Tackiest Present Ever Competition

Do you have a friend or family member with whom you have this strange competitive thing going on, whereby you attempt to exchange the most odd/bizarre/tacky or just plain stupid present with?  Or maybe you have a perpetual present that keeps being re-gifted from person to person to person… and at any given point, someone is ‘stuck’ with the stupid thing.

We have a tendency to do both thanks to a slightly off kilter sense of humour that runs in my family, and it is never so apparent as when it comes to gift giving.  There was the time that Surly wrapped up a stuffed cat for the Small Child for his birthday…  And the time that we took a large unwieldy and unattractive pottery ‘pod’ thing, that some well meaning friend had given my mother, and regifted it to my younger sister 250kms away, who then regifted it to BigSal who then regifted it to us, then it was regifted back to my Mum and it was supposed to be regifted to Edouardo up in Atherton, but no one every figured out how to ship the stupidly big thing!  😀   Then there was the time I spend hours search for the perfect black velvet painted Elvis for BigSal for her birthday, and somehow ended up giving her a weirdarse Sadler teapot instead!

I mean honestly, our fall back position for people who don’t hand over decent gift ideas for Christmas presents, is to frequently threaten them with a footspa!  Because, well, everyone needs a footspa like a hole in the head!  But I digress…

This year I was trying to find MrK a Christmas present and was absolutely 100% out of ideas, let alone decent ideas.  Then I happened upon this while out shopping one day:

And I thought to myself… MrK would LOVE that!  It’s exactly what has been missing in his life  😀  And of course, I would win the Single Use Appliance Christmas Present War this year with a Rollie Vertical Egg Cooker like this!  Sheer brilliance!  So after much deliberation (about 2mins 10 secs), I decided to give him one for Christmas – thinking it would either be awesome or end up gong back to the shop as soon as the stores re-opened.

rollie egg cooker

Well, Mr K opened it and looked at me with the ‘Umm, err thanks’ of beguiled gift recipients who aren’t sure if someone is taking the piss out of them or not, familiar the world over, thanked me for the unusual gift.  But then someone incredible happened… he tried it out and LOVED it.  And it has then been quick and easy and no clean up Rollie Eggs for everyone ever since.

rollie egg master


I was gobsmacked, the ridiculous half joking present had indavertently turned out to be a success .  But wait… there’s more!  He told everyone at work that he had bought his wife a new iPad Air for Christmas and that she had bought him a Rollie Egg Cooker.  Which apparently piqued their interest (either that or he is one helluva salesman!) because suddenly everyone at his work wanted to try it out.  So he was going to take his Rollie Egg cooker to work and I went ‘Meh, I will go get you another one and you can have Rollie Eggs for lunch’.  I managed to pick one up and then Mr K had to spend his monrings for the following week showing everyone how to make Rollie Eggs! He had people from other divisions turning to cook vertical eggs and eventually people from different floors deciding they loved the Rollie Egg Cooker.

Sigh… guess I’ll just have to work harder on my tacky/weird present buying skills…

Merry Christmas Everybody.

I finally did it!  I got through an entire Christmas without a single tree killed for my somewhat dubious benefit.  That’s right after over a decade of discouraging people from sending cards and flatly refusing to return cards to people who do send them… finally my house has remained Christmas card free this holiday season!

You see, every year we were getting heaps of them and after Christmas I hated the wastefulness of throwing them in the bin.  I’ve been writing every few years about what a waste of trees, stamps, time, energy and resources that I think Christmas cards are… and every year I have been forever hopeful that none will turn up in the mailbox.  And this year, finally zero cards were received, and the number of cards that were received was ZERO!  I’m so excited, it feels like that time I won the third prize in the local RSL’s chook raffle.

