Saturday, January 2, 2010

Grading Christmas

In an effort to exploit the fact that nobody I know in real life is aware of my blog (unless I actually met them THROUGH my blog), I proudly continue my annual tradition of ungratefully...

Grading The Christmas Gifts

Mountain Man Dance Moves: The McSweeney's Book of Lists
This is a volume of strange lists from the editors of the periodical McSweeney's. Prior lists from McSweeney's are the inspiration for some strange lists I've had in my blog. I think this book, while hilarious, has the most white space of any book ever published. Despite a length of 224 pages, I finished it in the space of one cross-country flight with a layover. Also highly recommended is another McSweeney's book, Created In Darkness By Troubled Americans.

Grade: A

Phillies vs. Dodgers baseball tickets
As a Philly fan living in Los Angeles, I always try to see my teams when they come to town. Normally a tremendous gift. However, tickets for the upcoming season have not yet gone on sale. So the gift was offered with instructions to either buy the tickets when they go on sale and ask the giver for reimbursement or ask the giver for his credit card number to make the purchase. Which brings up the sticky situation of how much the giver intends to spend...tickets range from about $15 to well in the hundreds. Giving a gift might be stressful, but receiving a gift should be easy! The grade was adjusted accordingly for emotional distress.

Grade: B

Roll With You by Eli "Paperboy" Reed & The True Loves
This is a great CD by one of the finest current practitioners of 60s-style Motown soul. However, the reason it made this list is because of what my brother said when presenting the gift. "Whatever the hell this shit is, Merry Christmas."

Grade: A

Under Great White Northern Lights box set by The White Stripes
For the obsessive fan in your life. The box contains a documentary, a live DVD, a live album (on both CD and vinyl), a hardcover book, and a silkscreen print. The White Stripes' emphasis on art direction has never been put to better use. It doesn't arrive until March, but I've already had several wet dreams about finally clutching it to my bosom. Technicality: Because it actually hasn't been released yet, I pre-ordered it with Christmas money. So the credit for actually choosing the gift (and for the excellent grade) belongs to me.

Grade: A

Atari 2600 Video Computer System
Yes. The original. The best game system ever devised - save it, Nintendo apologists. My parents are moving, and when I was home for the holidays we cleaned out the attic and found about 30 Atari game cartridges from way back in the day. I immediately decided to take them home with me and find an Atari 2600 system. It should arrive any day now, and I couldn't be more excited. The Christmas that my brother and I first received the Atari, back in 1979 or so, we hardly got to play it. All my aunts and uncles (most in their 50s, mind you) who came over for dinner became enchanted with Freeway, a Frogger-like game in which you are a chicken trying to cross the road. We barely touched the prized gift until the next day. This remains one of my family's favorite Christmas stories. Technicality: Another gift purchased by me with Christmas money.

Grade: A+ (if it works)

Donald Duck Skydiver
My father instituted a new Christmas tradition once my brother and I became adults. He goes to the dollar store every year and gets each of us a toy so that there are still toys given out at Christmas. I got a Donald Duck figure with a plastic parachute. Of course, I immediately went out in two feet of snow to see if it worked. If you wrap it loosely, it really works. If you wrap it tightly, Donald is a stain. To my chagrin, the packaging did not explain the dramatic events that might have required Donald Duck to jump out of an airplane. I guess for a dollar you can get a toy, but not a narrative.

Grade: B


If any of you would like me to grade your Christmas haul, simply email me the list of gifts you received and I will be happy to heartlessly quantify how well you did. Consider it my gift to you.

15 metawords:

The Vegetable Assassin said...

Hahaha, well you seemed to do ok there if you ask me!

Donald reminds me of those little dumb plastic parachute men you'd get in the late seventies, remember them? Little monochrome plastic soldier guy tied to a plastic bag thing? I loved those things. I'd find all sorts of things to drop them from. Sometimes the crap toys are the best.

Although usually it's the Atari.

My best gift this year was an awesome blue/silver Fender acoustic/electric guitar so now I'm thinking of writing some fantastic silly lyrical songs and posting them on my blog. (or not)

red said...

You made out, dude!

I got Band Hero. That'll be fun...if I ever have friends to play it with me.

Mr London Street said...

I mildly enjoyed that book of lists. But I detest the White Stripes so clearly my opinion is not one you're going to weigh heavily.

Soda and Candy said...

That ticket thing is AWKWARD CITY.

They need to just say they're going to get them for you and just do it then, not make you do it.

Also, Wii beats Atari *runs away*.

The Diva on a Diet said...

Wow, nice haul! And I'm all melty over your dad's tradition with the toys. Aw!

Ya know, you're a pretty easy grader ... that non-ticket ticket = WTF?! And you gave it a "B"?!

I'd so love to do this but my whole damn family reads my blog!

BeckEye said...

I hope you will invite me over sometime for a rousing game of Pitfall.

Gwen said...

"If any of you would like me to grade your Christmas haul, simply email me the list of gifts you received and I will be happy to heartlessly quantify how well you did. Consider it my gift to you."

This made me wonder if you might possibly write my blog for me in 2010 since I'm apparently not into it.

Candy's daily Dandy said...

Hmmm, I really like this whole "grading christmas" concept.

If the Atari works you will be my new hero!

Candy's daily Dandy said...

lol at Gwen!

The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: said...

Nothing to be ashamed of there - a good solid honor roll present-wise.

I got one lousy present and it was from my mom - it was really bad too - like a bright orange purse from QVC bad - because that's what it was. She doesn't read my blog, but it's not worth writing a whole post about anyway - thanks for giving me an outlet to vent about it here.

Cora said...

Funny, you'd think a duck could fly and wouldn't need a parachute. But whatever.

My best gift this year, hands down, was my Sony DSLR camera from Scope. I practically orgasm every time it's in my hands. A++++

My worst gift this year was a bride Barbie doll from my sister, her hubby and their kids. Really? A Barbie in a frilly white dress? Just because I'm engaged doesn't mean I deserve a gift like that!! C'mon!! D-

words...words...words... said...

Veggie: I totally had those monochrome plastic soldier guy parachutists. And that's exactly what this was. Congrats on the axe!

Red: Tremendous! And you have friends to play it with you. You just have to let them sing every now and then. Sharing is caring.

MLS: There doesn't appear to be any middle ground on the White Stripes, so I'll set it aside when weighing your opinion.

S&C: Spoken like someone born in the 80s. Pft.

Diva: Even bad gifts are usually given with good intentions. Christmas is no time to grade harshly :)

Beckeye: I played Pitfall tonight! I can't believe how goddamn hard it is to jump over those crocodiles.

Gwen: It would be my pleasure. We can change the name to "Everything I Like Causes Cancer...Including Writing My Blog"

Candy: It works! I'm ecstatic.

Lady: An orange purse from QVC? I think we need to send that to the Island of Misfit Toys.

Cora: It never occurred to me that ducks fly. Well done you!

Soda and Candy said...

I'll have you know I was born a good two months before the Eigh...

You know what, you are right. I am much too young to even know what an Atari is.

; )

180|360 said...

Think I'm going to have to steal your father's idea in about 15 years. How fun!

Lula Dahl said...

Hot damn, I wish I still had our Atari. Damn my sister for getting rid of it.