Late last night, as I was lounging in my library, drinking a snifter of brandy whilst I toasted industry, I heard the clanking of chains. I assured myself that it twas nothing more than a drop of mustard, spot of old beef, or the fact that I'd huffed a full can of spray snow that had been in my attic for five years, but the door burst open, and the ghost of my dear friend Goodjer Cratchett burst through the door. He moaned and creaked, dragging chains behind him, and accused me of having forgotten the meaning of the Goodjer holiday spirit. I tried pointing out that it was only September, that I've run the Secret Stan since before we all knew how to whip OR how to nae nae, and that I was actually wearing my holiday speedo as we spoke, but alas, it was to no avail. He said that I would be visited by three ghosts during the night, and indeed I was.
The Ghost of Goodjer Past came first, and reminded me that while some might think mid-September is too early to start a holiday drive, that many participants in years past have asked for more time. Some need more time to shop, some need more time to craft the incredible examples of homemade gifts that we've seen over the years, and some just think it's really funny to listen to the wails of despair when they tell their families it's time to go Christmas shopping less than a week after the pumpkin spice latte has begun its dark work. They also had a Christmas kukri that they kept waving around, so I figured it'd be best not to argue.
After he'd departed in a puff of cinnamon and eggnog burps, the Ghost of Goodjer Present smashed out of my liquor cabinet, having chugged a sixty dollar bottle of tequila while riding a giant scorpion decked in tinsel. This murderbutt-rider dragged me across the world to the homes of Goodjers who have participated before, and to those who will be participating for the first time this year. Gotta say, some of you get WAY too comfy at home. Q-Stone, that robe is WAY too small. Anyhoo, he made sure that I remembered to build a form in which you can put your hopes, dreams, wishes, and details of that drunken night in 2013. You know the one. That tattoo didn't bedazzle itself. Also, you can put your critical details so that you can be paired to do some spooky action at a distance with your victim, flipping Einstein the bird as you reach across time and space to absolutely drench an unsuspecting merrymaker in wassail. I don't judge. Here's the form, you lovable lunatics.
Finally, I was visited by the most terrifying specter of all, the Ghost of Goodjer Future, who was super spooky, people. I mean, goosebumps everywhere... EVERYWHERE. They dragged me to the desolate, haunted wasteland of Gamers With Jobs on October 17th, a terrifying date in which the most popular forum post will be about the shocking amount of nudity in the new Tetris game, the latest conference call is just an acapella performance about why Kaiden should be spared in Mass Effect 1, and the due date for participants in this year's Secret Stan. When I asked why so early, he gave me a purple nurple while bellowing in my ear about "giving people time to stalk" and "allowing for last minute changes".
Anyway, I woke up covered in some viscous fluid outside an Apple store in St. Paul, dressed only in wrapping paper and spooning a reindeer. I just got home, but rest assured, my merry elves, the message was received loud and clear. A few last key points before we kick this diabolically delectable annual tradition off:
- If you're participating, watch your PMs, people. It's the only method I have to communicate with you, and sometimes I need someone to talk to when the night times come. Also, it's how I'll notify you of issues, shipping delays, and verify that you are indeed still alive.
- Last year was the first year that we had someone pledge to participate, but fail to follow through with no notice. After much consideration, I've decided not to change how we do things for one yahoo, with one exception. There is a question on this year's form asking if you're willing to act as a backup, should someone be unable or unwilling to send a gift to their Stan. If you are able and interested, let me know.
- There is no minimum or maximum amount for your gift(s). I have never seen someone disappointed by what they received, and in fact, handmade gifts are always the best received. With that said, please do not make a donation on your victim's behalf unless they've SPECIFICALLY asked for that.
- Post pics and vids of your unwrapping, whenever you decide that it's time! It's the best part.
If you have any questions, I can be reached via PM. I love each and every one of you, and with that said, let's do some holly jolly damage, people.