Dear Greg,


            Your Secret Santa has been watching you (and listening to you) this past year, and has noticed certain, um, violent tendencies on your part.  Thankfully, your Secret Santa is not the sort of judgmental Santa who delivers bags of coal. You already “talk the talk”; why not round out your days at ISX with some items that will really help you put some extra “oomph!” behind your words?


How many times a day do you go into a tech telecon, or talk with a co-worker, or check e-mail, or even just get out of bed only to have smoke rudely blown up your ass?  Please open the long medium blue gift.

[Toy Sword]


With this item, you should be able to prevent anyone from getting close enough to accomplish any serious smoke-blowing, and if not, you can wave this gift back and forth really, really fast to keep the smoke away from the vicinity of your ass.  Try it out, if you like.


Of course, one of the most dangerous situations one gets into at ISX is a “meeting”, especially an “Active Templates meeting”.  To deal with meetings, you’ll need something smaller, something you can conceal easily on your person and easily whip out in an emergency, something, in fact, like the object wrapped in the light green paper.  Open it at once. [Toy Knife] You can hide this item in a shirt, a pocket, a boot, a sock, a laptop case, a bag of fast food, a very large soda can, or just about anywhere else that would be convenient in a meeting.  If you don’t feel like paying attention to said meeting, you can even pull the item out and play with it under the conference table with a wicked grin on your face.


Being an engineer means that sooner or later, you have to deal with code, and sometimes that code comes from other people and is written poorly, confusingly, or even in Java.  You don’t have to tell your Secret Santa how much it sucks when someone starts writing to a socket like a damn text file.  Your Secret Santa is on the ball, and has provided the contents of the small dark green package, which contains an innovative piece of technology that doctors and dentists already use to protect themselves from unclean things, and there’s no reason why an engineer like yourself shouldn’t follow suit.  Open the package; use of this item is hopefully self-explanatory.



Your Secret Santa is of course aware that you prefer to write code for the Microsoft Windows operating system.  Regrettably, Microsoft products are known to occasionally do things like freeze up the computer, cause the computer not to boot at all, or (worst of all) bring up the Microsoft “Office Assistant”, which will refuse all attempts to make it go away.  Microsoft has foolishly failed to include the item wrapped in the white tissue paper (which you should open now) with Windows, but your Secret Santa is not so shortsighted. [Toy Numchucks] This should give you some added bargaining power when trying to convince Windows to do what you want it to do.


Since the computers in the ISX office are unfortunately attached to printers, you sooner or later get swamped with design documents, white papers, database diagrams, and unintelligible charts covered in funny-colored interconnected arrows, boxes, and circles.  Most of these documents serve no purpose other than to clutter up one’s office (who needs a piece of paper with rectangles labeled “Tim” and “Al”, anyway?), so why not convert them into something resembling cat litter or gerbil food instead?  Open the pale blue package. [Toy Shurikens] Now you’ll have three chances to shred any document before it even touches your hands!


Lastly but not leastly, your Secret Santa has observed that the presence of an individual calling himself “VanB” in your immediate vicinity almost always leads to you experiencing some kind of dreadful fate, whether it be a tech telecon, a seven-hour Active Templates meeting, or mockery of your colorful speech patterns.  Your Secret Santa has also observed that his office is far enough away from yours that if you notice him coming, you should be able to slow him down with the contents of the dark blue package just enough to make a quick getaway.  Open this final gift and give it a try, and Merry Christmas[Toy Bow & Arrows]