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The Christmas Survival Guide Part Two: Solving The Kris Kringle Conundrum

Kris Kringle, Secret Santa, call it what you like, I call it a pain in the arse. For those few of you lucky enough to have somehow missed out on this traditional holiday torture, allow me to explain how it works. Secret Santa is usually run for large groups of people such as in the workplace or for extended family. The basic concept of the Secret Santa game is simple. All of the participants’ names are placed into a hat, box, etc. and mixed up. Each person then chooses one name from the box, but doesn’t tell anyone which name was picked. He/she is now responsible for buying a gift for the person selected, there is usually a limit to how much you can spend, usually $10 or $20 and that’s about it. Sounds fun right? Sounds simple?

Wrong! Oh how wrong you are.

This seemingly fun activity is actually a very dangerous social minefield, beware, watch your step.
Use this guide to get through unscathed. Let’s begin:

The Beginning: Picking that random person from the hat

Picking the name from the hat is really the most important step because who you pick here is going to determine just how difficult this process really has to be. My advice here is, try to cheat. If there is any possible way you can turn the odds in your favour, do it. If at all possible try to sneak a peek at the name before you pick it. Call me a Scrooge for taking the “fun” out of things, but trust me when you pull out the name of a coworker you’ve only spoken to once in your life and who seems difficult to read, you’re going to wish you had cheated.

When you pick, make sure you smile and nod and say appropriately nice things about how happy you are to have picked this person. If you pull out a name look at it and say “Oh jesus not this wanker!”  then I guarantee that person is going to hear about your reaction eventually. Smile, nod and swear privately to yourself later.

The Process: How To Know What To Buy: Bath Soaps and Candles

Knowing what to buy for your Secret Santa recipient is probably the hardest and most frustrating part of the process.  If you’ve picked someone you know pretty well then you probably have a good idea of what to buy, if you didn’t,  well…  it sucks to be you. Firstly, let’s look at what your price restrictions are, what are you allowed to spend? $5? $10? $15? It all makes a big difference, here’s a hint though, spent $5 to $10 more than the limit, it’ll stop you looking cheap, and everyone else will probably be doing the same thing.

If you have to buy something for someone you know nothing about, don’t immediately go for the thoughtless candle/soap/chocolate/wine option, it’s lazy and it’s been done to death darling. Use your serial killer style stalking skills to find out more about them.

(note: I do not mean that you should break into their home and molest their cat)

Walk by their desk, take notice of what might be on it, is that a Justin Bieber CD? My they have horrible taste, but perhaps they would like a nice poster to go with that CD. Is that a copy of the alcoholic’s anonymous book? Aren’t you glad you didn’t buy them that wine?  Likewise, notice what they wear, what tv shows and movies they talk about, what video games they might mention any of these clues may guide you towards a semi-thoughtful gift idea, just don’t be to creepy in your lurking or you may end up with a restraining order.

Don’t give an inappropriate gift, save the penis straws for your real friends, the rule of thumb here should be if you don’t know this person well enough to sit down and have coffee together outside of work, then you don’t know them well enough to give them a box of chocolates shaped like breasts.

If you really want to be a lazy little bunny, go with the voucher option, let them pick their own gift, but definitely no candles or soap. Not ever. Giving someone soap just makes them think that you are questioning their personal hygiene.

The most important hing is to remember to buy something. The worst possible thing you can do in Kris Kringle is forget to buy a gift, and if for some stupid reason you do forget, just hand over some cash, do not, under any circumstances attempt to pull something out of the glove box of your car and try to pass it off as a gift. No one will buy it.

The End: Looking Gracious And Practising Your Fake Smile

So you’ve made it, you’ve bought your gift and put it in the communal pile and now this nightmarish tradition is over right? Not so fast my friend, you forgot the other half of this evil game, you forgot that some other poor schmuck pulled your name from that hat. Some other person has been stressing and figuring out what to buy for you. Traditionally secret santa gifts are opened in a communal setting, everyone sitting together and watching each other open their gifts. So watch out because when you open that gift, you had better smile, and you had better make it convincing, and believe me that may be difficult. Here’s a few scenarios you may have to face “Oh my! A christian wall hanging! Why… I’ve always wanted a reminder that jesus died for my sins, how swell!”

