The 2018 Annual Greed List!

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 0.603% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

Every year, I publish my Christmas list for public consumption, jokingly calling it “The Greed List.” It’s not because I expect you to get anything for me. 

(Though you know, if you at least looked at the first item on the  list as a personal favor to me, well, that’d be a nice Christmas all round.)  

The reason I publish it, and hence commit these lists to the communal memory, is that I think “What you want” is a reflection of “Who you are” at this moment – your music, your hobbies, your fandoms, all help define who you are as a person.  I find it a fascinating 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 now as I’m renting a lot of digital stuff nowadays I’m back to wanting Things again.

(And it allows me to chronicle strange bumps in my desires; for example, 2016’s list contained not one single book. Why? Was it because I stopped loving books?  No!  It’s because I just got off a book tour promoting my book Fix, and I was so overflowing with books that I needed to run down my pile. And this year has no books on it because Gini finally hauled me to the library and showed me how easy it was to electronically check out books from Cuyahoga’s system, so I’m full up on reading.  If you’re curious as to what I’m reading at the moment, well, my GoodReads automatically tracks most of it; feel free to follow me.)

And while I guess I could just shove my Amazon Wishlist at you without context, 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 holiday season.

BUY THE SOL MAJESTIC, MY NEW NOVEL.  Please.  ($16.99 or less.)
So if you haven’t noticed, my time-travelling, gay-romancing, space station food porn book is coming out next June, and it is a) a remarkably difficult book to market, and b) kiiiinda critical to my career.  

It’s so critical, in fact, that to goad advance sales I’m breaking out all the stops to entice you to preorder it – a signed bookplate, a secret drink recipe from my favorite bar,  an even secreter recipe themed on the book.  (Details on how to order it, and what you get, are here.)  

So if you want to get me the best kind of present, order one for yourself.  It’s only $16.99, or less electronically, and as I’ve said – if you like the me that gets presented in these blog posts, The Sol Majestic is probably the most authentic translation of that me into fiction I’ve ever done. 

Plus, you know, lots of food porn.  Lush as I can make it.  Promise.

Pencils And A Pencil Holder.  ($Trivial)
“Ferrett, this list is ordered by the desire,” you say. “This means your #2 gift on Christmas, the thing you’re most likely to receive…. is pencils.”

Fucking yes.

Now that I have started woodworking, and my friends join me in the wood shop, we need to make marks on wood. A lot.  And here’s the most common phrase spoken in our wood shop: 

“Where’d I put that pencil?”

If I had a dime for every time we’ve said that, I could buy a much better workshop. 

Because we have two pencils.  We keep misplacing them.  I bought a box of pencils one day and they were too big for the auto-sharpener. And even if I bought a bunch more pencils, I’d still not have an official place to put them, and so we’ll keep losing pencils. 

What I want is: 

  • A bunch of #2 pencils
  • In bright day-glo colors so we can’t miss them lying on brown, gray, and surfaces
  • And a big-ass, gaudy pencil holder that is, frankly, embarrassing but sort of me, if you get what I’m saying

Is it cheap?  You bet. Do I risk being besieged in pencils?  You bet – check with Gini.  But will I have enough pencils in the wood shop when I am done?

No.

No, I will not.  

Bluetooth Headphones That Won’t Fall Out Of My Ears. ($???)
When I am in the workshop, I’ll often want to listen to podcasts. (Before you ask: Futility Closet, Limited Resources, Writing Excuses, Planet Money.  There; those are the best four podcasts out there, to my mind.)  And having wired headphones risks the wire falling into the blade, so I have to go wireless.

The problem is, those earbuds that work for everyone else? 

They just fall out of my head.

I don’t know what’s up with my ear canals, but they seem custom-designed to push ear buds out of them.  So I need some form of bluetooth headphone that will not force me to remove my dapper hat or protective goggles but also has some form of ear-shieldy-staply-sticky thing so I’m not continually grabbing for my damn earbuds again.  

What would that look like?  I have no idea.  Surprise me.  

The Beatles White Album Deluxe 6-CD Edition ($129.99) (Electronic)
When I was thirteen, my friend Bryan discovered the Beatles.  And I wanted to listen to the Beatles, but he wouldn’t let me.

“I’ve been listening to the White Album,” he said.  “It’s pretty advanced.  I don’t think you’d get it.”  

Motherfucker, it’s thirty years later, and I still got it.  

Seriously, though, the Beatles’ White Album is the Beatles at the pinnacle of their career as far as I’m concerned – unsettling and beautiful, experimental without going too far (well, Revolution #9, but I’ll forgive that), and gorgeous.

