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December 13, 2003

Fleet Three White Elephant Party!


PPO (Principal Party Officer) Dan Merino Reports:


This year's turnout was smaller than most with some 25 people making an appearance at our annual Christmas Party. Sadly only 4 people represented our fleet. Even sadder is that the keg was barely dented. Despite the low turn out there were many high points, some new aggressive gift tactics and only one violation of party rules.

First the high points: Steve outdid himself this year in the culinary department. The birds he fried were some of the tastiest I can remember. He even made a believer out of Denise. And as an added bonus he managed to keep the oil off the driveway... Way to go Steve...!!!

John Billings did a fine job carving the birds for an audience that was standing by ready to devour them. No fingers were reported lost during the carving (John's or any bystanders). As in the past only the cleaned carcasses were left and the turkeys didn't last long.

Former fleet captain Bill Jenkins introduced the new tactic seen this year... The rules of the party state that only people bearing white elephant gifts are eligible for the gift exchange. Bill took this one step further by bringing three gifts and submitting his name along with the names of Mike and Noelle's twins (Adam and Mathew). Was it extreme generosity or the attempt to use innocent children to dispose of his useless crap? Despite this tactic no protest was filed and the Jue family ended up carrying home an extra share of worthless items. At one point I thought Noelle suspected something was going on when she was forced to open more than one present.

Meg committed the major party foul when at the end of the evening I found the original mast ram tube from Weasel (her white elephant gift) sitting on a bookshelf in the living room. This was in clear violation of the BOLD print under the FAQ's that states: "YOU MUST TAKE YOUR GIFT HOME AT THE END OF THE EVENING". An appropriate penalty will be assessed at a later time.

The gifts...The most popular gift this year was the dancing Caddyshack gopher, which quickly got traded three times (maximum under party rules). At one point it had to be pried out of young Max's hands. The gopher originated in Missouri, moved to Long Beach, then to San Juan Capistrano and now to its new home in the College area (not my house). It's a well-traveled gopher...

Some gifts that made return trips to the party included the jar of "Ashes of former boyfriends" and the vintage 50's hair dryer. There was a rumor that the "Panoramic Kitty" video would return, but apparently Bill McKinney and Anita are not finished using it.

In general the quality of the gifts improved, which is probably a result of fewer 505 sailors showing up and more new blood showing up. I'm sure they'll catch on after this year though. I'm still waiting for my autographed video copy of the "Abonator"

Lame excuses:

Mark Kurzava - Anticipated hitting puberty that night so arranged to go to a company Christmas party with a hottie so she could lead him around by his short and curly.

Bill and Anita - Looking for a way to restore the worn sections of the "Panoramic Kitty" video.

Geoff Nelson - Swears that he was going to show up as soon as he hears from Ben, plus he's grown attached to the windmill.

Ben Wood - Busy trying to avoid Geoff

Chris Shand - Searching for the latest greatest in flu symptoms.

Dave Eberhardt - Couldn't find enough wrapping paper for his "Cannabot"

Doug and Harry - Were afraid people would think they were 505 sailors.

Chris Stomberg - Waiting for someone to buy his boat so he won't show up on the lame excuse list anymore (BTW... Congratulations)

Roger and Mike - Figured it would be another no show 505 event (and were partly correct).

Pilar Asensio - Would have choppered in from cruise ship off the southern coast of Mexico, but helicopter pilot got lost in Pilar's bed sheets.

SanDiego505 - White Elephant Party

Saturday, December 14, 2002

White Elephant Wrapup

The 505 sailors of San Diego once again enjoyed the hospitality of Dan and Denise Merino at their annual White Elephant holiday party. Every year the Merinos graciously issue a Notice Of Party to the world at large, and we 505ers gratefully, if somewhat mercilessly, descend upon their house.

The format this year was Potluck (it might have been last year as well, but I can’t remember that far back). Ben and Lisa Wood made a very impressive entry with homemade hors d’oevres including Ben’s pastry pinwheels and Lisa’s minced kalmata olive cheese ball. Both very delicious. Steve Schnelker once again surpassed himself all over again by perfectly deep-frying two turkeys in succession, each injected with his secret combination of spices. Bill Jenkins performed the obligatory duty of dissecting the fowls as they were withdrawn from the hot oil. Rumors that the delicious pile of carved meat included the digits of one or two would-be turkey meat poachers… might be well founded. But it was all consumed, right down to the bony turkey carcasses.

