Friday, 25 February 2011

Gift Guide

Handmade Purple Gift BoxI have a reputation for being a notoriously hard person to buy gifts for. I can defend myself saying those people who misfire when they buy me a gift don’t know what they’re doing, but the reality is that I am a hard person to buy gifts for. I can think of three reasons why:
  1. Whenever I know I want something I usually get it, and if I don’t then it’s probably because it’s too expensive.
  2. I spend a lot of my time researching what it is that I want or deem to need.
  3. I am pretty good in this researching thing.
However, I still maintain that if there is a will there is a way. I will therefore list a few gift ideas of reasonable pricing that I would not mind receiving in the least. Before you rush and buy these for me, be aware these are all things I already have (hence my ability to assess their worth):
  • Cosmos DVD: Often described as the best thing ever on TV (see here), Amazon UK is selling Carl Sagan's series at a very affordable price here. If ever there was a household item everyone should own then this is it.
  • Tim Minchin DVDs: The guy’s a genius, the guy works on the same wavelengths as I do, and the guy is incredibly and originally funny. See here for further discussion.
  • The IT Crowd DVDs: This award winning British comedy is, in my view, the best TV comedy to hit the screens since Seinfeld. Amazon UK is selling all four seasons on DVD at a pretty reasonable price, so check it out here.
  • Clint – a Retrospective: This coffee table book is great for both browsing and reading. It’s also great for both the generic movie fan as well as the Clint Eastwood fan.
  • T shirts: Through that magical thing called The Internets you can now get yourself a t shirt of any design you feel like, including your own designs. The prices won’t set you back, either: non branded t shirts sell on the web for between $10 to $15, which is almost always less than what Aussie shops will ask for. I got myself plenty of t shirts lately, probably more than I can justify: computer geek shirts, superhero shirts, atheist/skeptic shirts, sci-fi shirts, you name it. If you ask me, the website offering the most consistently fresh designs is Woot.
  • Books: Yes, I love reading, in case you didn’t know. Even in this age where I have been converted to ebooks you can still buy me gift electronic books. Most importantly, I tend to get my recommendations from my favorite blog – Boing Boing – where one of my favourite authors, a guy with who I share a lot of commonalities in taste – Cory Doctorow – often publishes book reviews.
I won’t leave you without a recommendation for children gifts. Once again I recommend books, because, you know, they’re good for you.
There are lots of kids books around and we think we know them all, but the reality is that there is a lot of truly original stuff around most people are not aware of. Again, my will point to Boing Boing as a good reference when it comes to originality. I will settle for leaving you with our recent purchase, a book recommended (here) for 4-8 year olds: Look! A Book! Our three year old loves it and so do we; it’s so much richer than your average branded crap it’s not funny.

To conclude: don’t be surprised if you receive one or more of the above the next time social conventions dictate me to buy you something.

Image by abizem, Creative Commons license

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