I have finally joined the club:
That’s my brand new 40 gb Ipod sheathed in its purty blue Iskin Evo2 (a protective silicone case with a very nice screen protector – the thought of banging up this pricey little unit is not worth the worry.) Not only am I such a blasphemer that I cover up the Ipod’s iconic white/chrome color scheme, I’m also not using the equally iconic white buds that come with it. Frankly, buds suck – I find them extremely uncomfortable and low-fidelity, plus they channel almost as much sound to the outside world as they do into your ears. Instead, I opted for a pair of Sony Fontopia EX51 “canalphones,” called that because they don’t just sit on or in your outer ear, they actuall go into your ear canal. With a set of very, very soft silicone . . . thingies . . ., they slip into the ear canal and, when properly seated, actually block out most outside sounds. Because they kind of seal up your ear, the sound is concentrated in your head and you actually get real bass response, and, even better, the sound feels as if it’s living right inside your head. You really have to experience it for yourself, but don’t go by the bad reviews on Amazon – the people who complain about poor sound quality weren’t wearing them right. When fitted properly, which make take a couple of ins-and-outs, the sound is utterly stunning, unlike anything I’ve ever heard before – this coming from someone who is very picky about sound quality.
File my wife and I under “geeks” because: for Christmas I bought Alissa a 20gb Ipod . . . and an identical blue Iskin Evo2. The only way we know for sure whose is whose is by the thickness (the 40gb being slightly thicker.) She looks prettier with it since it was accompanied by an emerald necklace that I also got her for Christmas.
The rest of the haul consisted of some badly needed clothes, since I’ve been wearing the same 5 or 6 shirts to work every week for many, many months, to the point where several are developing holes. Hey, I never kid when I say I hate, with a passion, clothing shopping and will avoid it for as long as I can.
I also made out on the CD front from both Alissa and the in-laws. Most notably, Alissa picked up on my very not subtle hints about how much I really, really wanted the newly remastered Can CDs comprising their first four releases (Monster Movie, Soundtracks, Tago Mago, and Ege Bamyasi, in addition to Can Live 1971-1977. She done good, because I haven’t really been able to listen to anything else since Saturday. I highly urge anyone intrigued by experimental music to pick up these remasters – for a reference, for those of you who don’t know them, if you enjoy Wilco’s “Spiders (Kidsmoke)” you will probably find something fun about these guy’s long, grooving drones (and you’re also encouranged to check out the band Wilco ripped off for “Spiders (Kidsmoke),” Neu!, who pretty much perfected Krautrock in two short albums’ time.) I also scored a couple of Ted Leo/Pharmacists CDs, the newest of which I really, really wish I’d gotten earlier in the year because it’s yet another great album deserving a spot on the best-of list (and for those who don’t know, Ted Leo kinda-sorta sounds like Ben Folds going punk.) Also on the music front: The Jam – All Mod Cons/This is the Modern World together on one disc, Calexico’s Black Light and “Spoke”, Billy Bragg – Must I Paint You A Picture?, The Police – Live (remastered,) Incubus’ Live At Red Rocks and Branford Marsalis’ take on Coltrane’s A Love Supreme (CD/DVD set, actually.)
This was also apparently the Year Of The DVD Set, as I came home with Ren & Stimpy Seasons 1 & 2, Arrested Development Season 1, Home Movies Season 1, The Office Specials, Ghosts of the Abyss (James Cameron’s apology for the cheesy Titanic,) and The Right Stuff Special Edition (one of my all-time favorite movies.) I also stocked up on a couple more books, Chuck Palahniuk’s Fugitives And Refugees: A Walk In Portland (yes, it’s a travel book about Portland, but told in Chuck P’s usual odd style,) and Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans : The Best of McSweeney’s, Humor Category – you are hereby urged to go check out McSweeney’s for some of the best humor and unusual stories on the internet. Not to be outdone, my parents bought us a TV with a built-in DVD for use in our exercise area, as walking on a treadmill staring at the wall for a half hour gets really monotonous.
However, the most unusual gift I got this year is the Chillow. If you’re like me and can’t stand a warm pillow, the Chillow is for you. It’s a half-inch thick, foam-filled thing that you fill with water one time, press out all the air, and then you put it in your pillowcase. When you lay down on it, wherever your body touches, the Chillow gets very cool. There’s some kind of magic going on here, because I can’t find any logical reason why foam and water would grow so suddenly cool, but the important thing is that it really works! It is a different sensation to sleep on, as the Chillow is thick and heavy, not squishy and puffy like your pillow is, but the cool is so refreshing that it really doesn’t matter. It sounds like a gimmick, but it really does work. And maybe it’s due to having the time off from work, or maybe it’s due to the Chillow – I’ve been sleeping better, even this morning when I awoke at about 4:15 due to an extremely heavy rain storm.
How could you ask for a better Christmas than this?