The 2015 Annual Greed List!

Alas, I am slightly late with my Annual Greed List – the large (and, yes, uncut) list of things I desire for Christmas. 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, help define who you are as a person.  I find it fascinating as a history, watching how what I’ve desired has mutated – for example, the list used to be heavy on physical Things, which then changed slowly into digital objects as MP3s and iTunes became big, and this year thanks to the gigantic television we bought, I’m back to wanting Things again.

And while I guess I could just shove my Amazon Wishlist at you and run, 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’s what I’d like for this swirling happy holiday season.

Buy Flex or Flux or Promote Them Or Whatever.  
So if somehow you didn’t notice, 2015 was a banner year for me – because it was the year I fulfilled my lifelong dream and became a published novelist.  But those novels still need assistance! The more they sell, you know, the better for my writing career!

So if, for some reason, you wish to get me a Christmas gift and have not purchased Flex or The Flux yet (and the ebook for Flex is currently on sale for a mere $2.99 at both Barnes and Noble and Amazon), then you can do so!  And if you have purchased them, then writing a review or a blog post or a Twitter status is always a nice thing to get an author.

And if you’ve bought the book and left a review, then you have done everything you can for me and I thank you. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a Killer Kwanzaa.

The Pyro Miniature Flamethrower. ($175)
Okay, this isn’t really a flamethrower.  I’m not completely insane.

It just throws fireballs.

No, seriously!  Check this shit out!

Basically, you load little bits of flash paper into a nozzle, which then shoots miniature fireballs out at will.  You can’t really set the house on fire with this, because the flashes are so small – note the sample where the guy explodes one under his hand.

However, I will note that in every videogame RPG I’ve ever played, I play the guy who flings fireballs.  Every time.  And if I had this, I promise not to fling fireballs in your house, but I will be a legendary hoot at other people’s parties and oh god it’s probably not the best idea but just get it for me anyway.

A Dewar To Hold Liquid Nitrogen.  ($249)
What’s that, you say?  You don’t want me flinging bits of fire at random passerby?  No problem.

How ’bout buying me a container to store toxically frigid fluids in?

See, liquid nitrogen is the funnest substance on earth. It’s so cold you can dip a rose in and bring out a rose icicle.  Stir a cup or two into milk and stir, and you make instant ice cream.  And if you like flinging it on people, well, it goes up in these great fwooshes of icy clouds, because your body is so hot that, comparatively, flinging little droplets of it at you has much the same effect as dropping water on a hot pan.

You’re the pan, comparatively speaking. You don’t get wet.  You just have little droplets skitter off you.  Unless you pour a lot of liquid nitrogen on you, at which point it freezes your skin gray and dead in an act of instant frostbite, but you probably shouldn’t do that.  I wouldn’t.

Anyway, I want to store liquid nitrogen, which is actually pretty cheap! It’s like $3 a gallon.  But storing it, well, glass would crack, plastic shatters, and the offgassing might cause a thermos to explode.  So for my safety, I think you should spend $249 to put this crazily subzero fluid in so I don’t hurt myself.

No, seriously, I want this.

Walk On Earth A Stranger, by Rae Carson ($12)
This book is filled with poisonous cockroaches, which skitter out to –

No, seriously.  It’s just a book.  This is the first nonfatal item on this list, and it’s a bit of a letdown – except it isn’t!  Because Rae Carson wrote the most awesome “Girl of Fire and Thorns” trilogy, which was like a princess Game of Thrones except the fat girl kicked ass in a thousand ways to Sunday, and she’s written another book I desire out of blind faith.

Holy Shit, Why Are All These Blu-Rays On Here?
This Christmas, Gini and I are only getting each other the smallest of gifts.  Why?

Because we bought a 70″ Ultra-HD television that is a fucking monolith.  And that was a large expenditure that was totally worth it, because with the HD we can see details that we never saw before.  We watched the Blu-Ray of Star Wars and paused it occasionally to watch the soot on a door.  A door.

So there’s a lot of DVDs this year, because there are movies I want to see in this glorious detail.  We had a fuzzy projection screen for a long time, but this level of fine picture is amazing.

Stanley Kubrick Triple Feature: 2001 / The Shining / A Clockwork Orange ($49.99)
Gini hates Stanley Kubrick films.  She finds them boring.  They are.