Or how about “Gee! A weight watchers book, how thoughtful of you to remind me that I need to lose a few kilos, how charming!”  You need to be prepared for the worst here people, and you need to be prepared to act your arse off. If you open your gift and the disgust registers on your face, you’re going to hurt some poor morons feelings, you wouldn’t be happy if they opened your gift and said “Oh great! I’m allergic to dairy so this milkshake maker is the perfect gift jackass!” Just keep smiling, keep pretending and this whole horrible charade will be over for another year.

I know it’s been said, many times, in many ways, but my god Christmas blows.

What Does Your Facebook Profile Picture Say About You?

Facebook is a great way to express yourself. It’s a great way to make new friends and connect with old friends (and rub your awesome life in their faces) Facebook is a useful tool indeed, but have you ever stopped to think about how you may be coming across? What first impressions you may be making? Something as simple as your profile picture can speak volumes about you. Lets have a look at some different types of Facebook profile photos and see how they come across to other people.

 

The Duck-face

The duck face is a well documented phenomenon, seemingly sane and normal human beings will be smiling away with their natural beautiful smiles until… The camera comes out. The minute the humans with their fragile egos and false bravado see that camera they all suddenly begin to make and identical face. They purse their lips together and stick them out, they also widen their eyes to an unnatural level, they may also slightly tilt their heads. The result is a ridiculous caricature of a human face. So why do we do it? Because it looks sexy, duh!

The duck-face is an extremely common Facebook profile picture, but what is it saying about you?

Whenever I see this face, my first instinct is to think, get some confidence! Be proud of your face, work with what you got baby! Always present your best face to the world, and your duckface isn’t it. For more information on the duck-face epidemic visit Antiduckface.com.

The Myspace 

The MySpace shot is a self-portrait. This photo is taken by holding a camera at arms length above your head and looking up at the camera. This type of photo was made popular during the rise of MySpace and continues to be a Facebook standard, especially among teenage girls. This type of photo is used mainly by women because it is a good way to showcase your best features (eg. your eyes and hair) and it allows you to hide the parts of yourself you may be less willing to show off (eg your body.) This shot says to me “I’m 17 and this is the sexiest picture my parents will let me put online” There is no excuse to have this photo as an adult.

 The Arty shot

The arty shot is a good way to showcase your personality as well as your physical appearance, it’s a way to say “I am above the superficial need to look pretty, I am an intellectual.”  Popular amongst hip young urbanites in their twenties, the arty shot is a regular in Facebook profile shots. This type of profile picture comes in handy for one thing, keeping people like me away from you. The minute I see someone using a shot like this for their profile the pretentious warning bells start going off in my head. I can quickly see that this is the type of person that only drinks coffee that has “passed through” various rare animals and listens to avant-garde music. If you come across this type of person,  in the immortal words of Iron Maiden “Run for your life!”

The Inanimate Object

The inanimate object shot is a picture of anything, could be a car, could be a tree, but it ain’t you. These photos are popular because you can use them to show people things that you like, things that you might believe represent a part of your personality, or it might just be that you seriously don’t have any photos of yourself to upload (highly unlikely.) When I see these types of profile pictures, I generally think “come now sweetheart, show the world your pretty face” (imagine me saying that in a overprotective mother voice.) The inanimate object picture is an easy way to hide a face or a body you may be insecure about, but you shouldn’t be afraid. This is the internet baby! Let your freak flag fly!

