelly:  turns the entire road to jelly

-You write comic books and enjoy starting controlled forest fires.  Come up with a plot for a comic that involves you and sensible forestry:  The Dark Lord--Maple Leaf Muscle--and his minions have invaded a neighborhood forest and are bullying my friends Old Hickory and Mr. Chestnut.  I tried to fight Maple Leaf by punching and shooting him, but it doesn't work.  I finally realize that flames will do the trick.

Over the course of a four-issue arc, Old Hickory, Mr. Chestnut and I mount on our white tailed deer steeds and use our flame throwers to eliminate Maple Leaf and his gang in a methodical manner.  We finally restore the neighborhood to a proper balance.

-You're the 25th bearded gift exchanger.  Are you jolly?:  Yes!  Oh yeah, very jolly.  I'm as jolly as Mr. Claus.

December 28: "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind"

Saturday, December 29, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 9:53 AM
Given to Christopher from Tessa.

As the season has progressed, a few Christmas letters have trickled in to my mailbox.  They're always fun to receive, oftentimes featuring the standard content of weddings, trips, offspring updates, and the latest scholarly papers published.  Yes, yes, yes, yes--I'm sure these were all highlights for the year, but do they really capture what's interesting about your friends and family?  Do they give you a sense of how their year went?  I am firmly in the camp that says no.  I'm not complaining, but I think we all probably all want to know a little more.  I recommend telling them what kind of information you are looking for now, so that you may receive a tailored letter next year.  What you want is probably different than what I want, but here are some examples of things that are important to me:

  • approximate weight of legumes consumed in the year
  • number of unsolicited and solicited neck rubs received
  • who they think the best game show host is on television, plus an accompanying half-page bio of that host
  • a detailed family history since the end of Prohibition
  • having each family member answer the question "if you were stranded on a deserted island, what three items would you take?", but change it to an archipelago to mix it up a little
  • bar graph showing the cost of their city's trash removal service over the past three years
  • first food each family goes for when they're hungry 



Christopher
-Profession: Embedded Software Engineer

-Favorite part about renting a car:  Declining the insurance

-In casual conversation, you sometimes refer to yourself as a 'rocket scientist'.  What would it take for you to impress Shania Twain?:  Tune the satellite thruster control system to make music.

-You are the product of two German professors.  Based on this information alone, if you went back in time when you were an infant, what would you have imagined yourself to be?:  Professional skydiver for Oktoberfest

-You graduated from Oberlin College, which has a proud history of being one of the first colleges in the country to admit minorities and women.  What population of a dubious distinction do you think Oberlin will be next in line to admit?:  Rubik's Cube champions

December 27: Black & Decker Automatic Jar Opener

Friday, December 28, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 1:10 AM
Given to Tessa from Ron.

At Christmas mass, my family had two encounters with people masquerading as FBI and CIA operatives, inspired by my mom's recent health issue.

FBI: My sister is a reader at church.  A woman who lives in the same down as my family approached my sister and asked her how my mom was feeling.  "Good," she replied.
"No really, how is your mom doing?"
-"She's good," my sister said again.
"No, that's not quite right.  What's going on with your mom?"
-"She's feeling fine."
"No, I saw you driving her in town the other day.  How is your mom doing?"

And there were about five other questions trying to get my sister to break.  What did she want her to say?  "Yes, after your ninth question asking the same damn thing, I realize I was mistaken and that my mom's getting a sex change operation.  It's been pretty hard on my dad.  Send flowers, please"

CIA: Another woman and her son were on covert ninja stalking mode once church ended.  My mom was talking with an old friend, while my brother and I stood like bodyguards on her right side.  First the woman lingered a little too long after getting up, adjusting her coat and scarf and trying to find that imaginary pack of Lifesavers that dropped in her purse from heaven.  Then, she wasn't fully ready to leave, taking off her coat and scarf, putting it in the pew, fixing her necklace, then re-dressing.

She proceeded to walk to the back section of the church, circling back on the other side of the row of seats, and pausing on a parallel plane with our position.  She moved to the front of the church, doing some extra genuflecting (getting bonus points with God), looked back to see if my mom was free, and the re-adjusted her coat and scarf again and tried to find that Applebee's red buzzer that appeared to be going off in her purse.  Finally, after casing the whole place, she left.

Time of journey if she left on a normal route: 30 seconds.
Time of journey with the route she took: 4 minutes, 15 seconds.


Tessa
-Profession: Explorer

-Favorite part of a volcano:  Ashes in the sky

-You host a radio show.  If Delilah, John Tesh, TK Tom Kent, and Ryan Seacrest were all playing poker, who'd have the best poker face?:  Delilah.  I remember listening to her before going to bed.  She'd tell some super sad story or have some dramatic element in her story.  She'd have pretend emotions on the radio, so I'm sure she'd be good.

-For fun, you like Indian fusion--a kind of dance; it also sounds like a kind of food.  What kind of dance move would 'curry' be?:  Using your arms in a circular motion in a smooth, but fast manner at a dramatic moment in the song.

-What's the last thing you approved with a thumbs up?:  Today at work, I approved a black t-shirt contest.

December 26: Harley Davidson Sunglass Case, Non-Harley Davidson Pair of Sunglasses, 5 Packs of Glove Hand Warmers, and Cleveland Browns Magnet

Wednesday, December 26, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 5:10 PM
Given to Ron from Dino.


