Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Mad Science: My Christmas Wish List

As I was going through this week's news, I realized that a lot of the articles that I found interesting this week were basically product reviews.  And that's cool.  Y'know, even I get tired of talking about the Fiscal Cliffafter a while, and besides that—and the war in Israel—there's not a lot more going on in the world. 

Sure, The Hobbit is coming out this week, and *gasp* the reviews have been mediocre, especially as it concerns the film's first hour, but I mean, really?  Have these reviewers not read the book?  Well, surprise!  The first third of the book is boring as shit, too.  If the movie spends an hour on the book's initial dinner party scene, then all I can say is that it sounds like it's an extremely faithful adaptation.  I suppose I also might add that this is why folks thought that maybe two films made more sense than three, but come on.  There's money to be made in that there third film, yo.

I love The Hobbit.  I've read it maybe a half-dozen times, and I think that, really, all things considered, it's a better piece of work than is the actual Lord of the Rings trilogy that follows it.  But I think that in part because it's shorter and more focused, and frankly, in taking it and blowing up to nine freakin' hours!  Well, that just seems like a little much, even for one of my favorite books of all time.

In any event, besides The Hobbit, the thing with Israel, and the Fiscal Cliff, there're really only two things going on in the world: one, it's almost Christmas, and two, Lindsey Lohan is destroying her life.  Oh, and theGiants are in the middle of an epic late-season collapse.    So that's three.  But I don't want to talk about the Giants, and to be honest, this thing with Lohan is old, too.  Wake me up when she starts doing porn.  So that leaves Christmas! 


So.  This is my Christmas list.  You'll want to make sure that you write this stuff down.  Heh. 

These things are in no particular order.

Danno's Nearly-Complete Christmas Wish List

1. An American Giant Half-Zip Sweatshirt (blue or brown, $86).  I was reading about these guys yesterday on Slate.Com.  Apparently, the company's goal is to make the very best hoodies and sweatshirts on the planet, and that in order to do that, they've brought in top-notch industrial designers from Apple, re-thought every aspect of how the hoodie is constructed, and gone with 100% heavy-grade cotton for the sweatshirt's design.  Oh, and because the stitching is so intricate, they've had to make these things in America using super-high quality labor, which is why the sweatshirts themselves are only available online. There's no room in the price-point to allow for distributors, fashion buyers, or retailers.
American Giant: an honest-to-God sweatshirt, made in the U.S.A.
Can that strategy work?  Frankly, I have no idea.  But it seems like it might if it really is true that brick-and-mortar retail is dead.  The question is—how do you get the word out?  In this case, the answer seems to be that you hire a publicist to get your clothes covered on Slate—pretty good idea, that—but how many times is that trick gonna work?  I don't know.   Still, it's worth watching.

2. A 16GB Google Nexus 7 tablet (wifi only, $199).  I've given this an inordinate amount of thought, and the truth is, I need a tablet computer like I need a second dick.  And really, I can think of some uses for a second dick that would really be interesting.  But a tablet computer?  I like Hulu and Netflix, but I'm not gonna sit there in bed and watch them on my tablet.  That's idiotic.  Moreover, I'd say that 90% of the things I do on my computer(s) involve typing on a keyboard because, y'know what?  I like writing.  And a tablet is not optimized for writing.

However.  Tablets are cool.  And I could probably make use of an e-reader—although, to be fair, getting hardcover books from the library is also an excellent solution to my need-to-read—but really, the thing that I need a tablet for is reading comics.  Comixology is an excellent service, and most publishers are on there selling their back-issue catalogue at reduced prices. 

With that in mind, what I need is a tablet that's both cheap and functional.  We can thank Google that that's available.

3. The 2.4 lb. Google (Samsung) Chromebook (wifi only, $249).  If the Nexus 7 is the computer that I want, the Chromebook is the computer that I actually need.  Why?  Three reasons:

First, at 2.4 lbs this is a computer that I can easily take on the train with me and then stick into my backpack for the ride into my office, and in doing that, I don't feel like I added an extra brick onto the already heavy load that I carry with me every day.  I mean, yeah, carrying that weight up the hills in Central Park probably is making me a better climber over time, but it still sucks, and I refuse to volunteer for more weight than is absolutely necessary.

