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A Bittersweet Goodbye... So long, Mattagor.
WHO: Mattagor   |   WHAT: Personal   |   WHEN: December 19, 2010   |   WHERE: Casa de Nicolosi
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven."  Saddly the time was Saturday night, and the activity was another white elephant gift exchange with the couples from our church foundation group, and a bittersweet goodbye to Mattagor.  It was almost a year ago to the day that our family grew by one inanimate member during the last white elephant gift exchange we had with the same group of folks.  That was the night we brought home Mattagor, and what a glorious night that was.  We (and by 'we' I mean 'I') quickly grew fond of this beautiful half lion, half bird (falcon?), and he sat proudly on my desk in my office at home for several weeks, keeping me company while I edited photos (and occasionally voiced tirades at Photoshop).  Granted, he wasn't much a of a conversationalist, but he didn't need words to be understood.  His quiet grace & dignity and his piercing blue eyes spoke volumes.  We were buds.

Anyway, over the course of the next two months, unfortunately "Matty" ended up in the spare bedroom closet when he became a little too distracting (or in some cases, frightening) for some of my visiting clients.  Some people are just intimidated by his awesomeness.  I get that.  So, out of public view he went for the better part of the last 10 months.

When news broke 2 weeks ago that we were having another white elephant gift exchange with our foundation group, I knew what I had to do.  It was a difficult decision, but I new Mattagor deserved better than a spare closet.  And, as you all know, if you love someone/something, you have to set it free.  And so I did.  Saturday night, my buddy Ray was blessed to take Matty home with him.  And for a second, I was grateful... I thought Ray would give Mattagor the life I couldn't.  I thought maybe he'd even bring him back for next year's exchange, and I was even a little hopeful I might somehow be reunited.  But about 5 seconds after Ray acquired Matty, he unceremoniously announced he couldn't wait to give him away as the worst gift in his own family's upcoming gift exchange.  I felt cheated.  And sad.  For Mattagor.  And then I forgot about the whole thing 5 minutes later when we all decided to go get some dessert.

What can I say?  The only thing that trumps ceramic friends is chocolate.  And my wife, of course (Hi, honey!).

To wrap up this nonsensical post, I enjoyed the last day or two with Mattagor before I gave him away, and here's a couple quick images.  In this first one, I asked him to sit proudly on a wooden pedestal in front of our Christmas tree, and of course, he was a pro.  That's what he does.  All. Day. Long.  BTW, the N's in the background were a little experiment where I cut out a circle of card stock and then cut an "N" out of that circle to put it over my lens when I took this photo.  It's an old school trick, but it gives you a kinda cool result when the out-of-focus lights in the background take on the shape of the cut-out.

Don't let this next image fool you... Mia & Matty weren't exactly best buds.  I can only deduce from Mia's incessant barking at Matty that she either 1) felt threatened by him, or 2) couldn't understand why Mattogor wouldn't talk back to her.  With the help of a little treat, I did get them both to sit still for one photo, though.

And just for fun, here's two more images of the tree... one with an 'N' cut-out over my lens...

... and another with a star cut-out over my lens.


Day 343 ~ Thou Shall Not Covet
WHAT: Fun, Project 365 (2009)   |   WHEN: December 16, 2009

You heard the Man. No Coveting... and that includes this sweet score. This priceless piece of art and I were magically united when Kylie drew lucky number 12 (out of 12 people) in the white elephant gift exchange we had this past Sunday night with our church couples group.  It was destiny.  I - from my 10 spot - had already smugly stolen a USB cup warmer from another unsuspecting giftee after the set of candles I initially drew was stolen from me.  Knowing my wife would get some use out of the cup warmer since I don't drink anything that's room temperature or warmer, I was content with my sacrificial pick for the betterment of our marriage [read: brownie points]. 

And then fate stepped in.  With her final pick, Kylie somewhat reluctantly picked up the lone "present" left on the table.  It was heavy. I was not impressed as heavy often equates to misplaced hopes & dreams for quality in white elephant exchanges.  But this was no dream. She lifted the mass from the bag and slowly shed the tissue paper hiding the mystery within.  When the last shred fell to the ground, she held it up and a momentary hush came over the crowd of onlookers.  Then they ooh'd and ahh'd in approval... or laughter.  And from that point on - since, after all, what's mine is hers and hers is mine - we were the proud owners of the leagle [lion + eagle]... or at least I was.  Others may mock us, but they mock in respect, because they know we walked out with the most coveted gift of the evening, maybe not for it's beauty or value, but because it will once again be the best white elephant gift at the first exchange we get invited to next year during the holidays.

Until then, or at least for the rest of the Christmas season, the leagle has landed on my desk in my photography gallery room and will sit there regally and garner respect from all those who are priviledged enough to see it in person. Did you know that if you rub the leagle's beak and toss a fiver into the jar I'm going to put out next o him, your practically gauranteed to have something good happen to you in the next 4 days?  And BTW, I'm fully aware it may not be part eagle, but leagle sounds better than lion + some-other-bird. 

So, lastly, the leagle needs a name.  Feel free to leave a comment with suggestions.  In the meantime, admire him from your keyboard... but don't covet him.


Project 365 - Day 9
WHAT: Fun, Project 365 (2009)   |   WHEN: January 9, 2009
A group of us from TI had a post-Christmas white elephant gift exchange at Pei Wei for lunch today. Here's Robin sportin' his little piece of heaven that he, umm, won? Won doesn't seem like the appropriate word in a white elephant gift exchange. I think "got stuck with" is more appropriate. This photo was taken with my iPhone.

Oh, and in case you're what wondering magic wonder I took home, I got [cork]screwed. Yep, I was the [un]lucky recipient of a cork screw bottle opener with a top shaped like a water faucet. Golden, I know.


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