As 2012 draws to a close, I've been asked by a number of people what my "next" blog project will be.  It was around this time last year when I got the idea for this project, but truth be told, I don't know what it'll be either or if I'll do one.  But I've come up with a short list of possible projects for 2013.  Here they are, ranked in order of feasibility:

-Bosley hair treatment for my calves and forearms
-Changing a lightbulb in someone's home or office every day (that's a 'bright' idea--har har)
-An anti-abstience campaign: A 5-year voyage
-Making every day Valentine's Day with every person I meet
-Writing a weekly horoscope for salt-smelling zombie humans


The other tagline could be
"Bus Drivers Also Bed A Lot of Women"
Ron
-Profession: Retired Bus Driver

-Favorite month: July

-Have you ever driven a party bus?:  I've driven one. yeah.  Oh yeah, yes.  I drove Lolly the Trolly.  They sang and drank.

-Ronald is your full name.  Ronnie is the pet form and Ron is the short form.  Would you rather be a pet or short?:  Short.  I like Ron.

-If a bus driver had a tagline, what would it be?:  Bus Drivers Have More Fun.  I know a lot of bus drivers who got married.  They found their spouses on the bus.

December 25: City Chic: Six Stemless Wineglasses

Posted by 366 White Elephants at 12:51 AM
Given to Dino from Christine.
Country Chic glasses only have the stem
This handy little set of stemless wine glasses is perfect for someone who lacks social graces--in particular, how to hold a wine glass.  If you take a normal wine glass with its long stem and try to drink out of it with your chubby little fingers around the glass part of it, you look foolish.  You'll also look foolish if your fingers go up and down on the stem like a string bass during the course of your dinner party.  But I'm not here to offer etiquette tips.  I'm here to momentarily distract you from your last dinner party when you and this guy named Will were talking about which Glad storage bag is the best for gravy and you were looking for an out.

If you bust these out for serving wine, you'll be a-okay.  No stem to confuse things--and only one logical place to grab.  Kind of like a handshake.

If Dino likes you, he'll give you cookies.
If he doesn't, you'll get pita chips.
Dino
-Profession: Automotive Service Consultant

-Favorite Flintstone character: Betty

-You enjoy riding motorcycles where a 'hello' wave is low, somewhat cocked thumbs up.  Come up with a new gesture and meaning when riding your motorcycle:  It'd be a flat hand parallel to the ground, which would mean to ride steady.

-Between you, me and the rest of the world, are there any fluff car parts?:  A lot of the pollution stuff could go and your car would start.  And probably the studs on the wheels on the exhaust manifold.

-I'm sure you greatly appreciate hearing the the term 'grease monkey' to describe your profession.  Can you think of an equally flattering slang term for the customers who would call you that?:  PITA (Pain In The Ass)

December 24: Photo by Sandra

Tuesday, December 25, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 1:32 AM
Given to Christine from Sandra.


This amazing photo that features a slice of Washington state comes courtesy of Sandra.  In applying the expression "judging a book by its cover" to Sandra, you'd find her interesting, talented, fun and artistic.  But, we're told never to make snap judgements when we are meeting people, so I'm just waiting for her alter-ego, Captain Dullsville, to spring out of her body and put me to sleep.

What won't put me to sleep, I'll tell you, is buckwheat flour.  Mmm..mmm!  I love it.  I was in the flour aisle of the grocery store yesterday, trying to figure out which kind I was going to buy in order to make some dee-licious pancakes for my family.  The final contestants were buckwheat, spelt, and cornmeal.  It took about 30 seconds of rationalizing to get to an answer; let me take you on my reverie.

Years ago, I helped market maple syrup from a local farm at a farmer's market; oftentimes, we'd make buckwheat pancakes.  When friendly patrons would stop by for a taste, they ultimately would mumble something like, "Mmm...is this buckwheat?...mmm."  The 'mmm's' in this instance used to signify deep pleasure and appreciation in eating a tasty colon roto-rooter.  And if they sampled that pancake with that syrup, they'd buy some syrup.  The buckwheat symbolized hearth and home or some other non-sense like that.  Simply put: I cleaned up.

So back to the store.  With this memory firmly in tow, the other two couldn't stack up (har har).  It's fun to impress your friends with spelt by telling them it's the world's oldest crop plant in the world, but buckwheat's the new spelt.  Cornmeal's fun if you don't want certain people to eat your pancakes, namely energy hawks who think it's a waste to grow any corn products designed for eating.  As you correctly predicted, buckwheat won.

Christine
-Profession: Theater Tech and Make-up Artist

-Favorite method to spend your money: Tapping my Pay Pass or Blink credit card with a built-in micro chip

-How would two make-up artists who are dating, but are currently fighting, make up?:  By making it look like they got into a fight.  Bruises are fun to make.

-As a figure skater for 12 years, if you had to recommend kids not doing either a triple-toe-loop or a flying camel at home, which one would it be?:  Probably the triple-toe-loop.  If you do a flying camel and miss, you'll land on your stomach and maybe get the wind knocked out of you.  If you miss on a triple-toe-loop, you'll break an ankle.

-What do you think is the most convincing Halloween make-up?:  Real Effects that makes fake blood in disgustingly real varieties like lung blood, old blood, or semi-congealed blood.

December 23: Campus Queen 1934 Trophy and "Treasury of Baseball Drills" Book

Monday, December 24, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 1:57 AM
Given to Sandra from Paul.
The trophy was awarded for anyone who
could get to home plate.
When Sandra dropped off the food to my table last evening, I'm not sure she knew what she was getting into.  I was impressed with her spunk, so much so that I'll be suggesting that Ben & Jerry's make her custom flavor of Spunky Spumoni, with her face and some thumbs up or something spontaneous adorning the pint.  After a short get-to-know-you conversation ensued, I asked her to be a part of this exchange and--presto--I met up with her today.  4 bonus points to Sandra!