To celebrate the Beatles, they made a six-CD collection with a significant amount of alternate takes and remixes – and what I want to hear is the paths the Beatles didn’t take, to analyze why they chose this version of “Glass Onion” over the other.  I want that.

Now.  The problem is that I actually want this in iTunes, because I don’t listen to CDs any more.  In a pinch I can scan it on my computer and sync it, but that’s an extra step that skips the cloud – and I don’t know how you gift an iTunes box.  

So gift an iTunes to me?  Somehow?  Specifically, this album if you can?  Thank you.  

(Incidentally, I’m feeling a bit guilty because this year’s Greed List involves a lot more work on everyone’s part – usually I just hand you a list and say “This make and model,” and it’s done.  These involve followups – emailing me after pre-ordering the Sol Majestic, finding pencils, researching earphones – but people said they like surprising me.  So this is your year, people.)  

Colibri V-Cut Cigar Cutter ($31.20)
I smoke a cigar about once every three weeks, but it is often the best part of those three weeks.  Because the cigar is where I take my purest me-time – I go into my woodshop with a glass of chocolate milk in my hand (because chocolate milk and cigars go great together), start sawing lumber and occasionally puffing and drinking, and just exult in my body doing bodily things. 

But I suck at cutting cigars.

If you don’t know, to smoke a cigar you have to cut a notch into the end so you can draw smoke through it. 

And I always cut it wrong.

I always cut too much, so there’s too much smoke, or more likely I compress the tobacco so smoking it is like drinking a thick milkshake through a straw.  And I’ve tried a bunch of cutters, and nothing worked quite well except for this spring-loaded sucker lent to me at a convention. 

Help me with my me-time.

Doctor Who: Peter Davison, Season 1 ($55.99)
Peter Davison is my Doctor: the flawed one.  People don’t always listen to him, his gambits sometimes fail, and he seems genuinely distressed – not enraged, distressed – by evil.    

And above all, he fails.  Which means that the tension is always present: after Adric died, can the Doctor really save the day? 

As someone who’s intensely fallible at times, that resonates more for me than Tom Baker’s thundrous jokester God personality never did.  (Though honestly, if you wanted to buy me his first season too, it’s only $65.99.) 

And now Season 1 is available on DVD, meaning I can rewatch them in higher-resolution and also repurpose some DVDs in my basement.  Which is awesome.  

Night Of The Living Dead: Criterion Edition ($27.99)
My friend Bart recently asked, “What are the top three influential horror films of all time?”  And I said it was Dawn of the Dead, but realistically, you can trace the entirety of the modern zombie movie back to this dark little microbudget Pittsburgh number.  

It’s got a black man in the lead in a 1967 film.  It’s got gore and unhappy demises for likeable characters.  It’s got a hardcore lesson that the dead are truly dead.  

And the Criterion edition, as usual, makes it brilliant.  Criterion is the king of DVD extras, exhuming classic movies and finding the best behind-the-scenes stuff.  I’d love to see this, because the only NotL I actually have is a dreadful off-brand anniversary edition with a hammers-on-synth pasteded on soundtrack and new edits that ruin it.  

Ugly Hawaiian Shirts and Silly Socks
Seriously, you can’t go wrong buying me ridiculously ugly shirts or providing me with more nerdy socks for the sock god.  I wear XXL for Hawaiian shirts (which tend to shrink), and my socks I wear in, uh, sock sizes.  

Are there sock sizes?  Sure.  I guess.  

Dominican Cigars ($???) 
As I said, I smoke cigars occasionally, and I am in the “beer and bourbon” phase of my development – I don’t know what I really like yet, so I’m just walking around trying things with cool labels.  It’s a good way to learn.

But it does mean that I’ve come to realize I prefer Dominican cigars widely, which is about the same range as “I like stouts” – it narrows it down, just, y’know, not a whole lot.  

The best cigar store in town is Robusto and Briar – it’s manned by competent people who are also kind (I used to shop at Cigar Cigars until they mocked my choice of a Macanudo), and if you wanted to toss them some business that would be great.

Porter Cable Dovetail Jig ($225)
I’m gonna say that I was reluctant to put this on the list, because I’m not sure I’m worthy yet.  This is the holy grail of woodworking for me – it’s when we’ve begun working with hardwood exclusively, which we haven’t yet, and start assembling frames with not crude carpentry nails or biscuit quick-fixes, but genuine artistry.  

For the price, I don’t think we’d use this much.  But we do, what we’d create with it would be glorious fitted joints that would make for gorgeous furniture. 

I don’t think I’m worthy yet, which is why it’s at the bottom of the list.  But if by some reason someone got this for me, I might one day become worthy of it, which is a beautiful gift in and of itself. 

(But seriously.  Pre-order The Sol Majestic first.)  

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