Sunday, June 27, 2010

Adventures in Random Gifting

To give a gift is to engage in a social contract. The idea that a gift can be accepted with 'no strings attached" is an truly rare occurrence which I've never actually observed. Whether the gift is given as an obligation, in celebration, or to ingratiate one's self, it is offered with the knowledge that giving the gift "means something". And usually, that it must be repaid. Reciprocity is a big deal in all cultures, and it begins and ends with gifting.
I, having low self esteem and a distracting need to "earn" what joy I find, have a strange, but not unheard of, urge to give unnecessary gifts at random intervals.
My friends are usually the recipients of these delightfully lame things, as they have to consistently choose to hang out with me and I am forever grateful for this.
Just to be clear, I don't mean these gifts as bribes, but as payment for services rendered.

Hang out with me = Receive lame gifts.
It's that simple.

It also helps, I think, that I have a great love for making lameness and giving it away. What else could I do with all of this unfocused creativity?

After seeing several varieties of these little crocheted characters, I just had to try my hand at it. I'm sure Jack got one, for helping with the browncoat table at TikiCon. I don't remember who got the other....

When it came to "inspired ideas" I really thought this one would take the cake! Alas, everyone I tried to give this to graciously declined. Can you believe it? Lunatics!

I saw a photo of this baby cthulu and had to make it. Then I had to make one for everyone. It was a Dragon*Con gift for the folks I was expecting. cymerin still needs one. Don't let me forget!

These are only the lame gifts I photographed mind you. I'll find more. I'll make more. And I'll be sure to catalog them all here from now on!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Poor Dad

There are several days during the year that I find myself unintentionally dreading. With all of my skills and innovative problem solving experience, I am filled with anxiety at the thought of these three very specific days:
Father's Day
Dad's Birthday
Poor dad. He's got a poverty stricken daughter who would rather spend her money on DSL or out of town trips to visit friends than such frivolous investments as food or car maintenance. My gift giving is usually the result of brainstorming how to convert objects around my house into something giftable for the least amount of money possible.
This practice has led to dad being the proud recipient of some of the lamest gifts ever given. He has everything a dad could want already; power tools, electronics, awesome daughter.
This Father's Day I had nothing. No ideas. No money. No inspiration. Not a single clue as to what I could possibly make for this wonderful man. It's June, so most of the practical knitted items are out. I haven't been painting lately. My silk screen process is pieced together from scraps and flawed enough that I don't feel comfortable gifting the shirts I make. Also, I don't have a shirt in his size on hand.
While checking my twitter one fine day, I came across a contest from with fabulous prizes, some of which he would enjoy very much indeed. So I entered the contest.
I didn't win. Of course I didn't win.
A few days later, they posted another contest. This one involved writing a 500 word "essay" about my geeky dad. He's not completely geeky in the traditional sense, but he's got lots of moments that make you realize his dorky humor and his nerdy interests. He owns it, however, and he's always been built like a jock, so not many people have noticed. Anyway, I entered that contest, too.
And, strangely enough, I won. Or he won.
I owe much to the networking of my browncoats. They advertised and posted the voting links. We had what amounted to 5 hours to rustle up enough votes to be one of 5 winners, and we did it! We won a $100 gift card to ThinkGeek for my dad! I believe he intends to purchase a spy watch. (Oh dear)
This all brings me to the lame gift aspect. How to present the "gift card" to dad in such a way as to express the fun and hype and community involvement that went into winning? The emails sent, the facebook messages, the tweets? Well, a scrap book of course!
I took an unused 20 page sketchbook and colored it with markers. I printed out the ThinkGeek contest pages and emails. I glued them all inside in a focused burst of lame crafting late Saturday night and gave it to him wrapped in brown paper, tied with a ribbon when he arrived Sunday morning.
It looks awful.

A child could to better, honestly.

I have a frakkin art degree!

So you see. All of the information was available and time constraints and money issues, blahblahblah. Poor dad. He opened the present and teared up a little. I'm sure it was because he was flattered by the efforts that went into winning and not because he was offended by the aesthetics of the scrapbook. And because my dad's a class act of awesome. I hope he gets that spy watch and saves the world with it.