Actually, that's the other thing about her that caught my attention.  We both have a bonus point system in place for people who do awesome things.  The only difference is that I would have to be friends with her for like 42 years before I saw any tangible rewards from it; granted, I didn't flush out all the details from her, but she had something crazy like 100,000 bonus points to achieve anything.  Mine is fairly simple:

25 points = ice cream cone
50 points = free limerick + cone
75 points = 1000 of my American Airlines frequent flyer miles + limerick + cone
100 points = polishing of one pair of shoes + free pint of beer

And the scale ascends up and up.  I think one person got over the 100 point mark and was at something like 175 when I bought her dinner, julienned some carrots for her, and accompanied her to Bath & Bodyworks for over an hour.

For the record, Sandra, as of December 23, 2012, has 7 bonus points.


With one Sandra makeover, I just
became the second most interesting
man in the world.
Sandra
-Profession: Bartender; Artist; Entrepreneur

-Favorite activity to do on a long layover: Call family

-You enjoy giving people makeovers in your spare time.  How could you spruce me up?:  A suit and tie.  I'd put you on a nice park bench with a great dane and two hot babes standing behind you.  I'd have you smoking a cigar and sipping on a glass of champagne.

-If you and Sandra Day O'Connor were doing your favorite hobbies--gardening and drawing--what would you be doing specifically with her?:  We'd be working on the hot pepper part of the garden and we'd be drawing little babies.

-The sound of laser printers warming up makes you happy.  What does the sound of one being forcibly shut down do to you?:  It freaks me out.  I have to take some deep breaths.

December 22: Oberlin College Tote Bag

Sunday, December 23, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 1:57 AM
Given to Paul from John.

I did a little peeking into the metrics behind my blog yesterday, including data such as the number of page views I get, where they come from, and how people find my site when they are doing an internet search.  Someone stumbled onto my site by searching "Is deodorant a good white elephant gift?".  Now, as we've been seeing day-in and day-out this year, white elephant gifts are items that are re-gifted or are humorous.  Let's use that description to evaluate this query:

Would deodorant make an appropriate re-gifted item?  The short answer--yes.  For example, if you're an effeminate man who got somehow managed to get some Degree Women in your stocking, that stick might be in fertile territory for a re-gift.  Or if you wear Brut and want to pass on some class to another chap, this would also be excellent to pass back through the cycle.

Would deodorant be humorous?:  The short answer-no.  Most people need deodorant to find a home socially.  I don't want to consider the possibilities without it.  The only time when passing along deodorant would be humorous is if someone's shit, and armpits, didn't stink, and wafted instead of the potpourri found in your aunt's house.  "Yeah, let's get Jim some deodorant for the exchange," exclaims one co-worker to another.  "He smells good all the time.  That will be hilarious!"

Paul
-Profession: Development Officer

-Favorite stadium jeer: Give him a kiss

-You used to throw batting practice to Cleveland Indians players.  When you put 'mustard' on the ball, you throw it faster.  What happens when you put 'ketchup' on the ball?:  It's a spit ball--kind of like a high speed knuckle ball.
-What about relish on the ball?:  It's the ejection ball.

-You have a nice mustache...when does a 'stache become creepy on someone?:  When it's trimmed Hitler style.

-Paul the Octopus successfully predicted the winner of the 2010 World Cup.  What else would you trust him to predict?:  Better answers to the stupid baseball questions you just asked me.

December 21: Batman Mighty Wallet and Water Clock

Saturday, December 22, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 12:30 AM
Given to John from Amanda.

I'd like to give myself, you, and my lone visitor from Jordan a pat on the back for getting through today and effectively sticking our tongues out at the Mayans and Nostradamus.  My co-worker Anne was particularly sensitive to my jitters when I told her of the estate buyer who was stationed in my apartment last evening, looking to buy all of my worldly possessions.  She texted, "New Zealand made it to December 21", so I kicked the buyer out before he could pilfer my toaster oven.  This morning I found a delicious chocolate and custard flaked pastry on my desk, courtesy of Anne, with a simple note written on the bag--"We're still alive".  I feel like we dodged a major bullet, but that took none of the suspense out of my meals today.  All were Apocalypse-themed (think multiple courses with samplings of each appetizer, entree, and dessert on the menu) and all featured some raised eyebrows from the company I kept; they probably thought my sanity had been wiped out by a giant meteor.

People try to remain friends after
a trade gone awry
John
-Profession: Alumni Relations Professional

-Favorite tennis player: Boris Becker

-You've been to every baseball stadium (31 in total).  How much did you spend on overpriced souvenirs and food?:  I got a souvenir cup ($10), a drink ($5), a stadium dog ($5) and a bobblehead ($25).  So about $45 per stadium.

-You're a two-time fantasy baseball champion.  What kind of smack can you talk?:  Well, there's daily smack, even in the offseason.  It usually revolves around trades.  If someone makes a bad trade, we'll ask, "Did you get kissed first before you got f&*ked?'

-You're the 24th bearded gift exchanger.  Are you jolly?:  I am very jolly, even with it turning grey.




December 20: "The Husband"

Friday, December 21, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 7:36 AM
Given to Amanda from Jason.

