After an incredible four days at TED, I drove home to my family in the Bay Area. My kids were happy to see me, but they were far more interested in ransacking my TED gift bag. As veterans of my many conference trips over the years, the kids are acutely aware that the TED gift bag holds the most promise for them of any with which I return. And this year they were not disappointed.
There was much wrestling over the Target Dog but ultimately my 6 year old daughter was victorious. The TED Dog has not left her side since (as is evidenced by the picture below that I took today while on my way to get the crew haircuts). After losing the dog wrestling match, my 4 year old begrudgingly settled for some chocolate, the luminescent Inventibles material (his favorite — particularly in flashing mode), and a couple of Ethel tattoos, which he promptly put on his arms (as you can see in the picture above). Despite being a big fan of the temporary tattoo, my 8 year old passed on the Ethel tattoos when he learned that they were 1) in the form of a heart with the name Ethel in the middle and 2) not for a rock band, but rather for a string quartet (he was unmoved when I assured him that Ethel were, in fact, the rock band of the string quartet world). He did, however, get very excited when he saw a PSP game, believing that a PSP was likely to follow. In the "hope springs eternal" category, he took the PSP game despite a lack of PSP and my assurance that, sadly, I would not buy him one simply because he was the proud owner of a most excellent PSP title. Lastly (believe me, four kids is plenty), my 10 year old took the design book and music theory book and tried to steal the Ethel CD (that wrestling match I won) but settled for 6 months of Rhapsody instead.
Like little pack rats, my kids receded to their respective rooms to enjoy their booty. I gathered the rejected pieces of the TED bag to take upstairs, relieved that no one had claimed any of the paper gift certificates — I, and I alone, would get the free DVD, free photo book, discounted Treo 700, etc. But, above all else, I was relieved that none of them — including my wife — had chosen the thousand dollars off a brand new Lexus. I better keep that one under wraps.