Another year has gone by, and it’s nearly Christmas time again. I know I always say it, but it continues to be true… and it bears repeating: the years come faster and faster every time. There’s no denying that my blogging pace has slowed down considerably. In fact this is only the 10th — and likely final — entry of the year. And only the third since May! I’ve settled in to where I only post when I’ve got something to say, or really to document. And my annual Christmas list falls into that category I think.
But since I’m here, I might as well throw in a quick rundown of current events. Let’s see… Morrissey was set to play in Oakland last week, but he cancelled literally just hours before the show. I was crushed, as was virtually everyone I know, but life goes on. Brian Setzer is coming to Santa Cruz later this month, and it’ll be a great opportunity to go to a concert with dad, which we almost never do together. Plus Jared is coming to town, so I’ll get to catch up with him! What else… I already posted about Vegas last time, but another fun trip is on the horizon: Maui for New Year’s! More on that as it becomes clear. I’m looking forward to having some great vacations in 2012. I am too lazy and maybe too risk averse to plan real vacations, or at least I have been for years. I want this year to be different, and so in addition to my recent and upcoming trip, I’m looking at Cuba, Europe, Vegas again to finally make it out for VLV, and then even a meditative Buddhist retreat! Other things under consideration or the G.I. Joe Convention in New Orleans in June, and a visit to swim with the manatees in Florida when they return in the Fall. Doesn’t even sound like me, right? What can I say? Time to get busy living.
One more thing… Trader Joe’s has just started offering Speculoos Cookie Butter, which is like peanut butter except for it tastes like liquid gingerbread cookie dough. I ate a whole can in a couple of days. I expect it to be a part of my routine for the foreseeable future.
It being the holiday season and all, this is usually the time I am creating a yuletide mix CD as a gift for my close friends. I have ideas for this year’s stockpiled, but realistically I just don’t know if there’s going to be time to make it happen. I hate to say that, because it really is fun to put them together, but I may have to take a break this year. As a matter of fact, I don’t know if I’m up for any Christmas shopping. I’m swamped as it is, and we’re already just a few short weeks away from the big day. So unless and until otherwise notified, let’s plan on no gifts this year. Besides, you know how much I hate shopping out of obligation. If anything, let’s continue promoting Scroogenomics (summarized here), specifically the idea of giving donation gift cards of a specified amount where the recipient gets to choose the charity the funds go to. That way, we’re both meeting our gift exchange obligations, and instead of either of us getting junk we don’t need or want, that money goes to a worthy cause. Perfection, I say.
But I do like my things, and I did pretty well with my list last year. My folks blessed me with a Dirt Devil. Kelly’s folks got me a mouse rug. I bought myself the Monkey Island set (which I have not had time to play even once all year!), and then just recently Jared pulled off the gift of gifts by nabbing me the Nile Rodgers sheet music that I had been hunting for years! I’ve been documenting a “gimme” list for a few years now (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010), but this year was a real struggle to come up with even 10 items. I guess maybe that’s a good thing? Plus half the stuff on here is kinda silly anyway. Maybe I finally have enough stuff, or maybe I’m actually getting less attached to material possessions? Or maybe I’m just too lazy to even think of stuff for people to buy me. How American is that? OK, so Santa, friends, loved ones, admirers… I command you to shower me with the following:
- Lords Of Death Sunglasses
If you’ve seen “Big Trouble In Little China” (and if not, why not?), you know about the amazing white slanty sunglasses worn briefly by a member of the “Lords Of Death” street gang in the kidnapping scene. Reminiscent of the iconic 1965 André Courrèges Eskimo shades. Anyway, those Lords Of Death glasses… this year, I decided I must have them. Well, it turns out that they were only made in the 80’s and are all but impossible to find. The obvious place to look would be the best merch site dedicated to an obscure movie ever: The Wing Kong Exchange. I’ve purchased the Jack Burton tank top, and I love it. But they have little to offer when it comes to the glasses. It’s not their fault though. There just isn’t much information out there. They ultimately direct you to what is far and away the closest thing available, being iJaak Eyewear’s handmade Eskimo glasses. I traded some emails with the artist who makes them, and he was super nice and accommodating, but in the end for the high cost, the result just isn’t quite close enough to the real deal. They do have an excellent blog with some good information and pictures on the originals though. If you see these pop up on eBay or anywhere else, let me know!
- Johnny Marr’s Signature Fender Jaguar
I’m leaving this one on here from last year because there was a delay. I’m told it will finally hit the market in January 2012. I have to say, from what I’ve seen, it amounts to a stripped-down plain old white Jaguar. And I can’t believe I’m saying this, but unless I find out there’s something really special and amazing about it, I may have to pass. It’s not that I don’t want to support Johnny, because honestly who supports him more than I? But I have too many guitars as it is, and even the considerable weight of Johnny’s signature may not be enough on its own to justify a purchase of that magnitude. Time will tell.
- White Ghost Cactus
This summer, I had the pleasure of seeing the “Wicked Plants” exhibit at the Conservatory Of Flowers at Golden Gate Park. There were a lot of what you’d expect — Venus Flytraps and the like — as well as some unusual suspects. One that caught my eye was a rare variation called euphorbia lactea variegata or the “white ghost” cactus. It’s basically a low-maintenance plant that grows up to six feet tall, is a striking alabaster white, and is mildly poisonous to the touch. Seems like the perfect conversation piece / Bond villain-esque pet for me to keep on my patio. And you can even buy them on Amazon. What’s not to love?