Since the Watergate scandal during Richard Nixon's term, don't you find that adding -gate to your issue du jour is really fun?  Think Spygate (the New England Patriots taping their opponents plays) or Nipplegate (Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl).  I like adding -gate to my own personal struggles.  For instance, I had trouble affixing a tie on the other day before work and called it Tiegate.  I had a stuffed mushroom entree that didn't agree with me, which became Portabellogate.  I couldn't find my friend Jack in a crowded room, so I called it Where-the-f&*k-is-that-b#*&^#d-Jack-gate.  I'm sure, by now, you get the drift.

Try it out for size.  Not only will you find that adding -gate to your issues is an easy formula, but you'll also find it downright pleasurable.  And it'll add that little ounce of drama (and news coverage) you probably didn't realize you were missing.

Amanda
-Profession: Fishwife

-Favorite makeshift bed: When all of the guest houses in Laos were full, I knocked on a villager's door and they put us up.

-You have a blackbelt in Tae Kwon Do; in Korea, anyone who has a blackbelt in it must register themselves as a weapon.  If people with a blackbelt had previously named their biceps (i.e. Smith and Wesson; Lois & Clark), what would they do if they wanted to also name themselves in the same manner?:  It'd be okay.  They would name all three parts (or more) as if there were parts on a sophisticated weapon, like a Swiss Army knife.

-A fishmonger (the male version of a fishwife) is referred to in Hamlet as a 'fleshmonger', or pimp.  Describe how you would distinguish yourself as a pimp.:  With fishnet stockings and Catwoman boots.

-You don't like action movies that show 'dents' in peoples' faces.  Equate that dislike with a food you don't like.:  Any type of raw meat or seafood at a market.  I would still eat it, much like I would still watch the movie; I just wouldn't enjoy it.

December 19: Christmas Mug with Cocoa and Chocolate Lentil Cane

Thursday, December 20, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 7:35 AM
Given to Jason from Dana.

From about two weeks prior to Christmas, it's really hard to have good timing, isn't it?  The same's true for Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or any other major holiday, but Christmas is a special case.  When do you wish someone happy holidays?  If you wish it too soon and see that person before the holidays, it's awkward for some reason and if you're at a party or something, it's unlikely you'll engage in any conversation at all.  An ill-timed, pre-emptive Christmas wish seals off future Christmas wishing and sort of puts you in conversational quarantine.  You can feel your insides churn when you say to yourself, "I really want to talk to Hank, but I can't because...ahhh....I already gave him his 'have a great holiday' wish.  I...was...too...early."  It's like you already said goodbye, but are sticking around like an expectant teenager, hoping your hormone high date will still kiss you before night's end, even though you keep saying goodbye and how much fun you had.

Post, or belated, Christmas wishing has a definite shelf life of about a week and comes with none of the baggage of pre-Christmas wishing.  You can ask about the person's Christmas if you saw them each day after the holiday for a week and no one would think you weird.  Pay attention to it.  And be careful about who you're pre-wishing this holiday season.

He'd even go to the bottom of the
ocean to get a ring for Brittany.
Jason
-Profession: Alumni Relations Manager

-Favorite made-up excuse:  I was napping, sorry.

-Jason is a cat on the BBC Series Blue Peter.  If he and Garfield went on a trip together, what would happen?:  They'd start in England and take the Chunnel to France.  Once there, they would go and meet a Parisian chef who will teach them how to make gourmet lasagna.

-You absolutely love, love, love Brittany Spears.  Please rank the following extreme situations from least qualms to most qualms you would have in saving her from the following situations:
-trapped in a collapsed mineshaft (3)
-surrounded by a circle of fire (1)
-10-sec away from being eaten by a shark (4) I don't think she has a chance here.
-on a tectonic plate during an earthquake (2)

-In your spare time, you enjoy watching all kinds of HGTV shows.  If you and another person were in a price war for a house, what extreme measure would you take to get it?:  I'd sabotage the home inspection with some planted mice so that my competitors would pull out of the bidding.

December 18: Adjustable Weighted Jump Rope

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 1:38 AM
Given to Dana from John.
Adjustable for double-dutch fun!
My friend Marie and I were catching up this afternoon over an above average frosted Christmas cookie and cup of Keuring-brewed coffee.  This is the same Marie who spurns my culinary advances in favor of highbrow conversations about lettuce, marinades, and...frosted Christmas cookies.  "Daniel," she says as sweetly as a piece of candied ginger atop an iced cream cheese carrot cookie, "tell me if you think the frosting-to-cookie ratio is too large for these cookies."  And so we begin an in-depth analysis of the tray of frosted Christmas cookies in front of us, including how we could make the frosting more impactful (a thicker border with a lighter filling-in of the middle, for instance), as well as reducing any dark yellowing on the edges, particularly on star shapes with a greater surface area.  I'd recommend a 7-8 minute baking time in a convection oven, with a turning at the 4 minute mark for most of your traditional Christmas cookie recipes.

As far as the cookie-to-frosting ratio, I'd recommend it to be 2-to-1.  Remember, the cookie is just a vehicle to get frosting in your mouth--an edible spoon if you will.


"Some Enchanted Evening...With This
Mob"
Dana
-Profession: Music Therapy Student

-Favorite piece of junk mail: Sweepstakes Winnings

-Dana Corporation is a U.S. auto parts company.  What do you think their featured part is for the month of May?:  A stereo system.  But it has to be a completely new kind of stereo system.

-Dana Air is a Nigerian airline.  What do you think the biggest complaint workers have about the airline?:  The flight attendants can't understand what the pilots are saying.

-You like both horror films and musicals.  Can you come up with a plot for a scary musical?:  There's a mob scene of people railing against their town's takeover.  These people, though, have a tendency to just go off...and nobody knows why.

December 17: "Unbroken"

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 12:58 AM
Given to John from Dave.