Despite the excellent conditions, the PC (party committee) postponed the opening of gift signal for a good 30 minutes to give the participants some time to digest and establish a good bearing on the starting line. But when the PC attempted to postpone for another 30 minutes while they washed dishes, the assembled yachts asserted their desire to get the proceedings under way. And that’s what happened.

At the gift-openers meeting, all agreed to be bound by the rules of the previous years extravaganzas, and then the frenzy began. Gift donors were, of course, anonymous, but a few interesting observations could be made. For example, the incredibly tacky miniature windmill that Geoff Nelson selected looked remarkably similar to the one that was last seen in Chris Stomberg’s new front yard. The only gift from last year that made its reappearance was the jar of ex-boyfriend ashes that was selected by Janice last year and by Denise this year. Looking forward to seeing that one back again. To everyone’s disappointment, neither the spiked Jack-o-lantern nor the adult video was regifted. The most popular item, stolen the maximum number of times, was the set of iron candleholders. The flying pig also changed hands a couple of times. Since there was an extra gift at the end of the night, Maria Jenkins was awarded a mercy reselect in recognition of the crumminess of the gift she had originally chosen – a water heater valve. Of course, she still had to take the valve home.

Everyone had a great time, even if they didn’t score big on the gift exchange course. It was a fabulous party with lots of delicious food, plenty of beer pouring from Dan’s kegerator and a great group of people.

Bill Jenkins

Friday, December 7, 2001

White Elephant wrap up

Dan Merino - Team Weasel

Some 35 people made an appearance at this years 505 Fleet Christmas party. We were all once again treated to the spectacle and cooking styling of Chef Schnelker frying two birds. Steve has become quite the culinary expert when it comes to frying birds. I can't tell you what he marinated them with but both were incredibly tasty as evident by the cleaned carcasses leftover. Special thanks to both Steve and Bill Jenkins for providing this years turkeys. Newly appointed fleet captain Bill McKinney was put on carving detail as soon as he arrived.

In true fleet 3 fashion all participants were late for the start with the exception of Steve who was over early… Ok… So he got there early but then had to go back home because he forgot the turkey secret sauce. The participants began trickling in and the beer began to flow. Two gift exchange postponements were signaled to allow participants to sample all the assorted food brought by guests. Somewhere around 10 PM the gift exchange finally got underway.

Some perennial favorite gifts were once again exchanged from previous years parties such as a section of Chris Shands broken mast and the ever popular VHS copy of "Karate Kid II" This year however some new contenders made a strong showing. Among them were a mobile consisting of a coat hanger, two cassette tapes, an AC cord, and a vacuum cleaner hose attachment. As Roger displayed his acquired gift I couldn't help but think that it was a cry for help from whoever made it. John Harrop opened the other interesting gift. John was fortunate enough to open up a pumpkin with a railroad spike stuck in it. I though that this could possibly be some artistic statement from the same person who brought the mobile, but my thoughts quickly turned to "Hide the kitchen knives". John was compensated with a jug of wine that was stored in our garage. While I fully expect the mobile to make an appearance next year, possibly with a few more items hanging on it, I'm hoping the pumpkin does not. The thought of a year old pumpkin just doesn't sound appealing. Interesting to note that no one fessed up to bringing the mobile or pumpkin. In my opinion they were the best gifts… I'm just glad I didn't get them. An comical pairing between gift and recipient was between John Billings and his gift… a VHS copy of "Panoramic Kitty" (Ok… so that wasn't the original title… But it's the only one I can print). Ask him about the content of the tape…

On a sad note… the fleet failed to kill the keg. Make your appointment today to do your duty and help me finish the keg.

Lame excuses…

Former fleet captain Chris Stomberg... Waiting at home for his new mast while calculating the probability of him ever sailing his boat again. Anyone remember the last time Chris was in a 505?

Mark Kurzava… Busy writing his novel "Talking the talk without walking the walk… Finishing my boat and other predictions"

Geoff Nelson… Had hot date with his sister

Bob Woodcock… Sailing Haiku to Cabo… Ok… so that is a good excuse.

Marc Winger… Feels that Orange County is part of Northern California and therefore San Diego is "too faaarrrrr" (spoken in the whiniest voice you can imagine).