All up we had a wonderful, if exhausting, Christmas.  I did most of my shopping online before we went on holidays, so most of it was completed before I went away and the rest was delivered while we were gone!  Bonus points for for being super organized, and it sure made the week before Christmas a lot easier when we got back.  We spent breakfast and Christmas morning/lunch at my sister, BigSal’s place.  And then onto Mr K’s family for the afternoon and a dinner we really didn’t need by that stage!

The kids had a great time.  As per usual they needed NOTHING…  I swear by the time the Small Child was about three, he already had more toys, than I had in my entire childhood…  But that doesn’t seem to stop us from finding more things they might like – new 3D DS games, loads of clothes to deal with his recent growth spurt, Hobbity stuff we bought in NZ, books, tickets, vouchers, cash and all good things.   I received a very cool iPadAir (no doubt because Mr K wanted his back), two board games, Pandemic AND Ticket to Ride, a much needed massage voucher and lots of other very thoughtful things too.

All up, a lovely family Christmas was had by all and relatively stress free for a change… I could get used to this having Christmas at other people’s places thing.  😛

xmas card 2013

BoardGame Geek Secret Santa

So, I’ve signed myself up for the Reddit Secret Santa gift swap again this year (even though I was mightily stood up last year by my Secret Santa AND my Re-matched Secret Santa… and because I have found it is so much fun sending presents to strangers, I have signed up for the BoardGame Geek Secret Santa too!

Today, my BoardGame Geek Secret Santa sent me a message… seems I have some hoops to jump through before Christmas.

“Subject: HoHoHo

Thank you for sharing some information about yourself on your profile page. It was most helpful, particularly the bit about Australian retailers. If left up to our own devices, it would take quite a long time to travel across the world to Australia and I do not want you waiting for Christmas cheer.

Before I ship off your gifts, (yes I said gifts!!), I ask that you become a little more involved here in the BGG Community. They truly are a wonderful group of people! If you could create a Geeklist detailing your personal foray/history into the boardgaming hobby and culminating into finding BGG and whatnot, that would make Santa very happy indeed. 

I promise to be in touch shortly!

Ho Ho!

So, first things first… what’s a GeekList?  And second things second… how do I make one?  Time to call in the expert – Big Sal to the rescue.  She came over this afternoon and showed me what they were, where they were on the (incredibly counter-intuitive and convoluted) website and gave me some advice on what to put in the GeekList.  I have just finished writing it and I’m guessing that poor old Secret Santa is probably going regret asking me to write something… it’s a bit long winded – as is my usual habit!  :S

“Not so long ago, my sister, BigSal, convinced me that I should join a community of BoardGame Geeks. It seemed like a grand idea, because once she showed me the site I could see there was lots of fantastic information here. When Secret Santa time came around, she convinced me to sign up too. Because I have participated in Reddit Gift exchanges in the past, it didn’t take much to convince me. Sending presents to strangers is awesome fun! 🙂  So, here we are, Santa has asked me to make a GeekList about how I ended up playing boardgames, someone probably should have warned him that brevity is not one of my more prevalent virtues!  😀

… ahem …

Once upon a time, when I was just a wee little girl, the first games I remember playing were card games that I used to play with my Grandma. Grandma was one helluva card player – she played Euchre and Bridge with a bunch of other wily old ladies at least a couple of times a week. and you’d have thought that she’d go easy on her granddaughters, letting them win one here and there… but not my Grandma! If she was in, she was in it to win it.

She taught us to play Canasta… ‘A quick game’s a good game, girls!’
She taught us to play 500… ‘Every little piggy’s got a heart!’
She taught us to play Cribbage… ‘That’s 15/2. 15/4. 15/6 and one for his hat!’

She used to beat us mercilessly, and I swear the dear old duck could count cards – she always knew when we were reneging, ‘I know one of you girls has the six of diamonds left, you have to follow suit you know. Those are the rules!’ We couldn’t pull the wool over Grandma’s eyes, no matter how hard we tried.