Second, my current commuting computer is my mother's old HP Netbook, and it sucks.  I mean, it's fully functional, but the screen is tiny and the keyboard is tiny, and the battery is good for maybe ninety minutes total, even with the wifi turned off.  So... new commuting computer?  Yes, please!

Finally, we've gotten to this stage in our family life when, commonly, everyone in the house wants to use the computer at the same time.  Invariably my kids want to go on Club Penguin at the same time that my wife needs to check her email—400 messages!  Who has 400 messages on their personal email?—at the same time that I'm either trying to stream something off of Netflix or work on a piece for the blog or basically do whatever it is that I do.  And this is before we even consider school papers and that sort of thing.  So, bottom line, we could really use a second computer that's not a tiny, barely functional netbook, and I know that if it's a Chromebook, I'm the only one in the house who's gonna have the patience to learn to really use it.  Ha! 

The fact that it's cheap on top of all of that is just a bonus.

4. Avengers: Battle for Earth for the Wii U ($49.95).  Yes, we bought a Wii U.  God willing, it won't be the Edsel of the video game industry.  That said, now we need some games.  Avengers: Battle for Earth is a game that not only makes copious use of superheroes; it also, apparently, really tries to force you to use the nun chuck controllers, which is cool.  My one fear with this gaming thing is that it's gonna turn my kids into couch potatoes.  We fight that by (hopefully) getting them off their asses, even when they're playing video games.

5. A Deal on the Fiscal Cliff (Priceless).  This one's probably not coming in my stocking.

Actually, I feel pretty confident that Congress is gonna at least kick the can down the road a year at the last second, but what bugs me about this is the continued intransigence of the so-called Republican Party.  These guys lost the Presidency, they lost seats in both houses of Congress, and polls show that the public at large blames them for nearly everything.  If they keep this up, we're gonna be living in a Socialist state with only one national-level party, but they don't seem to care.  At all.

People.  You got your asses handed to you.  Now is the time to compromise, before the President shoves a really bad deal straight up your collective asses. 

Welcome to government by majority.  Now shut the fuck up and go to work.

6.  A Giant TCR Advanced 1 (MSRP $3150).  Truthfully, I'm probably only about $2500 worth of bike rider.  But the Giant TCRs are beautiful machines, and if I had my choice, this is where I'd like to spend my money.

'Tis the season... for bicycle lust.
Unfortunately, with reality being what it is, the fact is that there’s always something else on which to spend $2500.  *sigh*

7.  More time to finish a couple of writing projects.  What I’d really like to do is to finish drafting all the crap that I’m working on and/or have in my notebook and then go back through and edit and really re-write some of my existing stuff in my back-catalogue.  Long term my plan is to try to put up pieces of short fiction for the Kindle on Amazon.Com for $.99—in fact, that’s one of the purposes of this blog, to try to build readership in advance of releasing pieces of independently published short fiction—but the fact is, even with stuff that I feel is pretty close, carving out the time to take that first step has been a serious challenge.

8.  A membership at the local YMCA ($35/month or $75/month for the family).  We’re starting the Y’s Triathlon Club again in a few weeks, and bottom line, I need a place to swim.

9.  The complete rules for the new D&D rulesetD&D Next.  Along with that, I’d like to find or build a local gaming group, complete with guys who are like-minded husbands and fathers and not scary adolescent D&D dudes.  I’d also like to put together another online campaign, which in my head is tentatively titled “Return to Luskan and picks up about a year out from when our heroes were last seen up in the wilds of the Spine of the World in my old campaign...

10.  A new pair of running flats.  Probably a pair of New Balance 763’s or something like that (~$75).  I train mostly in the heavy 900-series trainers—because I’m fairly heavy for a 5’10” runner—but I have a pair of NB 700-series now that I use for races, and they rock out.  Unfortunately, they’re also starting to get a little long in the tooth.  So this is one of those purchases that I’m gonna have to make sooner or later. 

Unless, of course, Santa Claus brings them.

That’s all I’ve got for today.  Go Army, beat Navy!

No comments:

Post a Comment