Presenting….The 2012 Annual Greed List!
The time has come for my Annual Greed List – the large (and, yes, uncut) list of things I desire for Christmas in 2012. Why do I do this? If you’re really interested, here’s a brief history of the Greed List.
The briefer version, however, is that I think “What you want” is a reflection of “Who you are” at this moment – your music, your hobbies, your fandoms, all combine to say something about who you are as a person (and, as the Greed List has aged, something about how technology is intersecting with society). And while I guess I could just make a big ol’ Amazon Wishlist and rank it and link it, why bother? I want you to know who I am in this moment, and so I not only list what I want, but explain why I want it.
So here it is. Here’s who I am this year. Ordered in descending level of desire.
Batman: The Animated Series: Season 1, Season 2, Season 3, and Season 4 ($20 apiece, maybe?)
Normally, the top-list item for my Greed List is something unfeasibly expensive, which my family may or may not band together to purchase – past choices have been “A king-sized bed,” “An ION Rock Band Drum Kit,” or something similarly $500-and-uppish. This year’s #1 is surprisingly affordable. Why?
Well, partially it’s because I’ve given up all hope on Netflix Streaming getting them – which is, of course, a guarantee that Netflix Streaming will add them the moment I ask for them. (It worked for six season’s worth of Mythbusters on DVD.)
(As a side note, it’s funny how Netflix has made the Greed List more expensive – time was, I’d have a lot of DVDs/VHS tapes that anyone could get for Christmas-y prices. Then Netflix came along, and obliterated my chronic inability to return tapes on time – at one point, I had $300 in over-charges from a Blockbuster – so instead of purchasing DVDs to see a movie, I’d Netflix them. Then streaming came along and made it so that I could view a large selection of movies on demand. Then Spotify let me do the same for music. Now, if I want a movie, it’s generally so big I won’t wait until Christmas, like the Avengers, so the low-end stuff has shifted off the list, leaving pricey ugly stuff. Which is bad, I know, but that’s #firstworldproblems for you.)
Anyway, the other part is that I adore the Paul Dini comics, but have never seen the Animated Series – of which there are four – and they strike me as being precisely the kind of low-wattage entertainment that will pass the time while I’m working and exercising. I mean, not to dismiss comics or animation, but if I concentrate for a few moments to suss out a bug in a function, I won’t be lost forever, and it moves quickly enough to take the pain off my legs when I’m exercising. These are, by many peoples’ lights, the best Batman cartoons ever made, and I would love them.
They are currently $20, but I don’t know if Amazon is having a sale. Maybe they are. Maybe they should be purchased stat.
A Treadmill Desk ($450)
Part of the reason this isn’t #1 is that we’re having problems with our treadmill. But I am a pudgepot, and trying to get his wind back, and one of the quickest ways to burn calories subtly is to put your treadmill at, say, one mile and hour and slooowly walk for three hours a day while you’re catching up on email. For me, I’d probably use it while I wrote, which would help a lot.
I’m worried that we spend all of this money and then can’t get our treadmill fixed, in which case we have a desk that does nada. We have our second repairman coming out on Monday. If that doesn’t work, we may need a third. It’s all under warranty, but it’s convincing the warrantors that this isn’t our local electrical fluctuations, and so I’m relatively confident. Though it’s a bunch of change.
But it would help me wander about.
A Fire Poi Starting Kit ($110)
“I am so glad you are not learning to eat fire!” my dad gushed. “I mean, I’m sorry you can’t breathe fire because of your bad teeth. But at least I know you won’t be burning yourself!”
Anyway, I would like to learn how to spin fire poi. My friend JFargo left me behind a starter kit using socks, but two other fire poi spinners have looked at his hand-made grips and expressed concern that they’re distinctive, which is to say that skills learned on them may not translate to actual, you know, fire. Dunno if that’s true. But it’s Christmas, and we can be a little frivolous, and why not just get me a full fire poi kit? You don’t have to have it on fire to try. And then I can get up to speed, and eventually try it with the flame, and then go up like the Hindenburg.
In case you’re curious, the kit I want is double-loop leather, black chain (always black!), and Large. If you’re more in the know about fire poi, feel free to contact me.
Straight Razor Shaving Kit (…$???)
Like every other red-blooded male who saw Skyfall, I thought, “Well, shit, why aren’t I shaving with a straight razor?” It seems hideously dangerous. Then again, I shaved for years using an electric razor because the disposables seemed hideously dangerous, and then one day I tried it and holy shit, look at how smooth my skin is. And I’ve watched my barber shave me with his straight razor any number of times. So it can’t kill me.
(He says, thinking of that scene in Eastern Promises.)