If you've used LinkedIn, you are probably familiar with your connections endorsing you.  If you're not, basically someone says that you have skills in public relations or business development or something useful.  I had one of my connections endorse me for event planning today, even though that person never worked with me on an event.  Crazy, no?  Actually, I'd really prefer to be endorsed for frequent trips to the bathroom or a well-stocked snack drawer or always having my sweater tags tucked neatly on the inside.

John
-Profession: Project Engineer

-Favorite college football team: Michigan

-You enjoy playing video games.  If you were in a real fight, what punch/kick combo would you use?: XX BB L R Trigger [on X-Box]

-You are recently married.  Is there one qualification you'd add to your nuptials?:  Through video games or without.

-Your sister is a U.S. Diplomat.  Do you know if she pays duty?:  She's duty free on the base.  But I never ask her for items.

December 16: "The Second City", "Everyone Poops", Incomplete State Quarters Collection and Book, and an Autographed Jessica Joy Headshot

Monday, December 17, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 12:59 AM
Given to Christine from Jessica Joy.

Talk about an action-packed prize bundle!  Jessica is a Second Citizen--hence the Second City book--and when I asked to her to find something to give, she thought the book was "taking up space" on her bookshelf; however, I think it was because she didn't want to admit to not being able to read.  Gift one--check.  Gift two features something we can all use--a book about pooping with brightly-colored illustrations of all sorts of animals (including humans) pooping.  If we ever doubted our unity on the planet and with nature, one breeze through this book outta do it.  It made me want to do my business out in the woods, topped off with a wipe with some oak leaves.

Lastly, we have an earnest attempt by Jess to collect all the state quarters that were issued between 1999 and 2008.  She has a bundle of them, save for seven of them.  There's a little section at the back that lists all the U.S. Presidents and a little blurb about each that's a little, hmmm, distorted.  Let's take the last line of each of the last three Presidents:

George Bush I: "His term ended on a high note with the U.S. invasion of Kuwait."
Bill Clinton: "In spite of scandals, Clinton's popularity rarely suffered, as the nation enjoyed a booming economy."
George Bush II: "Since the terror attacks of 9/11, he has enjoyed unprecedented popular support."

If I go back far enough, I'm sure there's something about the public enjoying the austerity measures that Hoover put into place as well.

Dave
-Profession: Exercise Physiologist

-Favorite stretch: Calf stretch

-You're an avid runner and cycler.  How would you compare doing them outside versus on a treadmill and stationary bike, respectively?:  Outside is like getting my employment papers in Afghanistan.  Inside is like playing Black Ops on an X-Box.

-Famous Dave's--the famous barbecue eatery--says on their website they've been knocking people's socks off for 25 years.  What kind of socks do you think they are?:  Tube socks

-You were Mr. Titan in high school for your athletic prowess.  Do you ever wear your varsity jacket around when you're feeling blue as a way to pick you up?:  No.  I think it's in the attic somewhere.

December 15: Beyonce Pulse Perfume & Matroyshka 6 Piece Measuring Cup Set

Sunday, December 16, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 1:14 AM
Given to Jessica from Ina.
If you like [the smell of] it, then you'll probably still be single.
Since this is a high school reunion edition of the GWEGE (Great White Elephant Gift Exchange) with Jess and me, I should tell you that I had no business belonging to Academic Challenge, an extra-curriclar club that pits schools against each other in a battle of wits and smarts.  My brother was on it for four years prior to my arrival and, since he's a genius, he got a lot of points for our school.  I think they assumed the same lightning-quick access to odd information, such as mountain ranges in South America or calculating the answer to a trig problem, was passed through the bloodline.  It wasn't.  I do remember getting a question about a Venn diagram correct and another on Johann Strauss.  [Clap, clap, clap...clap.]

But I remember when my brother graduated and I entered as a fresh-faced ninth grader, his stalker crush from Tess Kinney was passed along to me like a bad cold.  Tess had the HOTS for my bro due to a combination of devilishly handsome good looks, emotional unavailability, and a butt part in his hair.  Despite countless opportunities at Masquers after-parties, Tess's advances went down like the Heisenberg.  French 101 enabled her to try again with more vulnerable prey, but due to a combination of late-onset puberty, my unwanted French teacher's advances [not joking] that kept every girl at bay, and a butt part in my hair, she struck out in her second at-bat.  I believe when she ran into my parents at the Homecoming football game, she begged them to conceive a third son.

Jessica Joy
-Profession: Super Professional Actress


-Favorite home ec tip: A small swatch of velvet can be used to rub out deodorant stains.

-You and I went to high school together.  What do you have written around my sophomore yearbook picture (or what do you wish you could have written around it)?:
I
I just
I just wanted
I just wanted to
I just wanted to take
I just wanted to take up
I just wanted to take up space
I just wanted to take up space in
I just wanted to take up space in your
I just wanted to take up space in your yearbook!

-You're an actress. When you get your own trailer, what kind of...
...snacks would you have in it?: Low carb, because I want to be scary skinny!
...furniture would you have?: A couch that isn't leather, because leather feels gross and I need to take naps.
...picture would you have in it?: None, because as soon as I started making the trailer personal, that show would get cancelled or something.

- Rank the following in which you get the most joy:
-using Joy dish detergent: (1 - I love cleanliness)
-eating an Almond Joy: (4 - I hate almonds!)
-spraying a friend with Joy perfume: (2 - I love smells!)
-playing "Ode to Joy" on a reed instrument: (3 - Music is fun!)

