Friday, February 29, 2008

Battle: Theme Gift

I have a good friend, we will call her Benita. Benita and I have been friends since junior high. Like any duo we have had our good times and bad, shared memories, hope dreams and what not. But underneath it all we have always been somewhat competitive, which in my mind is healthy. We started small time though, with who could get better grades or think of the best prank to play on a Saturday night. Eventually the game has just become who can get the most out of life, which again I think is pretty darn healthy. Gotta love a competition where good mental health is a factor. :)

That said there has always been one thing that has been the Battle Royale of sorts for us. This would be the theme gift. Theme gift giving is an art form when down right. It's the perfect balance between the practical and the ridiculous. I think Benita started it way back in the day when I received a whole bucket of things for a movie night, then there was the all leopard Christmas present, the "Always wear sunscreen" graduation gift......the list goes on and on. I got to give it to Benita, she knows how to put together a nice present. This Christmas, however, when I opened my garden gnome (whom I fondly call Alfred because he's riding a frog) with matching gnome pj pants, gnome gum and I think there was even I gnome card, I knew I had to trump her and I had 2 months til her birthday to do it. Battle Theme Gift was on like Donkey Kong!

The Idea: This is the most important part of the theme gift. It must be clever, whitty, useful and somewhat ridiculous. This took days of plotting, surfing the internet for inspiration......then one day on my way home from work it happened. As I sat behind the oldest, slowest driver in all of Napa I glanced over to see a yard covered in PINK FLAMINGOS. "How delightfully tacky" I thought to myself as I studied the flock of plastic birds. Then I was hit with a revolation, a mission handed down from the Gods, I had to buy Benita an entirely Pink Flamingo gift. The theme has been set, let the games begin.

It's hard to find a classy flamingo: OK, I'll admit it, my obsession with lawn art is a bit out of control. But I had never ventured into flamingos before, they were just too......well.......PINK. But for the Benita gift there was no flamingo too pink. My original idea, had work not been ruining my social life was to drive down to her house and COVER HER LAWN IN FLAMINGOS. Nothing like waking up to 75 weird pink plastic birds in your yard. Come on now, that shit's funny! But I digress, back to the hunt for a classy flamingo. I first searched Target, not a flamingo to be found. Then WalMart......nada. Finally I turned to my friend the internet, surely there is some freak out there who sells nothing but flamingos for a living, BINGO! I found a lovely set of 2 pink flamingos for the low low price of just $6 (thank you! Score. I also found a flamingo book, flamingo party lights, a flamingo sign, flamingo grill gear and a mini flamingo set for the office. And that was just what I purchased! They also had a set of holiday flamingo outfits so that one could dress their flamingo according to the season. Why wouldn't a plastic bird need a scarf? It's cold out there in December!

The Presentation: This was very important. For almost two weeks I waited as the flamingo's slowly started to arrive. Each day I would get home and a new box with another piece of crazy flamingo art would appear. Finally when I had it all it was time to wrap and, as we well know, there is only one way toe wrap pink Flamingos........IN BRIGHT PINK PAPER!! So I wrapped each box in the brightest most crazy pink paper I could find (thank you Target) and stacked them in a fashion only to appreciated by the wrapping elves at Harry and David. Finishing it off with a glorious Green ribbon the gift was complete!

The BIG GIVE: I had to wait week before I saw Bentia to give her her gift so for weeks this pink mountain of flamingo boxes sat in my living room. They made for quite the conversation piece to be honest, I got everything from "what the F is that?" to "WOW who's having a baby Martha Stewart?" Finally, the day came. I was so excited and I little scarred, I mean what if Bentia hated the flamingos? Then again who could hate flamingos I mean, they are pink and there for awesome.

When Benita got to the house I ushered her directly to the pink mountain. "OPEN!" I commanded, oozing pride in my gift wrap abilities. Bentia opened the first, tiniest box. A Flamingo Lawn art office set. She laughed, silly girl had no idea what was in store for her. Second box, Flamingo patio lights. Third Flamingo Lounge sign......Fourth Flamingo Lawn Art book....Fifth Flamingo BBQ set and apron......Sixth and final two beautiful Pink Lawn flamingos! Benita just looked at me overwhelmed, "touche, my friend, touche. I tip my theme gift hat to you."