The problem is that I’m not sure what the best way to do this is. The straight razor kits seem really overpriced on Amazon, and they’re not well reviewed because they’re not sharp. (From experience in other areas, I can tell you that the dullness seems like a feature, but you’re more likely to catch your skin and cut it with a dulled edge.) So I think what I want is a Dovo razor of some sort, and a brush, and shaving soap, but probably not all in one kit – just three separate items. I think I’d want a Dovo razor (so I don’t have to strop – these have exchangeable blades), and if you get those then you have to get a pack of Derby blades (the sharp and dangerous ones). Then a shaving brush, and old-fashioned shaving cream.
What could go wrong?
Hideous Hawaiian Shirts ($30)
Seriously, any time you can pick me up an XL shirt in the most hideous of colors, I’ll be happy. It goes with my pretty pretty princess nails and my new hats and my fabulous boots.
Far Cry 3, for X-Box ($60)
This is yet another first-person shooter, but what appeals to me about it is a) the supposedly beautiful graphics, and b) the fact that you’re just an average dude seeking revenge. Most games start you off as a badass soldier, who for some reason has just a knife and a pistol. In this case, your brother was the soldier, who got shot, and you’re wandering around the island getting into random gunfights in the hope of getting good enough at warfare that you have a chance of rescuing the rest of your family from the crazed warlords.
I like that plotline. So I’ll try this game.
The Troupe, by Robert Jackson Bennett ($13)
I read a lot of books by author friends. I usually enjoy them, but it takes a bit of work to get me over the hump and into becoming a fan. In this case, Robert’s first book, Mr. Shivers, was this delicious Bradburyesque tour through Americana dust bowl, and this looks to be more of the same. I would like to read this on the plane back home from visiting my Mom in California, as my father’s gift of Stephen King’s 11/22/63 helped while away the five-hour trip back to Cleveland, thus inspiring a delightful tradition I hope continues.
X-Com: Enemy Unknown, for X-Box ($60)
There are many who think that I am a smart man. Those people should watch me play strategy games. Holy God, put me in charge of a Civilization and everyone in that town is going to die horribly. Even on easy.
So why do I want what is well-known to be the most punishing strategy game for the X-Box, where often even if you play perfectly, sometimes luck will fuck you out of victory? Where it’s brutal, and every soldier counts, and losing two men in a mission is enough to cause a restart?
Well, because I often enjoy the mental challenge, even if I’m clearly not up to it. And because if I get it, I can write in the hyphen on the box with a Magic Marker, because the original game this was based on was called X-Com, and this one is technically named “Xcom,” and that bothers the shit out of my anal-retentive little heart.
Weighted Companion Cube Fuzzy Dice ($20)
If you’ve never played Portal, you won’t get the joke. But it’s a good joke. And these should be swinging off of our car. It would make me happy.
Dark Knight Rises: Special Blu-Ray Edition ($20)
Let’s be honest: the only reason this isn’t higher is because I’m going to buy it for myself if you don’t. I’m a sadly slavish Christopher Nolan fan, considering him to be the modern-day Alfred Hitchcock – and while, yes, his films are often cold emotionally aside from grim men doing grim things, I get off on that. And I thought Dark Knight Rises was a spectacular and audacious film for a superhero flick, with a truly terrifying villain. (In other news, thanks to my Dad for giving us his spare Blu-Ray player so we can view stuff like this without giving money to the evil Blu-Ray manufacturers! I won’t pay extra to watch extras you should be stuffing into your normal DVDs!)
Superfolks, by Robert Mayer ($13)
Theoretically, this is the book that my favorite comic author Alan Moore stole all of his best ideas from – you can, some have accused, see the ideas of Watchmen, Killing Joke, and Swamp Thing embedded in an obscure novel few have read but Alan used to rave about back in the day. Do I know if those accusations are true? No. But I’ve also heard it’s a good novel on its own, and I’d like to see the controversy for myself.
Police Squad!: The Complete Series ($13)
Also known as “Netflix Streaming is going to start offering this the moment I get it in my hot little hands,” this was the TV series – tragically cancelled before its time – that inspired the very successful Naked Gun comedy series, which is probably so old that most of you haven’t heard of it by now. Lordy, I’m old. In any case, Naked Gun was often a bundle of recycled Police Squad! gags, and I adored the show even more than the movies. Sadly, my VHS tapes won’t play on anything around here without some considerable tech-patching, so time to upgrade.
Bond 50: 23 Movies On Blu-Ray ($300, $129)
I saw this when it was, apparently, on sale at $129, but now it’s the normal price. Had I known! I might have gone over the top. The issue is that my daughter Erin is a confirmed James Bond addict – you should have heard her squealing for Skyfall, Skyfall, OMG OMG IT’S MORE BOND – and she’s threatening to disown me because I’ve seen Goldfinger, and well, probably have seen some of the other Connery movies but don’t remember them.
For $130, should you have it lying around, it’d be worth educating myself. For $300? Well, if you have it lying around and don’t feel like getting me the more-desired things above, then great. But I doubt you will. But who knows? I mean, it’s Christmas, amiright?