December 14: Box of Titleist Golf Balls

Saturday, December 15, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 10:28 AM
Given to Ina from Dave.

I wrapped up an evening of hoops tonight, racking up 14 points, 12 boards, 7 assists and 2 blocks in 30 minutes of work.  When we were all trying to figure out how to divide the teams up, I--usually being the tallest chap out there--gets matched up with an equally tall drink to make sure teams are balanced.  We were looking to flush out our roster and I asked my friends if this shorter guy (also named Dan) who was working out could play.  I described him, said he had played with us before, but no one knew who I was talking about.  My friend Ray asked to clarify, "Is he short or just short to you?"  "Short to me," I responded.  Then Ray knew who I was talking about.

I think we live in a society too focused on height.  Instead of looking at a person's vertical aptitude, I suggest we focus on someone's girth.  The range of the numbers would be closer together than say the gap between someone who's 5'0" and 6'9" and if people just used a number--say '3', for instance, based on a pre-arranged numbering system--to say what a person's girth was, then people would have another measurement when picking football teams, for instance.  Because if you went on height alone with football, you'd have trouble.

Ray responded, "Yeah...I don't think people would like their girths measured."

And so on the gym floor this evening died a wonderfully novel idea.


I'll have my English muffin ina
minute.
Ina
-Profession: Lab Director

-Favorite boundary: The one between salt water and sand

-Add -ina to any word in the English language and tell me its new meaning: Einsteina--a very smart woman.

-Ina is also the name of a lunar crater.  What would you name the craters in your English muffin?:  Stan.  If a crater on the moon can be named Ina, then I don't see why you can't name an English muffin crater "Stan".

-There are 50 years between your oldest first cousin and you.  Come up with an age-neutral 'active' activity that you could all do together?:  Gin rummy or cooking.

December 13: Toro Power Shovel and Scarf

Friday, December 14, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 8:07 AM
Given to Dave from Mandi.
The only reason Mandi participated was to
get rid of this.
Christmas cards are flowing in the mail and friends and family have sent me their holiday-cheered photo or Christmas letter that details their past year's transgressions.  In the past, I've sometimes have sent a Christmas card, but never a letter or a photo.  But I was re-thinking that thought this past week.  While I have firm rules that any family photo should not have anyone in all jean clothing sitting barefoot under a Christmas tree, for example, I would consider posing with the fam in a giant stocking as if we were all "stuffers".  Perhaps each of us in mid-routine around a candy cane pole or our family in a sack race competition Norman Rockwell-style might also spruce up a card design.

As far as the letter, I'm still wary about spilling the beans on an entire calendar year's activities.  They seem to general.  Maybe if we had a thematic letter, such as a recap of all of our medical issues this past year might work (i.e. In May, Dad had his ingrown toenail cut down and, just a few weeks later, Mike got a mild laceration from clearing a lot of brush from the backyard.)  Or maybe a log that chronicled our consumption of maple syrup throughout the year could carve out a niche in the Christmas letter genre.

Dave
-Profession: Accounting and Income Tax Educator

-Favorite fantasy character: Superman

-Jones, your last name, is the second most popular surname after Smith.  If you could choose an uncommon surname for yourself, what would it be?:  An English name...somewhere in the British Isles.  Merriweather

-What part of the tax code cold keep you up tossing and turning at night?:  Section 2131 on estate tax.  It's the most unfair tax by 100 miles.  I don't like it.

-You consider yourself 50% Midwestern, 50% Southern based on where you lived.  If you spent time in the Pacific Northwest, how might that round you out?:  I'd learn to live in a desert.  I'd be more appreciative of water, wide open spaces, volcanoes, and the beauty of the landscape.

December 12: Magic Eye Book, "Late Night with David Letterman" Book of Top 10 Lists, and 1000 Questions and Answers Book

Thursday, December 13, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 3:41 AM
Given to Mandi from Mike.
If you stare at this photo long enough, you'll see I was just
messing with you.
I attended this year's Kennedy Centers Honors where David Letterman was given an award.  It was a fun, festive gathering, featuring many celebs and politicos.  My friend Travis was celebrity seeking/stalking during the reception that followed the awards ceremony.  He found fellow awardee Robert Plant (of Led Zeppelin fame) standing by himself, so he thought he'd ask for a photo.  With a gentle tap on his shoulder, Travis said, "Mr. Plant, congratulations on your award.  "Would you mind if I get a picture with you?"
-"Can't you see I'm in a f^&*ing conversation?" he replied.
-"Umm, yes, but..."
-"Go ahead and take your f^&*ing picture and f^&*ing enjoy it for the rest of your f^&*ing life."

Yes, heartfelt congratulations, Robert Plant.  I will enjoy this f^&*ing story for the rest of my f^&*ing life.

Mandi

-Profession: Advertising and Marketing (sorry only a two word answer applies to this question)

-Favorite cycle:  Unicycle

-You have three cats.  Which trio would they most line up with and why? (i.e. Miami Heat trio; 3 Muskateers; Huey, Duey and Luey):  Definitely Huey, Duey and Luey or the Three Stooges.  They are ridiculous in so many ways!

-Have you thought about changing the 'i' in your name to a 'y' so you can tell your co-workers in staff meetings that there's no 'i' in Mandy?:  I can honestly say no.  I like that my name is (was) a little different while I was growing up.  However, some of the names kiddos are given these days are more odd than mine.  So I think I will keep it.

-In working for a bank, do you eagerly help neighbors' or relatives' children whose math problems specifically have to do with compound interest?:  Um no!  I needed a refresher on Compound Interest (thank you Dan - I think) so I went to internet and googled it.  Brought back so many terrible memories of math class.