The Group Shot

The group shot is a photo of you and your buddies, hanging out, being and looking fabulous. A very popular Facebook profile picture, because, come on! What’s cooler than your entourage? the use of the group shot can vary greatly, are you the party girl sticking her head in on the left there? Or are you the dude behind the umbrella who can’t be seen? People use the group shots for different reasons, either to stand out, or to fade into the background. I see the group shot as a nice way to show the world a bit about your life and your hobbies, however if you are the guy behind the umbrella, use a different picture.

The Joke Shot

The joke shot doesn’t have to be a photo, it could be text (as above.) It’s some hilarious and quick visual joke you can use to show the world what a crack up you are! Picture disabled because he’s too good-looking?! Hahahahaha! That is too much! That is genius comedy, that guy needs his own sitcom! People who use the joke shot are also the same kind of people who wear tee shirts with funny slogans (I lost my number, can I have yours? Hahahahahaha) These people are the worst people in the world. I would literally rather spend time with a conservative christian who doesn’t believe in evolution than hang out with the kind of person who thinks joke tee shirts are funny. Having said that the joke profile shot is a good way of identifying these people so that they can be avoided, so I encourage you to continue.  

The “Me As A Baby” Photo

 Aaaaaaw, how cute! you’ve used a picture of yourself as a baby for your profile picture! It’s even cuter because you’re not a baby! You’re an adult! Aaaaaaaaw.  This is an odd one, but I’ve seen it around more than once, fully grown adults using a picture of themselves as babies or children on their profile picture. Why? I think it’s a combination of things, partially I think it’s an ego thing. you’re so into yourself that you think other people will get enjoy your old photos as much as you do. I also think it may be a way to reclaim the glory days for some people, ah childhood, it was all downhill from there.

 

My Kids! My Husband!

If you’re married and/or have kids, chances are you’ve got a profile picture that reflects your status as a family man/woman.  Maybe you’ve got the photo from your wedding day, maybe it’s junior’s gap toothed smile, either way, you’re showing that you aren’t just an individual anymore, you’re part of a family unit. Photo’s like these may show that you are a loving mother/father/wife/husband, but try mixing it up every now and then. Don’t let your public image become two-dimensional. People will be more interested in a multi-faceted well-rounded human being than they will with “super mummy.”  

My pets!

Ok, the pet shot. This shot is similar to the kids shot, but much, much worse.  A lot of people use pictures of their beloved pets as a way to express their undying affection to the animal. If you’re using a  picture of your cat as your profile picture, it might be time to start thinking about having a baby. Don’t get me started on the people who make separate profiles for their pets, no I will not be friends with your dog!

The Drunk Shot

The drunk shot, one of the most popular choices for profile pictures amongst young people (and sad older people.) This photo is a way to show how much fun you are, and how much fun you’re having! You’re not a stuck up snob, or some nerdy loser. You’re cool, you’re awesome. Shots like these may seem awesome now, but consider how they may affect you later on in life, down the line when you’re applying for that high paying job with the conservative company, you may wish you had appeared less “awesome.”

Are You A Rageaholic?

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think that as technology advances, and things become more and more convenient for us, our patience has become shorter. As patience decreases, frustration increases, and this can lead to anger.

Just what is an acceptable level of anger? What is it ok to get a bit angry about? Here is a list of things that have made me angry today:

1. I missed the train in the morning by like 30 seconds because the traffic lights across the road from the station take forever to change.

2. Whilst on the extremely overcrowded train, a man pushed by me unexpectedly, forcing me to step backwards. I heard a “yelping” sound behind me and realized I had stepped on a woman’s foot. I removed to my head phones and said “Oh, I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to do that, I guess the train is just a bit crowded”  The woman glared at me and made a “Humph!” sort of noise. I hated her immediately, and I wished she would develop a gangrenous foot. How dare she not accept my heart-felt apology for something I had done accidentally!

3. A woman made a big show of fake coughing and waving as I lit up a cigarette, even though I was smoking outdoors, in fucking public space.

Keep in mind that it is only nine in the morning now, that’s a lot of anger for one morning.

