Gifting Gifts

It’s a word I’m torn on. It’s unclear what gifting does that giving does not, and yet the OED cites it in the 16th century. That’s Early Modern English, folks. Old enough for me to throw up the proverbial hands and talk about what I’m gifting or want gifted this gifting season.

Most of this garbage is from the GQ I spent this back-from-a-long-trip evening reading the first half of:

The Hulger Plumen Compact Fluorescent Lightbulb ($30)
Yes, it’s $30, but that it supposedly lasts for 8,000 hours makes up for this price, right? And the thing that we all know by now about CFL’s is that the light they cast is ghastly white and bright and makes everyone’s skin look Twilight-sickly and everyone’s lunch on the verge of being lost. But look what’s going on with that wood right there! A room lit incandescently is a room well lit. And if a room lit incandescently is a room wasting heat energy, then here we have a heat-loss solution that makes me happy to look either at others’ skin or the words that fall on the book I’m reading’s page.

Areaware Alarm Dock ($40)
Fine: to wake up I use a normal alarm clock that is not also a phone. Also, even if I used my phone, I don’t own an iPhone, which this seems exclusively to require. Nor does N own an iPhone I could gank each evening. But the design of this is so gorgeous that I just sort of want it. I look at it and I want it, thinking about myself waking each morning in one of those magazine-ad bedrooms suffused everywhere with light—right now may be a good place to confess that we use cheap blankets and nails to keep our bedroom pitch-black at all times—to some perfectly curated bit of Eno-composed sound sqwerking out from my little iPhone speaker. And smiling. Smiling at how crisp that iPhone’s app’s display looks. I think the digits even seem to flip each minute like those old analog clocks!

Schott Zwiesel Tristan Crystal Old-Fashioned Glasses, Set of 6 ($41)
I need additional barware like I need—I’m saying it—a hole in the head. And that goes double for the old-fashioned glass. In fact, just last Xmas 2010, N got me this incredibly hefty and ornate set of six Ralph Lauren Abbot-pattern crystal double old-fashioned glasses, which I’ve touched three times. Once while unwrapping them under the tree in Nebraska. Twice while packing them back up to ship to Alabama. And thrice while unpacking them again, only to find that one had broken in shipping. And now I don’t allow myself to touch them ever. Which brings me to these Schott Zwiesel glasses. They’re, lemme quote, “Made of Tritan crystal … a world wide patented crystal glass material and manufacturing process; All Tritan products are thermal shock resistant, resist chipping and breakage [sic x3].” GQ claims I can let the heavy thing fall right from my drunken fingers and hear it clatter, not shatter, on the hard, hard floor. Yes!

Silicon Mini Spatulas, Set of 2 ($3)
This one’s more public service than wish-list item because lord do we have plenty of these. But last year I joined in on a white-elephant gift exchange, where long-time friends made each other giddily miserable by perennially seeing who could get stuck with the most useless gaudy bauble someone’d years-ago nabbed at some bottom-dollar bargain bin in a sad boutique’s going-out-of-business sale at the dead end of a dying mall. I followed the “around $10” rule and bought three mini spatulas from Williams Sonoma. They were picked by the party’s lone surly emo teen (assuredly furious that I just labeled him emo, but sorry dude: it’s a thing you were insisting on, subconsciously as it may have been), and the white-elephant host was like, “Ha ha! Spatulas!” as though the whole thing were a scene out of UHF. My pal Beth ended up nabbing the spatulas from the teen and uses them, she once told me, almost daily. Almost daily! If you step foot in your kitchen for anything other than fridge-opening, these will get more use—provided you keep them readily grabable—than any other utensil you own. And look how god-damned cheap they are.

Oh and I saw in a Guitar Center Black Friday ad (yes! even they!) that someone’s making a capo that allows the guitarist to pick and choose among which strings he wants capo’d at that particular fret. For those folks who play in non EADGBE tuning—i.e., for Bill Callahan fans—this tool can save oodles of time. Oh, it’s the Creative Tunings Spider Capo ($30), but when would I ever use the thing?

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