What I find incredible is that the boringness is part of what makes them effective.  He holds a shot for so long that you’re forced to look for more meaning in the scene, scouring for details – and you do, because he put them there.  And so while I have these movies on regular DVD, I’d like to see them in the Ultra-HD quality picture shot of a restored version – one can only imagine how amazing the space-trip sequence of 2001 is.

Corner Gas: The Movie ($15)
The visuals on this film will not be amazing. In fact, I’m not even sure I need to see Brent Butt’s face in high definition.  But Corner Gas is one of my all-time favorite sitcoms – a delightful little Canadian piece of absurdity set in a small town where quirky folks turn dull pasttimes into high-stakes confrontations.  It’s like a live-action Simpsons that was smart enough to stop when it ran out of things to say.  And I won’t say that this sitcom needed an ending, as it ran on negative continuity, but they gave it one, and so heck, here it is.

And I want to know what it is.

The Other Paris, By Luc Sante ($22)
Luc Sante wrote one of my favorite books of all time – Low Life, a look at what it was like to live in the slums of New York.  And he spent years researching this low-level history of Paris – a city I don’t know much about, but I know Luc Sante will show me its underbelly in all the best of ways.

Crazy-Ass Star Wars Socks (???)
Seriously.  Look at those socks.  I mean, I love crazy socks, and these are great.  So if anyone wants to buy me crazy socks, go ahead – thanks, Heather! – but crazy Star Wars socks are even better.

Just keep in mind we’re a Rebel faction here, sir. None of your Darth Vader or Boba Fett socks.

(Also, yes, crazy Hawaiian shirts are always happy gifts here at La Casa McJuddMetz, but the sizings are so weird on them it’s gone poorly in the past. I’m apparently a difficult kind of pudgy.)

Rocky: The Heavyweight Collection ($30)
Watching Creed this weekend, I was amazed at how absolutely perfect that movie was – it was not a sequel to Rocky, but effortlessly turned Rocky Balboa into a supporting player in someone else’s story. And the thing was, Creed was not Rocky Balboa – they gave him a great motivation that was unique.

But I grew up on Rocky, and I love the lunkhead.  He was never bright.  But he was complex, in his own way, and I loved the way each movie told a new part of his story, always treating his quiet heroism with respect.  He was a dumb boxer, but he cared for his friends, and seeing his tail end help kickstart someone else’s tale was marvelous.  And I’d like all six of the movies in this Blu-Ray box set, because four of them (Rocky, Rocky II, Rocky III, and – unbelievably – Rocky Balboa) are good.

Songs of a Dead Dreamer/Grimscribe, by Thomas Ligotti ($14)
He’s supposedly one of the best horror short story writers since Clive Barker.  (Clive Barker was good.)  And people keep telling me I gotta read this guy, he’s insane, he does things with tone and structure that nobody else has –

All right, fine, I’ll put it on my list.

Whiplash ($15)
This is not a great visual movie, but was one of my favorite stories of 2014.  I’m drawn to tales of people staking their sanity on outlandish trials (also see: Jiro Dreams of Sushi, The King of Kong), and Whiplash is an absolutely electrifying take on what happens when a sadistic-yet-skilled teacher finds a drummer who’s willing to do anything to be the best.

This got nominated for Oscars. It deserved every nomination, and then some.

Gone With The Wind Anniversary Edition ($14)
Remember when I said, “Whoah, that gigantic honkin’ screen makes everything look amazeballs?”

Now imagine the burning of Atlanta sequence in that kind of detail, and then imagine that magnificent camera pullback over the casualties of the war, and you’ll know why I want this Blu-Ray DVD.

Westworld ($15)
Yes, this is a cheesy 1970s science-fiction movie.  I have a serious, serious love for these.  And I have a serious, serious love for dystopias that go horribly wrong, and this one features Yul Brynner as someone who goes horribly wrong.

“Draw.”

Alfred Hitchcock: The Essentials Collection ($45)
You’ve got Vertigo.  You’ve got Rear Window. You’ve got North by Northwest. You’ve got Psycho, and you’ve got The Birds.  That’s five fucking awesome movies, in one bundle.

1 Comment

  1. Carmel J.
    Dec 8, 2015

    I have to say, I think “toxically frigid fluid” may be my new favorite descriptive phrase. We recently watched Gone with the Wind in blu-ray on a big screen (gotta educate the kids), and I think you will not be disappointed. Consider adding Casablanca and The African Queen (which I got in a blu-ray double pack) as well. Also, I find that classic 2D animation eats high definition up in a way little else does- Sleeping Beauty was particularly amazing. 🙂

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