- Vegan Pewter Dr. Martens (which don’t exists)
It was only a few months ago that I bought my first pair or genuine Dr. Martens, and it was only because they’d finally reintroduced their vegan line. You are probably aware that I won’t buy leather for ethical reasons, and while I’m comfortable with that decision at the moment, it does come with a cost. There are many fashion statements that I would love to make, but cannot because suitable cruelty-free options do not yet exist. Consider the fantastic pewter finish that I would love to strut in, not to mention the dozens of others. I tell you, if the vegan option were there for more than just two colors (as is the case now), I would own more pairs of these shoes than I would like to admit. White, powder blue, red velvet… the list goes on. All call out to me, but I have yet to hear an argument that will allow me to buy these and still sleep at night, sadly.
- ████ ████████
So I’ve had a nice ████████ ███████ for a while, though I haven’t done much with it yet. I’m thinking I ought to at least ████ ██ and get some ████████ before adding another ███████ to my life. So hopefully that will happen soon, and I’ll be more certain that I really want this and am ready for it. (Please excuse the redaction; I had to sanitize this for the public. But me and Santa both know what we’re talking about here.)
- Multi-System Flatscreen T.V. / DVD Combo
As with smart phones, which I’d successfully resisted until this last summer, I’m thinking it’s time I finally join the free world and get a modern television. You see, I don’t watch it that much, and I don’t really play video games on it, so I’ve been happy with the same old CRT for years now. How many years? Well, it’s the one Jared left with me when he moved six years ago, and who knows how old it was before that? It’s tiny, but I really don’t mind. Seeing how cheap the technology has become and how nice some of my friends’ big flatscreens are, I’m starting to get the itch. Because I upgrade my technology so very rarely, I guess I ought to get something big enough to last me a while. Get it all done at once, you know. I suppose it ought to support HD, since things seem to be going that way. And I guess the new DVD player ought to support Blu-ray, since things seem to be going that way. The only hitch for me is that I want a “multi-system” DVD player that will play all region codes and a “multi-system” T.V. that will display both NTSC and PAL formats. Just so that I can watch my few import DVDs on something other than a computer. You’d think with all the digital technology these days, those concerns would be a thing of the past, but they’re not. They do make multi-system flatscreens, though they’re not super common in the U.S., and for the same price, you can get a much bigger “regular” flatscreen. So to get one that’s both multi-system and also big… well let’s hope Santa’s loaded.
- Buddhist Alarm Clock
I’m keeping this one on from last year too. I’m still waking up every morning to the sounds of the local 80’s R&B station. I need to get more sleep, I know, but I also think waking up more peacefully wouldn’t hurt either in terms of reducing stress. So again, I find myself wanting to explore either the gentle bell to gradually wake me, or the synthetic sounds of harbor noises and the like. Anyone have experience wth these?
- Puppet Master T-Shirt
It seems like every year, there’s some hard-to-find shirt on my list, and I have struck out with all of them so far. This year’s entry is an awesome design that was once offered by some company called “Lucky Threadz” which is now apparently known as “Loiter?” All I know is that every official site I could find for them (and there was more than one which is a bad sign) was down/deactivated/abandoned (which is another bad sign). I have very little hope I’ll ever get one of these in a men’s XL, but if your Googlin’ skills surpass mine, please do me the great honor of finding me this shirt!
- Triumph Rocket III
At a Reverend Horton Heat show a couple years back, I saw a motorcycle parked out front with a custom paint job designating it as “The Baron.” I don’t know enough about them to know what kind it was, but the dim photo I was able to snap with my old phone helped my friend Sean determine that it was likely a Triumph Rocket III or something from the Boss Hoss family. What struck me about it was that it didn’t look like a normal bike. It looked like it had a small car engine in it, rather than the usual motorcycle guts. Take a look at that Rocket III, and you’ll see what I mean. I’m not 100% convinced what I saw that night was a Rocket III, but it will do. Sean advises me that this is too much bike for most men, and certainly for a novice like myself. But since when do I listen to reason? Vroom vroom!
- Red & White Striped Paper Straws
On a recent trip to the delicious Straw restaurant, I was amused by the kitschy retro straws they provided with their drinks. They were of that barber pole style, and strangely (to me, at least) they were made of paper. Turns out, these are not hard to find. Amazon sells a box of 144 Kikkerland Biodegradable Paper Straws (red and white striped) for under $7. I haven’t picked any up yet, but I’m dying to. Then I want to lay out by the pool and drink from a can of Diet Coke using one of the straws… hmmm, I feel I’ve said too much. I don’t know why, but I still get excited by the prospect of getting things for the home like you see in restaurants. For instance, I recently got rocks glasses at BevMo, along with an ice tray that makes perfectly geometric cubes of ice (as close as you can get to that super clear restaurant / bar ice without buying a heinously expensive professional ice machine — trust me). Seeing the perfect ice in the perfect little glass has actually caused me to start drinking more alcohol at home. For reasons like this, the glassware at BevMo and Cost Plus rocks my socks. Somehow I think this is all tied to OCD, but I digress.
Aside from all that ridiculosity, there are always the essentials: I can always use some Eternity for men (that’s my scent, yo). And then a new year means a new wall calendar for work. For 2011, the theme was manatees. For 2012? You tell me.
In all seriousness, obligated gift exchanges are recipes for disaster and anxiety. I don’t know what you want, and you’re not going to buy me a motorcycle. Let’s avoid the stress, and for Christmas let’s just catch up over a meal instead. Your treat, of course.