Archive for November, 2010

Holiday Gift Guide 2010

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Well, it’s officially Thanksgiving. And if I had to name one thing I was most thankful for, it would probably be my friends. They are smart, funny, kind, talented people. And heck, if you’re reading this, there’s a pretty good chance you’re one of them, since I am not that famous. So thanks.

Now, to business. And by business, I mean, helping you become happier. How can I do that? Simple. A study from 2008 showed that your happiness is influenced by the happiness of your friends. And not just first-degree friends, but their friends, and even their friends. The upshot of this is that a great way for you to become happier is to increase the happiness of your friends, as well as (if you’re a friend of mine) the happiness of my friends.

Conveniently, I have a plan that will accomplish both of these goals. See, as previously mentioned, my friends are really talented, and make cool stuff. So if you bought the cool stuff they made, they would be happier. Then if you gifted that cool stuff to your friends, *they* would be happier. And with these two groups of people now happier, you and I are (statistically speaking) likely to be happier as well. So here are some awesome gifts to help you increase happiness all around:

Yes, I threw my three books in there as well. But there’s also an award-winning graphic novel, two great fantasy novels, a kama sutra for Snuggie-wearers, an incredible stick-figure version of Hamlet, and a novel about child sex trafficking. All written by friends of mine. And not all books are on Amazon; if you’re willing to brave the LuLu storefront, you can find two poetry chapbooks, one children’s book, and even my own NaNoWriMo novel Shards.

Or perhaps you’d prefer a game?

These were not solo endeavors, as games require many people, but friends of mine worked on each of these games. Heck, I have *two* friends who worked on Rock Band 3. I did mention my friends were awesome, right? And finally, some unique and handmade gifts that aren’t available on Amazon. But they’re worth navigating other sites for!

You could visit etsy, if you wanted some incredibly beautiful felted bags, some of which are hand-knit. Or some lovely beaded and baubled necklaces and bracelets. Or some silver earrings, in limited supply. I had other friends with etsy stores, but they appear to be on hiatus.

One of my friends who worked on Rock Band 3 has his own Chamber Music CD.

One of my friends who did not work on Rock Band 3 made Handmade Cards, and so did her patients.

Finally, for people who are too stressed and don’t need any more material goods, you should get a gift certificate for a massage, presuming you live near one of my masseuse friends in Boston (sarah.reinfeld) on hiatus until mid-2011 or NYC (kimicat). Both can be emailed, and tell them I sent you.

So that’s it. A whole bunch of stuff, which you should buy from my friends and give to your friends. I bid you all a pleasant Thanksgiving, and may you increase happiness in the world.

An Uptick In Vulgarity

Monday, November 8th, 2010

I am, generally speaking, not a vulgar person. However.

Longtime readers or even those just familiar with the tale of my disastrous email application know that when I start getting behind on my to-do list, the amount of self-directed vulgarity in my life increases proportionately. Well, since it’s now a week into November, and I haven’t posted here since September, you might guess that I’ve been a little busy. And indeed, I’ve noted that various creatively vulgar epithets have begun creeping onto my to-do list.

Sadly, every vulgarity accompanies a task, which means that until the tasks are completed, the vulgarity must also remain. Writing this blog post will, once it is done, allow me to remove a line from my to-do list, but it is not a vulgarity-laden line. Only certain tasks merit such treatment. Currently, the highest priority self-directed vulgarity* accompanies an all-caps admonition to pay the bills. Thankfully, this is a simple enough task, so that self-directed vulgarity can be disappeared** in short order.

Unintelligible vulgarity has also been on the rise for me in the past month, quietly mumbled in a half-asleep state as I stumble out the door to whatever event I’ve foolishly agreed to attend hours before I normally wake up. Last month, this was a poetry presentation for a National Day on Writing at a local school, where I got to open for the esteemed Taylor Mali****. This month, I’ve already been up slightly early to spend time with old college friends in from out of town, and will have to wake up obscenely early***** this Saturday, when I’ll be selling and signing copies of my new book in Pittsfield at Chin Bo Jok’s annual one-day holiday sale.

And, naturally, there is vulgarity in gaming. For me, this is largely confined to video gaming, as naturally one swears whenever one is killed.****** Conversely, in spite of always playing to win, I do not take my board gaming too seriously. So while I may be an addict who has already acquired another half-dozen new games in the past two months (Favorite so far: Louis XIV), I rarely swear at a board game. Even if I may utter a vulgarity when I see how much I’ve spent on shipping.

Speaking of shipping and shopping, within the next few weeks I hope to post a Holiday Gift Guide here for you all. And no, it will not just be a plug for my books*******. It will have a slightly larger variety of interesting items that make wonderful gifts. In fact, I should go add that to my to-do list right now. But I’m going to leave off the vulgarity.

* An insult that states that I have a tendency to copulate with certain non-human members of the animal kingdom

** I recently was linked to this lovely Stephen Fry speech on language that talked about the love of language as appreciation of the living nature of language, and especially in support of the verbing of nouns. I enjoy new permutations of words when their meaning is instantly clear, and I think using “disappeared” in the object-taking form falls into that category for me. It’s succinct***, and clear.

*** I mean, obviously not when I use it in this blog, which is rarely what would be called succinct. But it could be, is my point.

**** A fine fellow who is also quite interested in language, as you might expect.

***** By which I mean, more vulgarity is almost assured.

****** Those “Famous Last Words” books are probably wildly inaccurate, as I imagine a high percentage of people’s last words would be unprintable.

******* Although “From God To Verse” is pretty much the perfect Chanukah or Christmas present.