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proper gift giving

And now, Rich's tips on gift giving. Take notes; you will be quizzed later.

My sister is awesome at picking gifts for Christmas now, but there was a time when she wasn't so great at that. There was one particular year (and this was a long time ago) when she bought me an absolutely horrible gift. After January started, I let her know about it in a nice way. Since then she's done nothing but buy the coolest stuff for me ever since. At the time I let her know of my disdain for the bad gift she bought me, she asked Well, what do you want? I replied simply with Anything I can use.

Now granted, there are some ultra-cool gifts like the Leaves of Lorien (something I received in 2005 - and I still have it), but that's a rare instance where someone got me something where she knew I'd like it. For the rest of the time, I tell everyone to buy me stuff I can use, i.e. get me something practical.

Here's a few examples.

DVD's

DVD's are cheap and easy to give. Even if the person you buy it for doesn't like the movie, they'll probably watch it anyway sooner or later.

However, I will say that I can't stand people who own every single movie under the sun. You know they like movies, so you try to find something that they couldn't possibly have, only to have them say Oh, hey man, thanks. I already have this.

Note: If you receive a DVD and you already have it, don't tell the gift giver you have it already. It's insulting. Smile and say "thank you".

Clothes

Can't go wrong with clothes. Don't know what clothes to buy for someone? Get a gift card at an above-par clothing store.

Wal-Mart gift card

This is a great gift. Why? It is guaranteed to be used. And yes, the person you bought it for will use it. I received one in the past and used every last cent on it.

Like it or not, everyone shops at Wal-Mart. Anyone who says they don't is lying.

Gas card

This is yet another great gift. Gasoline is expensive. Everyone drives. This is another one that's guaranteed to be used.

Expensive pen

I don't think this is gender specific, but I think it leans more towards men. A guy likes (and if he doesn't, he should) a classy pen. One that writes smoothly and looks pristine. If you really want to go all out, you can have his last name (not the first) engraved on the clip. My Pop has been using these for years. I've yet to acquire one.

Price: $25 to $100. If anyone bought me a pen that was over $100, I'd be scared to use it.

And if anyone is taking notes, a pen with a deep wood-grain look and a gold clip looks mighty snazzy. Bonus points if it's a "clicky" pen. I miss clicky pens. They're tough to find these days.

Any toy popular when that person was between eight and twelve years old

This is the only one on my list has that no real practicality to it, but it's cool. Read on.

No one ever thinks about this and it's particularly suited to girls (although it can be applied to boys also). I'm thirty-one years old. When I was ten years old, the year was 1985. So that means I was enjoying toys of the 80's.

If someone bought me a key chain Rubik's Cube, that would kick ass.

Or maybe a Skeletor t-shirt (and yes, I'd wear it).

For girls, it's too easy. You can get just about anything Rainbow Brite, Strawberry Shortcake, Pound Puppies, Smurfs, or heck.. even Jem and they'd probably love you for life. Just watch the wide-eyed amazement when they open your retro gift and instantly go ga-ga for it. Why? Because it's a cool childhood toy. And everyone loves toys.

So there's your last-minute shopping tips. Happy Christmas, everyone.

***Guitar deals & steals? Where? Right here. Price drops, B-stock and tons more.

jammin' on the one

Ever wanted to see me play the keyboard (as in a synthesizer)? Well, now you can.

serenade the weekend squire who just came out to mow his lawn

Title of this entry is a lyric from a song that is suited to the day of the week this is posted. And yes, I like the song. If you don't, well that's just your fault for having no taste. (grin)

-------------------------

Don't Shoot Food (what, you don't remember that from Gauntlet?)

My grocery shopping bill: $28.97. Either I'm eating less or getting better at shopping, because when I first moved here, my bill was always over thirty dollars. Usually thirty-five or more.

I'm probably saving cash because of substitutions.

For example:

A six-pack of 16oz Dasani lemon-flavored water in bottles is $2.99. I now use Arizona Diet Icea Tea mix. It's priced higher but you get a lot more drink for the buck. You also don't have to deal with a bunch of plastic bottles you have to get rid of later.

Maxwell House (or any other brand) coffee singles, about $4.00. I now use Taster's Choice instant. A plastic bin of that is eight bucks. It may be twice the price, but you get 105 mugs o' coffee out of that compared to nineteen for the coffee singles. To my pallet, they both taste the same. With the singles, you're paying 21¢ per cup. With the instant, 8¢ a cup. I'm not a huge coffee drinker, but for some, going the 21¢ route can add up real quick.

Put it this way, even if you have the money to spend on coffee, isn't it annoying you only get nineteen cups o' joe out of a singles box?

ZephyrHills brand gallon o' purified water: $1.25. Generic Publix brand: 65¢. Why anyone would spend more on ZephyrHills I have no idea. There is literally no difference in taste. Water is water. The only difference between waters is whether it has salt in it or not. Dasani, for example, has a small amount of salt for flavor (it's true, read the label).

Side note: I use purified water for my betta fish (which works very nicely), my coffee and mixed drinks. Municipal water, i.e. city water, is good for washing, bathing and whatever - but not for drinks. The water you use really does make a difference in the taste.

In addition to the above, I'm also eating less than I used to. I found out that if I have a hot drink (like coffee) when I think I'm hungry, afterwards I don't feel like eating. Well, not unless I really am hungry, then I eat.

-------------------------

See Rich walk. Walk, Rich, walk.

My treadmill successfully made the journey from Inverness to Tampa yesterday. I've been wanting to get this blasted thing in my apartment for weeks, and now it's finally here. Awesome. Now I can get back to my walking regimen and get rid of those annoying last few pounds.

After I slim up I'm considering going to a tanning center, because after all, I am the whitest guy in Tampa. From what I gather it's not that expensive, and it works so long as you keep up with it. At present I have what I call "driver's tan", i.e. my left arm is somewhat darkened. No one notices it unless I point it out.

I'm relatively sure a few people would be more than a little surprised if they saw me tanned. It'd be different, that's for sure. But a good kind of different.

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