What's your preferred compound interest rate?: 8.00 percent APY so that I am receiving the interest not paying it!  I would love to see rates get there!

December 11: Miracle Fruit Tablets

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 11:01 AM
Given to Mike from Jill.

If you let one of these tablets dissolve on your tongue, it can turn the sourest of foods into the sweetest.  Jill was regaling me with Thanksgiving tales of how her family was vigorously downing lemons and vinegar after eating these magic pellets.  When we met at Panera this evening, I arm-twisted a hesitant Mike into joining me on this tongue-twisting adventure by seeing if it could work on some lemons...and it did!

I think their scope could be far more expansive.  Kissing your yum-yum who happens to be a smoker could be far more palatable.  The problem of getting your kids to eat their unwanted vegetables is now vaporized.  No one could keep up with you at work if you did vinegar shots, that is, until you puked.  Or you could use them for a motivational talk where you show people how to turn the sourness of situations (lemons) into the sweetness of life (still lemons).

Mike
-Profession: Land Surveyor

-Favorite basketball team: Cleveland Cavs

-Your dad is a retired U.S. postal worker.  If you committed mail fraud, what would be his reaction?:  He'd be disappointed for me trying to buck the system.  I'd probably get my magazines delayed, along with more junk mail.  And all the Return to Sender letters that are sitting around at the post office.

-In the past, we've played basketball one-on-one and when Gloria Estefan has been piped through the stereo system, you've won.  Do you have anything you'd like to say to her?:  Turn that beat around.  I'd tell her that you had a childhood crush deep down inside for her and that's why you falter.

-Your mom works for the auto title bureau.  What kind of vanity plates do you think she should be 'entitled' with?:  None probably, but maybe she'd get TKE A NO (Take a Number) if they were available.

December 10: Sprawling Monkey, 5 Packs of Cheryl's Cookies, and a Card

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 1:30 AM
Given to Jill from Sal.

A great night overall.  I acquired my first blog groupie this evening via the Velvet Tango Room, a swanky cocktail bar in Cleveland turned corporate friend.  I'm not sure what it gets me other than a superfluous ego boost and smiles from the bartenders, but at least I can tell people that my popularity is on the rise.  Late last week, I had to dispel rumors that I was going to be replaced by an interim gift exchange blogger.  Hopefully, my newfound groupie status staves off any coup until the end of the month.

During the course of Jill's and my conversation, the subject of odd collections came up and the random crap that people collect (think salt & pepper shakers, shot glasses, etc).  Jill's mom collects monkey lamps with leopard lampshade print.  My brain still hasn't processed that one.  I don't have anything that would amount to a collection other than a boatload of plasticware from take-out I've eaten over the past six months.  I could have Christmas dinner for 40 if disposable cutlery was the only criteria.  Of course, I didn't want to hide my head in shame for the rest of Jill's and my conversation, so I didn't bring it up.  To her credit, she has no bad collecting habits.

She'd keep the ladies dancing, but only
if they were doing Riverdance.
Jill
-Profession: Restaurant/Bar Manager

-Favorite day of Christmas: Day 12 when you get everything, except I don't collect things and I don't want the geese or the milking maids.  I will take the leaping lords and golden rings, though.

-If you were to modernize the Jack & Jill rhyme, where would they be going and what would they be getting?:  They'd be going to the Velvet Tango Room for a cocktail.
-What do you think Jack's least desirable characteristic is?:  He's clumsy.

-You just came from an event building gingerbread houses.  Where would you hide the spare key in your house?:  Under the gumdrop next to the fire pit.  But I'm not telling you which color it is and there are two fire pits.  I don't want you to find it.

-You celebrated a prior birthday in three time zones in the same trip.  If you could celebrate your next birthdays is three different spots, where would they be?:  I'd watch the sunrise at the Great Wall of China, then lunch on the moon, then dinner with Bruce Springsteen at the Taj Mahal with Roy's Steakhouse as the caterer.

December 9: Unopened Goofy Jigsaw Puzzle & Autographed Rick Minter Football

Monday, December 10, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 12:37 AM
Given to Sal from Mike.

Mike picked up this little treasure of an unopened Goofy puzzle during one of his frequent estate sale trips.  This virgin jigsaw is presumed to be 70s-era, but his internet research could not give an exact date.  It doesn't matter what year it came from, though; good clean fun is timeless.

The autographed football is another story.  Having previously received it in another white elephant gift exchange, Mike wanted to wipe clean his gift giving conscious and thus offered it up sacrificially for this gift swap.  It's signed by Rick Minter, UC 2002.  Who in Rachel Ray's name is Rick Minter (I hear you cry)?  He coached at the University of Cincinnati (UC) and Notre Dame.  Should he get a top coaching gig, this ball could be worth hundreds of dollars.  Until then, Sal's got a decorative dust collector with a signature of some dude who probably chews with his mouth open.

Part 2 of The 12 Days of Apocalypse will come tomorrow.  Stayed tuned...or else.

It's good the mule isn't named 'orange'
Sal
-Profession: Software Application Developer

-Favorite item to sew: Top

-What would happen if you drove a foreign car to your job at a domestic car plant?:  Oh my gosh.  My car would get keyed and I'd get lots of dirty looks.  I'd be talked to in a not nice way, too.  And shame.  Lots of shame.

-According to the Erie Canal song, someone's 'got a mule, her name is Sal'.  What do you think a good alternate name for the mule should be?:  Peggy.  It doesn't rhyme...and it's probably the end of the song.

