So this is Christmas

This post is populated with exceptional pictures from my personal Christmas 2011 photo album. Please enjoy!

They’re back … In Christmas no one can hear you scream … Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the Christmas … Christmas, we have a problem.

What can be said about Christmas 2011? I put my top men on it and this is what we came up with.

Self Portrait Christmas 2011

Self-portrait of yours truly. Yes, the point on top of my head always shines like that. Copyright (c) 2011 Tom B. Taker Photography Studio de Elegance.

The Christmas Miracle

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t the nicest Christmas plan of all time. We decided to arrive in town a day early and not tell our relatives.

What? Stop looking at me like that. Humbug!

Before j’accuse let me say this in my defense: It was my wife’s idea. Oh sure, I’m the easy target, being all anti-social and all, but this time I’m innocent and I’m not taking the fifth.

The idea was that we’d spend the evening in town, just the two of us, relaxing and having a romantic time together. You know, something we don’t get very often during the weekly grind of our work routine.

My wife had invited the gerbil to come with and, shock of all time, he said yes. We never expected him to say yes. Be warned – sometimes gerbils do the extreme opposite. So it ended up being a relaxing time together with the gerbil. You gotta roll with it sometimes.

I don’t like to lie, but the “secret” of our first night in town wasn’t too much of a big deal. Except for the occasional cryptic comments dropped by accident about “that barking dog last night” and such that made our hosts a bit suspicious. Ooops.

On Monday we went to the motel (if you followed my tweets you already know about that heavenly place) to check out and get ready to roll out of town. We were informed by the clerk that our bill had already been settled by our uncle who had sneaked over.


It was just like a scene from Star Wars:

Luke: “It looks like Sandpeople did this, all right. Look, here are Gaffi sticks, Bantha tracks. It’s just, I never heard of them hitting anything this big before.”

Obi-Wan: “They didn’t. But we are meant to think they did. These tracks are side by side. Sandpeople always ride single file to hide there numbers.”

Luke: “These are the same Jawas that sold us Artoo and Threepio.”

Obi-Wan: “And these blast points, too accurate for Sandpeople. Only Imperial stormtroopers are so precise.”

Luke: “Why would Imperial troops want to slaughter Jawas? (Luke looks back at the speeder where Artoo and Threepio are inspecting the dead Jawas, and put two and two together) If they traced the robots here, they may have learned who they sold them to. And that would lead them home!”

Obi-Wan: “Wait, Luke! It’s too dangerous.”

What? Our uncle paid the bill? He’ll be bound to notice the bill is too high for only two nights. He’ll be bound to do the math … and that will lead him to the conclusion that we stealthily entered town!

Yep. Just like Star Wars. In every way.


And that’s how The Christmas Miracle of a good deed came along and exposed our little lie…

Christmas Dinner 2011

The Mexican Restaurant was merry, bright and ... colorful. Copyright (c) 2011 Tom B. Taker Photography Studio de Elegance.

Who Invited Vegetarians to Dinner?

We stayed in a motel across the street from the restaurant that serves kabobs that I have been dreaming about for six years. The family had decided to go there because the falafel was supposed to be excellent. I was looking forward to that but then it turned out that the restaurant would be closed for dinner.

A new plan was needed.

That plan never happened. What happened instead was the opposite of a plan. Some family members went into town and drove through looking for restaurants that were stupid enough to be open on Christmas Eve. The winner? A Mexican place on the main drag.

I can honestly say I think it’s the first Christmas Eve dinner I’ve ever enjoyed along with a margarita. No eggnog for us! I had an interesting combination plate consisting of tofu tacos (nerts) and tofu enchiladas (pretty good).

Our family is big on meat. Our uncle loves game. We had thought they would do something like turkey, ham, goose, etc., and we’d just go off and sort of forage for grains and tasty leaves and such, but I guess they were trying to be polite.

And that’s how we ended up at a Mexican restaurant on Christmas Eve. At least I stole a mini candy cane on the way out.

Gerbil Christmas 2011

The gerbil in action. Or is that inaction? Copyright (c) 2011 Tom B. Taker Photography Studio de Elegance.