Was I justified in my anger? If you look at the flip side, that woman on the train was pissed off because some bitch stepped on her foot, and another lady had smoke blown in her face. Were they justified in their anger?

If you google rageaholics you will quickly come across the Rageaholics Anonymous website, on this website there is an “Anger Self Assessment Test.”

I took the test (you should try it) and according to the test, I’m a rageaholic, as Homer Simpson once said “I am addicted to rageahol.”

Now I was a little taken aback to discover my new-found rageaholic status, but before I ran off to find my nearest Rageaholics Anonymous meeting and share my thoughts and bile, I had a close look at the questions in the test.

Who the hell could pass this test? I believe if the Dalai Lama took this test he’d have a hard time passing it. Questions like:

“I hate lines, and I especially hate waiting in line.”

Who the hell likes waiting in line? Who is going to say “I love lines, I sometimes line up in them just for the experience rather than to get to the front.”

What about this gem: “When someone says or does something that upsets me, I don’t usually say anything at the time, but later I spend a lot of time thinking of cutting replies I could and should have made.”

Come on! Everybody does that, and if they say they don’t, they’re lying. Constructing the perfect imaginary quip is a healthy thing to do, it helps you to vent some of that frustration you had at being to cowardly to say anything to the person in the first place.

My question is this? If this test had been taken twenty or thirty years ago, would I have been classified a “Rageaholic,” have the conveniences of modern life really made us lose all of our patience? What if I lived in the country instead of the city? Would I still need that sweet sweet rageahol to survive?

Or is it that we are all angry, anger and rage of course are part of the human condition. Anger is an involuntary feeling, that happens to us when we feel trespassed against in some way, and unless you live on a desert island, you will come across it fairly regularly. the trick to anger is how you respond to it, it’s certainly not healthy if you respond to a rude comment by a stranger by glassing them in the face with a bottle, but I think a sarcastic snort would be appropriate.

Rageaholics of the world unite, I will continue to think of witty quips that I should have said after the fact. I will continue to hate waiting in line and secretly wish that the people ahead of me would collapse so I wouldn’t have to wait so long. I will continue to snarl and snark and patronize and be sarcastic and cause others to fall into awkward silences at dinner parties. For if rageahol truly does make me who I am, then I will wear my rageaholic badge with pride, long live anger and its destructive benefits to us all!

 





10 Of The Worst Costume Ideas Ever

Costume parties can be great fun, a creative way to breathe new life into a party with the same old people. However, no matter what theme you pick, there will always be someone who doesn’t quite get it, who ends up with a costume that seems a little… Off.
Browsing around the interweb I compiled this list of the ten worst costumes I could find.
Consider this a “What Not To Do” list.

The Half Assed Costume

If you’re going to wear a costume, go all out or don’t go at all. There is nothing lamer than someone whacking on a bit of their wife’s make-up and calling it a Joker costume. You’ll have more fun if you put in the effort, or if you really are that lazy, just don’t bother wearing a costume, you’ll get more respect in your ordinary clothes than you would in your lame attempt costume.

The Bad Taste Costume

Now, I’m a fan of the bad taste costumes, for the most part they can be a vaguely offensive way to have a few laughs, however, the above costume, is supposed to be a  Virginia Tech shooting victim, it is being worn by a Penn State student, a nearby college,  and I think we can all agree this dude has gone too far. For those of you who don’t remember the Virginia Tech massacre was a school shooting that took place on Monday, April 16, 2007 on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. This guy and a few of his friends decided it would be funny to dress up like shooting victims, they had thought they were attending a party with a few friends and that the costume wouldn’t be shared with many people, of course, these morons forgot about facebook. Once the photos showed up online they spread like wild-fire, resulting in hate groups being formed on facebook and death threats against the students. Sometimes the mildly funny shock humour gained from a controversial costume is not worth the risk, in these days of social networking, don’t ever forget, nothing stays private for long.