Other than cards, most of the games we played as a kid were fairly solid late 70s and early 80s staples…

games uno againUNO:
 My family used to camp a LOT when I was a kid and I don’t just mean a week away here, or a week away there. When we went camping, my parents would pull us out of school and we would pack up the 4WD, the tent and head Outback to some unheard of destination on a well planned three month holiday where we spent our days exploring National Parks and climbing mountains and our nights around the campfire. On days when it rained, my Mum would pull out the Uno which was easy enough for even my 6 year old sister to play, and we’d play for hours, laughing and ganging up on my Dad. To this very day, playing Uno reminds me of the smell of wet canvas.  🙂

game scrabble 1SCRABBLE:  My other favourite board game as a kid was Scrabble. I’ve always been in love with words and language – oddly for an Aussie, I actually used my dictionaries for something other than squashing spiders, and would frequently read them… for fun! I loved learning big words and clever, high scoring little words. But I remember getting frustrated when I pulled crap letters out of the Scrabble bag and so I used to roll the bag around until I thought I glimpsed better letters to pull out. I always wanted the x, J, Q, Z and harder letters for higher scores. Sometimes when I was bored, I would cheat by taking letters off the board and swapping them with letters from my tray when my sisters were busy studying their trays. Strangely no one ever noticed when a word changed from ‘wander’ to ‘wanter’! Nowadays, I’d never cheat at Scrabble, but I still can’t get people to play with me because people have been calling me a walking dictionary since I was a teenager. (I love Words With Friends if anyone wants to play – search for me: borysSNORC)

game trivial pursuitTRIVIAL PURSUIT:  The next main board game that had a significant impact on my formative years would have to be Trivial Pursuit – the original version, of course. I used to love that game! We played it a lot when I was a teenager. I always used to pick the Green (Science) and Blue (Geography) questions… and I always struggled to win the Orange (Sports) slice of pie. Unless I got a random question about darts, snooker or horse racing, I could never win the Orange piece of pie. It would frustrate me to no end. Actually, we pulled out the original Trivial Pursuit game not so long ago and tried to play it… I did much better with the History and Literature questions than I used to do but it was weird how many of the questions were no longer relevant any more – and none of us could answer them. Equally weird was how fast I could still move the pieces around the board in rapid 3s and 5s to keep the players landing on the ‘Roll Again’ spots.  😛

game pictionaryPICTIONARY:  Another favourite game we used to play a great deal was Pictionary. I don’t know who invented Pictionary but I’d be very interested to find out just how many relationship spats they are responsible for! We had (still have!) a rule around here – no playing Pictionary with your spouse/partner. For some reason, the menfolk of our acquaintance simply can’t draw to save themselves (perhaps because many of them are fantastic IT geeks rather than artists!) and this has led to many occasions where a couple find themselves getting so frustrated with one another that a huge row will ensue about the state of each others drawings. We also have another rule around here – I am not allow to team up with my sister Salaberge… she and I draw too well and always wipe the floor with our opponents! So to keep things fair, we don’t play together anymore.  😀

game articulateARTICULATE:  Now that ‘no pairing up with Salaberge’ rule, goes double for Articulate! We are similar in age and have had sooo many shared experiences that once we start playing Articulate, the clues are often so obscure, and so full of in jokes, that no one else can understand how we can possibly convey the answers! For example, I remember one time we were playing and I had to describe to her the people: ‘Rogers and Hammerstein’. Some people might have launched into a list of their musicals. I didn’t. These were the clues she got: ‘First name, “Slow down I’m frightened!”. Second name, ‘You hit a nail with it and you drink beer in Germany from this!”.’ My sister Salaberge was on it in a heartbeat and yelled out ‘Rogers and Hammerstein!’ so quickly it left our opponents literally throwing in the cards and refusing to play any further… and left me explaining a story about our mutual friend BluddyMary had a driving instructor that told her to say that to speeding boyfriends some twenty years earlier! Yeah… I wouldn’t play against us either. 😛