Electronic Devices

The piece de resistance of the trip, however, had to be what I’m sure some families refer to as “quality time.” In our family we refer to this by its more simpler and modern definition: “electronic devices.”

Our cousin had an iPhone, and iPod and a Kindle Fire. Our uncle had a fairly new iPad 2. And there were a few laptops. The gerbil had some sort of droid thingy. And I had my iPod Touch.

Note that in addition to the above there were also cell phones and texting.

My wife, other than a cell phone, has no devices. I guess you could say she was the odd Scrooge out.

All the Whos were playing apps on their iWhos while the Grinch watched from up high on Mount Crumpit. You see, the Grinch had no devices to touch and no money for apps. His wallet was three sizes too small. He also no longer trusted debit cards.

One night he crept into the Whoville wi-fi cafe and stole all of the Anne Droids, iTouchIts and MadPads.

The sweet innocent Whos hunted him down and killed him for it. Too bad for the Grinch that his perch wasn’t higher than the iCloud.

Of course, in my own defense, I’ll say that I only whipped out the iPod when left with absolutely no other alternative, like when people were talking and shit. Honestly, though, I don’t think I was the worst offender. In fact, I think I took the bronze medal in Electronic Device Avoidance, finishing behind only my wife who took the gold and my aunt who took the silver.

I’m an Olympian! To the victors go the spoils, which is why I ditched the scene, hung out at the Olympic Village (which had plenty of snow, by the way), hanging out with young snowboarding women, chillin’ in the hot tub and eating McRibs.

There were a few moments when we sat around the table and had conversation, but then a device would be whipped out. “Aw, shit,” I said. “We just lost our uncle to the iPad.” It’s almost as bad as going into the soundproof chamber on Quiz Show. He was incommunicado.

At some point during the device fest, I realized I could download the free Netflix app and take care one of my New Year’s Resolutions of 2010: Watch an episode of Stargate SG-1 on a tiny little screen while wearing headphones. It worked pretty well, too, right up to the moment my aunt went Tonya Harding on my left knee with a crowbar. That’s how I picked up my telltale limp. And what was the emergency that prompted the attack? Yep. You guessed it. My uncle couldn’t find his bluetooth keyboard!

Here’s hoping that all of your Christmastime was just as merry! See you next year. I’ll be the one with a wi-fi dampening field generator on my belt. Ho ho oh no!

No family members were harmed during the production of this post.

4 responses

  1. There ought to be a “leave your device at the door” where they will be secured in a sound proof vault and assigned a security code, one which changes every 15 minutes. I am frustrated with shoppers, diners and women in restrooms chatting away LIKE WE CARE! When my grandsons come to visit, or my kids – it’s all about texting, playing games etc. Even during meals the droid summons them. I admit, I spend a number of hours on my computer, but it’s not interfering with human companionship – a lost art.


    1. We should start a sign business. We could make them look like old west signs that read, “Check your Phones and Pods at the door.” Great idea!

      Now I’m running into more and more people “talking” to Siri. It’s downright creepy.

      I’m so proud of my silver medal in this event. Out of six human beings I was third least offensive. Or something like that. 🙂


  2. Oh Tom, I laughed, I cried, I sat in the corner rocking with my thumb in my mouth. This both on Christmas day and whilst reading your post about it all! Oh why did you make me relive it all over again???

    You did forget to mention the dreaded “black Christmas Shoe’s” again, the mini fight in the kitchen Christmas morning between our Uncle and his daughter where he proclaimed to her “I don’t know, this is your God damned recipe!” and then stormed out of the kitchen, the constant bickering between my gerbil and his cousin, and me bawling my head off over the all bickering and electronic devices. I can’t till next Christmas!


    1. Ah. But I did mention the Black Shoe Incident of Christmas Day. It was mentioned in a tweet. Let this be a lesson to y’all. If you don’t religiously follow all of my tweets you’ll miss out on a lot of goodness.

      Yes, Christmas was interesting. I’m still not done analyzing all of the data I collected. I did note, however, that in almost any group gathering, there seems to be one-on-one flareups. At work (where there are only three of us) there are three one-on-one sub-relationships within the group: me/boss, boss/cow orker, and cow orker/me. When there are six humans together, that number jumps exponentially.


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