-What animal do you think Sal is a good name for?:  Probably a pig.

-A pot holder is used to hold warm/hot pans.  What do you think a pot (marijuana) holder should be made of?:  Probably Monopoly 'Get Out of Jail Free' cards.


December 8: Vendor Prize Pack: Mousepad, Coin Counter, Swag Bag, Hand Sanitizer, Pen/Highlighter, Keychain, Notepad, and Mints

Sunday, December 9, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 8:24 AM
Given to Mike from Ashley.

By my watch, there are 12 days until the apocalypse.  I haven't started my preparations yet, but I've spent some time tonight mulling over what I need to.  Here are my 12 days of Apocalypse, Part 1.  Part 2 will follow on Monday:

12) Get a pedicure.  I figure if I've gotta go before my time, my feet ought to look good.

11) Rent 2012 starring John Cusack.  Maybe there's something I can learn, such as learning how to take an airplane off when the ground's collapsing around me and there is no place to land and I've got a limited amount of gas.  Danny Glover plays the President in this film, so you know there will be some scenes I'll be memorizing.

10) File a Freedom of Information Act to find out the kind and amount of secret herbs and spices there are in KFC's coating.

9) Send condolence letters to the people I was going to gift exchange with from Dec. 22-31, along with a bottle of dish soap, courtesy of Ashley since she happens to have large stocks of it--all courtesy of her coupon preoccupation.

8) I've always wanted to go to a large city in Europe where they allow street performers and people doing card tricks and stuff so I could make duct tape wallets for everyone.  I don't do crafts except for this and they're usually a crowd pleaser.

7) Get a meeting with the people who designed the Big-10 logo that currently has an "11" in relief in the letters because there were 11 teams in the conference.  Now they have to hide "13" because of the conference expansion.  I really just want to find a way to get my social security number hidden when you spell my full name out.

Mike
-Profession: Financial Planner

-Favorite antique: Mission of Advent Bell

-If you combine your enjoyment of performing improv with your position, what kind of spontaneous investment could you make?:  Buy a condo in China or someplace exotic that would have a potentially huge growth rate.

-In high school, you were featured on ESPN because your wrestling team played chess to mentally calm before a match.  If you asked an opponent to "play chess" during a match, what would that mean?:  Having him back at the castle...to use chess terminology.

-You're the landlord of two properties and one of those is a church.  What hymn--real or imagined--would your tenants sing for you?:  "Amazing Guy, How Sweet the Sound"

December 7: Bucky Balls

Saturday, December 8, 2012 - Posted by 366 White Elephants at 1:48 AM
Given to Ashley from Scott.
It took a lot of balls for Scott to give this up. 
I'm a vegetarian.  I don't broadcast it and I go about my business when I'm eating my meals throughout the day.  I don't try to convert people to eat this way.  And I don't have any trendy t-shirts that identify me with this group of people.  But today is a microcosm, containing some of the typical questions I get on a day-to-day basis are listed below.  Ahem...let me elaborate:

-Oh my god, you can't eat this!  It has eggs in it!:  Not true.  Vegetarians like eggs and cheese and all the good things in life, unlike vegans.  Vegans are like the character of Silas from The Da Vinci Code by committing a form of culinary mortification.  Denying yourself cheese is a sin in and of itself.  Bypassing deviled eggs at your next company picnic will also extend your stay in purgatory.

-Do you eat fish?:  I can overlook this one, but those bastards are called 'pescatarians'.  A fish is still a meat source.  Vegetarians like their plant-based foods.  Clearly, there is a gap.

-So, you must eat a lot of tofu then, eh?:  Tofu gets such a bad rap.  I presume they've never heard of beans or nuts or tempeh or seitan (I'm just getting warmed up)?  I want to respond that without the miracle of tofu, vegetarians everywhere would lose all muscle mass and eventually perish because they would be getting zero protein in their diets.  But really, I just bristle at the question because it makes me feel like a 40-year old woman from the early-90s who wears either bright pink or purple athletic wear.  Yes, you read that right...and there's nothing rational about it.

-Don't you miss a good steak?:  This is my favorite question--snarky retorts abound here.  What I want to say here is "I do miss a good steak, but I don't miss getting a triple bypass".  Or I just want to wail at how good steak eaters have it and I'm really very miserable here with my rice pilaf and artichoke hearts and that there's no reason for me to continue on.

Hootie & The Blowfish's new hit:
"Hold My Ham"
Ashley
-Profession: University Alumni Rockstar

-Favorite coupon: Free Bagel at Bruegger's.  I found 29 of them in a dumpster; they expired in a month.  I ate a bagel a day for a whole month.

-You work and are getting your MBA at the same school and you share both experiences with one person.  Is he becoming...
[A] your inseparable best friend with whom you have no barriers
[B] future spouse
[C] burgeoning enemy because you're sick of him
[D] other

I think [A].  I'm the sister/mom/wife he never wanted.  He got annoyed one time when he was out at Panera Bread by himself and someone asked him where I was.  He wasn't happy.

-Say you're fixing some toast in the morning and you have the following spreads listed below.  Please rank them and then select the one you'd take with out if you were on the run.
-peanut butter-2
-strawberry jam-3
-cream cheese-6
-butter-5
-apple butter-4
-herbed cheese spread-7
-Nutella-1

I'd take peanut butter.  It's healthier.  That's all I'm saying.

-Please write a limerick that reflects your being a 'foodie':

There once was a blowfish named Hootie,
Who was hungry and always moody.
So we gave him a snack,
Which he quickly attacked,
And now he is officially a foodie.