Posted by: Mark | January 9, 2009

The Greatest Gifts Ever, Part 1

Just coming out of the season of giving, and receiving, I want to chronicle some of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten. I think it’s important to recognize some of these great gifts to show some gratitude. What follows is a quick list of some of my favorite gifts, followed by an acknowledgment of an awesome gift I just got today.

-my first video camera, given to me by my in-laws. totally jump-started my interest in movie-making
-a Vespa, given to my wife and I by my brother for our wedding (making it one of the best wedding gifts ever given, ever.) It has totally transformed how we live in the city.
-a framed picture of extreme sentimental value, given to me by my wife after our first year together. Still one of my favorite shots of us.

The list, of course, goes on and on, but I’m inspired to share this because one of my students from Korea got back to school today with this gift for me.


To explain, this is a custom-made Korean stamp. It is a long rock shaped like a box, with an engraving on one end. It came with a red ink pad. The engraving is an ornamental way of writing my last name, or at least, the phonetic syllables in Korean that sound like my last name. We tested it a couple times on a post-it before we had put enough ink on it to get a really good visual. My student was kind enough to break down the design on the left, showing which character makes which sound.

I have put this post in the “review” category because I think the thing worth mentioning is how incredibly awesome this student is to give me such a cool gift, which is likewise totally awesome. I get to stamp any important documents, or hell, any document I want. I am going to start stamping my grocery list to give it my seal of approval.

So I’ve decided for every review I make, whatever it is, I’m going to grade the product on a 1-10 scale for whatever category I want. Here goes:

Awesomeness of the Student Who Gave This To Me: a pretty obvious 10.
Usefulness of Product: 8.5. I try to avoid using paper, but now I can stamp every piece I use.
Medieval Sentiment It Evokes: 9. I think the only way this could be more medieval would be if she actually gave me a red candle so that I could melt wax onto a folded letter to seal it, and then close it with my stamp. (see mental image of the Princess from “The Princess Bride” sealing her envelope.) So yeah, it’s not a 10, but it is close.
Strength of Product compared to Activia Yogurt: Activia is known for regulating your digestive system, which is an interesting thing to mention in a commercial but I guess that’s the angle they’re going for. This stamp is cool, but it’s not edible. And in fact, if I was to eat it, it would probably make my digestive system very irregular. But it’s in a foreign language and it’s custom-made. That gives it major props over any old Activia, which anyone could buy. So I’m going with a 9.5


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