WINNER: ME!! On account of Flamingo Overkill!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Rage Against The Man.

I love my job......most of the time. It's a good job. It's fun, challenging, in a great industry, blah blah blah. But there are some days though. Days it make me want to give the man (from this point forward please think of "the man" as the boss man or the business) the finger, sell everything I own and become a vagabond. There's days where I honestly look at myself and ask "What the f$%* are you doing here? Why do you put up with this S#$% for so little return?" It those days when I look at those people who are 35 and have nothing to show as accomplishments but great stories and stamps in their passport and think that they have it all right.

I can't say that I choose to do what I do it's a labor of love because it's truly not, I don't think you can love something that's not yours and you definitely can't love something that belongs to the man. What's the point in putting so much of yourself into something just to have the man make you feel insignificant. Looking at it all now I would have to call it a labor of need, I need to feel like I 'm making a difference, like I'm making things better than they were before and I need to feel success in spite of the man. And wanting to succeed in spite of the man is what fuels my fire, keeping me hard at work with no stamps in my passport and more clothes than I will ever have room for in my closet.

Maybe someday I'll accept the fact no one can beat the man. You can have your fair share of victorious battles, which will and should be celebrated with vodka and bubbles. But the war against the man will never end, least of all in his defeat. None the less I, like many others like me, will continue the struggle in spite of the man and in the end I will feel victorious knowing that by my score I am the winner.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


I have recently been introduced to what I have found to be the absolute best show on TV.......a little program called Three Sheets.

The show features one Mr. Zane Lamprey, a monkey named Pleepleuos and occasionally his buddy Steve. (you should have taken two drinks with that sentence.) So Zane, some of you may know him from the food network show "Have Fork Will Travel", goes around to different places and drinks the local brew. Local brew can be anything from beer to snake infused vodka to champagne. It's crazy!

1) The show is set up to be a drinking game. An informative drinking game but a drinking game none the less. Rules? You drink when Zane drinks, you drink when someone spots Pleepleous and any mention of Zane's friend Steve? Well that's a social my friends!
2) You learn stuff. What do you drink in Belize? How is Tequila made? Why is Irish Whiskey and Scottish Scotch different? Why is the lady grabbing guys balls?
3) The hot factor. This one's for the ladies. Take a look at Mr. Lamprey, super hot and funny and a well travelled drinker! What more could you want? Too bad he's taken!

YOU MUST RENT THESE DVD's PEOPLE!! Add them to the Netflicks NOW!!! Season 3 starts soon!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Sticks & Stones

Whoever made up the all to infamous school yard phrase "sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me" was an idiot. Granted they probably meant this to be applied to your average everyday playground name calling but when applied to grown-up life you find that words can cause just as much damage as any stick or stone. I've seen and experianced more damage done with words than with any other object. In the most profound way words are some of the most damaging things in the world. Let's have a short case study.....

Example #1: Don Imus and the "Nappy Headed Hoes"

Ahh Don, we listened to your crazy radio show and applauded your 20 years sobriety. Then you had to go callin' the Rugers Women's Basketball Team a bunch of nappy headed hoes. Ouch Don, that one stung a little.....drug your name through the mud and lost you your job. Wow, I bet you would have rather had some homeless guy throw a rock at you on your way to work that day. The time spent in the ER, the head ache and maybe a bit of memory loss would have been superior to those three magic words that flushed your career down the toilet that faithful day.

Example #2: Mel Gibson the Anti-Semite

We loved you in Lethal Weapon, rallied with your battle cries in Braveheart, found the government susupect with you in Conspirecy Theory, even believed for a second that you knew What Women want.... but oh how a few anti-Semetic words brought you down. Some like the to blame the vodka and the scotch and to them I say fair enough. I like to go straight to the source of the problem the complete disconnect between your brain and your big flapping piehole!! Anti-Semetic comments to an office or the law? While you are drunk? Come on now Mel....

Example #3: The Classic :"It's not you, it's me."

Totally meant to make the injured party feel better about a breakup, this phrase does nothing of the sort. You may as well say: "You know I really can't fucking stand you but listening to you cry is worse so I'll take the blame on this one." Or "I'm not man (or woman) enought to admit that you drive me fucking nuts."

REALLY, need I say more? I think not. Just remember next time you use your words to be sure and use them nicely.