When Pets Get Dragged Into Things

When you dress like an idiot, that’s your choice, when you dress your dog up like an idiot, that’s just cruel. This poor dog has no choice in this situation, did he want to wear a Yoda costume? Maybe,  But there’s no way of telling. Keep your costumes for those who can consent to wearing them. Try to keep this in mind, actually Do or do notthere is no try…

When Babies Get Dragged Into Things

Pretty much the same rules as above, if they can’t consent, don’t shove them in a costume that is going to mortify them for years, having said that, this costume is freaking awesome.

Know Your Own Physical Limitations, Lycra May Not Be Your Friend.

 If you are aware that you’re a fatty, and you just want to wear a costume like this for a laugh, go ahead pal, but be ready for the merciless mocking that comes with it. If you are over 100 kgs, and you think you can pull off a look like this, you are wrong, and anyone who tells you otherwise is not your friend.

 The WTF Costume

 You know what? I have nothing bad to say about this costume. Best costume ever, I advise you to wear it.

The “Clever” Costume

Nothing is more annoying than some smart-ass in a “clever” costume, the above costume is supposed to be static cling by the way. Clever huh? Just makes you want to punch a nerd.

 

The Gross Out Costume

A costume like this is not going to win you any friends, and may come back to haunt you when you’re applying for your dream job in the future, plus, it’s seriously gross. If you come up with a costume idea like this, you may need to consider seeking psychiatric help.

 

The Slutty Costume

Unfortunately, lots of girls use costume parties as a way to dress like a hooker without being judged. Fine, if that’s what you need to do to be happy, do it, however if you and your friends need to take things to this kind of extreme sluttiness, you may have some self-esteem issues to deal with, hooker clothes won’t bring you love sweetheart, and they definitely won’t bring you respect.

 

 

The Sexual Innuendo Costume

 

Nothing screams desperate more than a costume like this. This guy clearly hasn’t been laid in a while, (if ever) and  with a costume like this, let’s face it, he may never get laid again.

 

 

So good luck out there party goers, wear your awesome costume with pride, let your freak flag fly, just try to keep things dignified, if only for your mother’s sake.

How To Schmooze Pretentious Intellectuals Like A Pro.

schmooze or schmoose also shmooze (shmz) Slang
v. schmoozed or schmoosed also shmoozed, schmooz·ing or schmoos·ing also shmooz·ing, schmooz·es or schmoos·es also shmooz·es
v.intr.
To converse casually, especially in order to gain an advantage or make a social connection.

There are some situations in life where you might find yourself stuck with an intellectual, I’m sorry. I’m going to help you get through this. The following is a guide to schmoozing three different types of intellectuals so that they can later be used  for your own benefit (possibly in some sort of evil scheme)

Please note that I use the word “intellectual” loosely in this context, and that most of the following sub groups consider themselves intellectual rather than others thinking of them that way. Let’s begin:

Elitist Hipster Douchebags

 

The Elitist Hipster Douchebag is unfortunately not a rare animal, it is likely that you will come across one from time to time, they are recognizable from their “ironic” fashion statements, their carefully styled hair and their “I don’t give a fuck attitude.”

Do’s:

– Be apathetic. Enthusiasm is not your friend when dealing with a hipster, any point made with enthusiasm and passion is likely to be ignored or subtly mocked.

– Make up things. The hipsters will likely try to throw you off with their elitism, they get a sexual thrill from being into things that are not mainstream. If they mention a band and you haven’t heard of them, that validates them as “different and cool.” What you’ll need to do to gain the respect of these idiots, is to make up a band, just take any two random words and throw them together (the more random the better) for example: “I’m really into the Bike Feather’s at the moment.” The Hipster will not wish to appear out of the loop and will likely just nod and say something like “I think I’ve heard of them.” Make sure you mention that the band is very underground, and that they nobody has heard of them. As soon as the Hipster has a chance he/she will google your made up band, when he/she is unable to find anything on the band, you will earn their grudging respect. 

