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Archive for December 25th, 2009

Merry Christmas everyone.

Today was wonderful.  We got up early to exchange gifts since my brother and his fiancée Mandy had to get on the road to visit her family in New Jersey.  After exchanging gifts and hugs we had some breakfast and even managed to squeeze in a game or two of bridge before Ryan and Mandy had to leave. 

My father and I worked on straightening up the house some and decided to catch a movie.  We went over to the Camp Hill Theaters on Simpson Ferry Road to see Invictus, starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon.  Inspiring movie, although I think director Clint Eastwood’s other recent works are a notch above this one.  My dad really enjoyed it.  As we exited the theater I looked for someone to give the $10 to.

I found 26-year-old Mike from Mechanicsburg.  He was standing alone next to a bucket of popcorn and two large drinks.  Mike had just finished seeing Sherlock Holmes, which he gave a thumbs up for.  He was waiting for Avatar, the new film out by James Cameron.  As he seemed to be a bit of a movie fan, I asked him what his favorite all time movie was.  He settled on the 1995 hit The Usual Suspects.  Fine choice I might add.

Mike was not sure what he was going to do with the money.  Said he would probably spend it on himself in some way or another…something to eat or something he needs to pick up here or there.  I reckon there is a chance he stays for a third film today :).

So, counting today, I have completed 11 days of giving…353 more to go!  I find it interesting that none of the recipients have commented on the website or sent me a comment.  I think that hearing their point of view would enrich the project tremendously and I encourage any and all of the recipients who might wander back to the site to check in.  Let us know if you ended up spending the money the way you thought or if you changed your mind.  What type of reaction have you received from those with whom you have shared your story? 

By the way, I followed up with an email to our Scottish mate David, who we were introduced to on Day 5, however, I have not heard back from him either.  I was hoping to meet up once more with him before he heads off to Afghanistan.

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It’s Christmas Eve. (Actually, its 1:30am on Christmas Day now, so Merry Christmas.)

I am in Mechanicsburg, PA. 

It is about 15 degrees Fahrenheit outside.

I am at my father’s house with my brother and his fiancée.  We spent the day talking, playing cards, watching Star Wars (it’s been on all day), doing last minute shopping, wrapping gifts, listening to Christmas music, and eating lots of food.  My dad was a real hero today too.  He insisted on getting the grill out tonight to cook the steaks he had bought.  Yes, outside.  He does make some of the best steaks I have ever had, but when the grill has ice sickles on it, that’s a sign that we should use the indoor oven.

Anyway, my brother and I decided to go out and see how the central Pennsylvanians would react to my project.  Frankly, it was not as easy as you would think to give away $10 here.  We went to a pharmacy and approached three people.  All of whom said no to participating in the Year of Giving.  One didn’t even want to talk to me.  Another took the web address and said he would check out the website.  The store manager declined saying that there were others more deserving of the money than he.

So we left and headed across the street to a video rental store.  Since they were open we thought we would try to find someone who was working on Christmas Eve and give them the $10.  We walked in the store and immediately found Matt behind the counter.

A white 27 year old physics grad student at Penn State, Matt is originally from Boston.  He said he plans to concentrate his studies on Newtonian physics and would really be happy if someone would recommend him for the MacArthur Fellowship – aka the Genius Award which is given out each year to 20-40 people in the US of any age and working in any field who “show exceptional merit and promise for continued and enhanced creative work.”  While you are at it, you can recommend me too!  Aside from the recognition, you get a cool $500,000.

Matt said he didn’t have much planned for the end of the year.  As a Buddhist he said he would not be celebrating much except for New Year’s Eve, which he planned to have a few drinks.  St. Patrick’s Day, he said, was really his favorite holiday.

So the big question.  What is he going to do with his $10?  Matt plans to buy some Marlboro Menthol Lights in the short 72mm hard packs.  I had no idea that there were so many options with cigarettes.  Now, I can honestly tell you that this is the first time in my life that I have ever given money to someone to buy cigarettes.  I am vehemently opposed to smoking.  Just a note to those who do smoke this type…check out this review of them on rateitall.com.  I don’t know if the info there is true or not, but there is a claim there that those specific cigarettes have “a ‘salt’ (not like the kind you eat) in them that allows the nicotine to be absorbed by the very sensitive skin in you tongue, cheeks, throat, etc.”  Matt, I have a great suggestion for a New Year’s resolution for you :).  You can do it!  BTW, congrats to my friend Aimee who just celebrated one month without smoking.

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