game carcassonneCARCASSONNE: In more recent years we have taken to playing more strategy type games… I have Carcassonne and love to play it with my brother in law who has actually been to Carcassonne and loves the region. Carcassonne is one of those games that we *have* to play with plenty of red wine in stock. We like to sit in comfy chairs, drink some nice shiraz from the Hunter Valley paired with an elaborately made up cheese board and settle in for a night of games with good friends.   We also love games like Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Pandemic, and a whole host of other games that my friends have.  One game I have to say, I absolutely abhor is Ankh Morpork. ‘Tis quite the worst* game I have ever endeavoured to play in my entire life (*perhaps a slight exaggeration, but nothing else comes to mind!). You have to have the conditions to win met at the BEGINNING of your turn, so the one and only time I played it I had won and lost it four times over dragging out the inevitable victory until I had no satisfaction in winning it at all. It is very tedious indeed! Never again!

game cards against humanityCARDS AGAINST HUMANITY:   OMG… Have played this a few times, and with the right friends and the right amount of alcohol and you find yourself in a card game version of American Pie – it is so absurd and so absolutely lacking in decorum, good taste or sensibility and yet you find yourself laughing so hard that your sides ache and your cheeks are sore.  Your quiet and respectable friends are suddenly surprising you with the levels of depravity that are coming out of their imaginations.  Your louder and more gregarious friends are absolutely excelling themselves at providing the most groan-worthy and appalling juxtapositions of concepts that you’re not sure you can survive another hand.  Your best friend who you have known for a lifetime comes out with some of the most rude, and deliberately insensitive combinations that you find yourself thinking, ‘Who are these people!?’  And before you know it, you’re working hard to try and top them in the depravity stakes… it’s like you suddenly found yourself on the bad side of the internet – and for some reason, instead of running screaming from the room, you find it hilarious.  You’ll laugh until you cry, and then you’ll feel guilty at having found amusement in such abhorrent phenomena!
Today I came home from holidays and found a present under the tree (well, in a DHL shipping box, but you get the idea) from BoardGame Geek’s Secret Santa… and I received these!
boardgame geek secret santa galaxy trucker love letter

BigSal assures me this is an awesome fun game and no doubt we will get to give it a go over the holidays at some point.  I had a lot of fun sending stuff to my secret santa who was in the US.  As well, as stuff I sent to my Reddit secret santa who was in Germany.  So much fun sending presents to people all over the world.  Get amongst it.  🙂


Time to wrap it up.

I have been engaged in the time honoured tradition of wrapping the Christmas presents today.  Every year, it’s the same thing, a small tonne of irregularly shaped stuff that we’ve bought for friends and relatives and every year, the job seems to fall upon me to wrap it all up in festive paper of questionable quality which inevitably and invariably gets ripped off and discarded at breakneck speed.

I’m okay with that bit of the process… but for reasons that escape my not inconsiderable understanding of the male of the species, they seem unwilling, and frequently completely incapable, of wrapping gifts.  Over the last few years I’ve been making a determined effort with my son to try and reverse this alarming trend and have been ‘encouraging’ him – oh the protesting, the wailing and screaming and gnashing of teeth, and attempts to wheedle out of the task involved – to learn how to wrap a goddamn present properly.  Mostly it is in the vain hope that one day, it will spare some other poor female the onerous duty of having to wrap all the gifts all by herself.

gift pile men wrapping how to

Now I don’t mind actually wrapping gifts, in fact I think it’s half the fun and certainly the idea of gift giving for me is usually more exciting than gift receiving (apparently my fault… because I’m notoriously difficult to buy for – allegedly).  But it would be nice if I could share the task with someone else every once in a while and anticipate a reliably presentable outcome!  Sigh…

What’s that about anyway?  It’s not like it is fucking rocket science?  Men have been claiming superior abilities at spacial awareness, judging distances and map folding over women for years… but I haven’t met one yet that can wrap a present worth a damn and without sweating angst about the menial task all over the damn box in the process?!?  Go figure.