– Remember everything you do wrong can be passed off as “ironic.” If you sense that you have made a faux pas, simply laugh and claim that what you were doing was merely a joke, act as if any one who doesn’t find this amusing is an idiot. Think of the old “Emperor has no clothes” fable and you’ll see what I’m getting at.

Don’ts:

– Don’t be too specific. Hipster’s may like to pretend they are heavily involved with things like politics, but when it comes down to it they are lacking in much specific knowledge in the area. Bringing up specific political issues may make them look foolish and put them into an attack stance.

– Don’t introduce any new restaurants, films, countries, cities etc that have not already been mentioned by the hipster. Mentioning things that have not already been touched upon by your hipster pal puts you at risk of mocking. Hipster’s like nothing more than classifying things as “So over, very last year.” It’s safe to mention any of the items above that have already been brought up by others. As these have been accepted as cool.

– Get involved in a conversation about diet habits. You’ll soon be buried underneath so much, gluten-free, lactose intolerant bullshit that you’ll have no choice but to mock them, losing any footing you may have gained.

 Straight Up Geeks

These creatures may seem simple and non threatening, but if you want to infiltrate the system and schmooze like a pro, you may find them to be more complicated than first imagined.

Do:

-Work on your geek humour, a suitable joke to break the ice may be something like “A neutrino walks into a bar.  The neutrino asks ‘how much is a beer?’ The bartender says ‘for you, no charge!'”

– Insinuate that you think that an interest in computers and star trek is very sexy as you prefer brains over brawn.

– Take an interest in their geek hobbies. One question should be enough o get the ball rolling, soon you’ll be bored out of your mind and nodding and smiling along to a conversation about the Stargate series.

Don’t:

-Make fun of them. Even though you may just be joking and not intending to hurt anyone’s feelings, many geeks are super sensitive due to repeated bullying throughout their teenage years.

– Mix up which star show is which, mixing up Star Trek, Star Wars or Stargate may seem like nothing to you, but you’ll be lost forever in the eyes of the geek, do your research.

– Ask the when they’re moving out of their mother house. They’ll leave when they’re ready. Like when they turn 50.

Old School Academic Windbags

The Old School Academic Windbags can be one of the more tedious types of intellectual, well versed in dull topics and well prepared to share their thoughts on them in a long-winded manner. They aren’t necessarily old, they may just act that way. Private schools have been churning out these gems of human beings for decades. 

Do’s:

– Keep it simple, if you don’t know the exact meaning of a word, don’t use it. Nothing will give you away faster than using a word incorrectly or saying something that makes no sense in the context of a conversation. Attempting to give a compliment to someone by saying “My, what a redundant point you make” will not win you ny friends.

– Nod and parrot, Nodding and giving other non verbal cues whilst others are speaking will help the other person to feel engaged in the conversation. There is nothing worse than trying to talk to someone who is staring blankly at you, or worse distracted and glancing around the room or fidgeting. Parroting is a good way to contribute something to the conversation without having to know what you’re talking about for example “Wow, quantum state and quantum observable really are radically different from those used in previous models of physical reality. Do go on”  This should be all the encouragement the intellectual windbag needs to bend your ear on a topic that is neither interesting, nor comprehensible.

– Flatter the ego, chances are Professor Self Involved’s favourite topic is himself. If you feed the massive ego of these old school intellectuals you’ll find they may well grow to enjoy your company, and of course if they respect your opinion of them, how could they choose not to respect your opinion on other things?

Don’ts:

– Never give a direct answer on a topic you know nothing about. If you find yourself out of your intellectual depth in a conversation, start throwing up smoke screens, give non-committal answers and attempt to direct the conversation to a safer area.

– Question the other person’s knowledge on a topic, even if you are pretty sure they are wrong. The other person will shift into defensive mode and protect themselves with all the ammo they’ve got.  “All too often, academic departments defend their territory with the passion of cornered animals, though with far less justification. ” (Bruce Jackson)

So that’s it, good luck out there folks.