December 28, 2009

Christmas goodies

  • Fahrenheit Fair Enough by Teflon Tel Aviv. Work music, defined as "stuff without words that fades into the background so I can work." I rarely get to hear non-work music anymore, so lists like my cousin Kirk's make me feel a little out of it. I heard a track off this backing a youtube video, but didn't get the CD because it was too expensive ($30 or something). Perfect gift.
  • Essential Software Architecture. Super geeky, but I feel like I should be able to describe what our architecture is better, and in a common way.
  • Brain Rules. Should provoke one or two blog posts, or at least a tweet or two.

But it's really about Ella, who got tons of stuff, especially since her birthday is two days after Christmas. A new dollhouse with a few rooms full of furniture -- it's detailed at the playmobil level, but made of wood instead. Very cute. (Assembled by me on Christmas Eve night, another notch in the dad-experience belt). An armful of puzzles, which she recently turned on to in a big way, seemingly overnight. A Diego Rescue Center from Grandma, picked up by Barb for $10 at a consignment sale a couple months ago.

She also got loads of Dora and Diego stuff for both Christmas and her birthday -- books, little people ballerina Dora, Dora and Perrito (bigger), pajamas (worn already for 24 hours straight), puzzles, even a Dora sudoku book (I'm not quite sure how that works). This is a downside of having the two celebrations so close -- she loves Dora and Diego now, but what about six months from now? It's a kind of toy bubble, and it's fed by well-meaning relatives who need a hook ("Dora!" "Puzzles!") so they know what to get her for presents. I sympathize; it's not easy buying something for a three year-old unless you have one of your own.

When you're an adult this happens too. If people know you like cats you'll get all sorts of things with cats on them -- mugs, posters, mouse pads, sticky notes, coat hangers, photo frames, aprons, etc. When he was a pilot my dad's call sign was "Chilly" -- "Chilly" "Winters", get it? -- so every year he always got a few things with penguins. But it's mostly junk.

I think the only ways to get around this are to be a jerk: either demand cash/giftcards, or give people a list of what you want and insist they stick to it. But then you have the issue of list coordination, which the Amazon wishlist takes care of nicely. Another way is to avoid it entirely: tell people you don't want presents, and you could even couch it in an environmental/anti-consumerist message.

But the latter isn't an option for a three year-old. So it's Dora Dora Dora the Explorer this year. Next year?

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