oh, i want a hippopotamus for christmas

So, yes, it’s that holiday season where people stress about what to get their loved ones, and later are subsequently disappointed when they realise that no one bought what they wanted for them.

Granted, I want a Nintendo Wii like everyone else who doesn’t already have one, and a MacBook and an iPod Touch, but really, I don’t think I could handle someone, even my parents, dropping that much money on something for me.

So, this list of what I want for Christmas/Kwanzaa/Hannukah/Boxing Day is a list of items I would really appreciate, each $50 or under.  We are in a recession, after all, and I don’t really care to have someone charge his or her credit card to present me a token of esteem and camaraderie, although I admit I’m doing such a thing myself.

Anyway, these are things I could really use, or would really enjoy.

Books
Okay, I do sort of need a bookshelf (or two) before I get any more books.  And my mother seems to think I actually need to get rid of my books (never!).  But I really want some books, especially some for what will hopefully be my years of graduate-level study beginning next year.  NPR is such an enabler when it comes to books and music.  I was reading their Best Graphic Novels of 2008 article, and am now completely crushing over a few selections: Skyscrapers of the Midwest by Joshua W Cotter, Yoshihiro Tastumi’s Good-Bye, and Local by Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly (no need for the deluxe version).  

Another nice book to have would be Seonna Hong’s Animus.

Also, for my planned studies as a graduate student next year (providing that I get accepted… providing that I hurry up and apply!), there are a few books I would like to obtain.  A History of Japanese Religion, edited by Kazuo Kasahara, would be very helpful in continuing my Japanese studies, as would these titles by Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney: Culture Through Time: Anthropological Approaches; Kamikaze, Cherry Blossoms, and Nationalisms, Rice as Self: Japanese Identities Through Time.  I would also appreciate copies of A Dictionary of Japanese Food by Richard Hosking, Modern Japanese Cuisine: Food, Power and National Identity from Katarzyna J Cwiertka, Michael Krondl’s The Taste of Conquest, Food: The History of Taste by Paul Freedman, Food is Culture by Massimo Montanari, Revolution in Eating by James McWilliams and The Essence of Japanese Cuisine: An Essay on Food and Culture by Michael Ashkenazi and Jeanne Jacob.  With academic titles, and many other books, I’m perfectly fine with used copies.  AbeBooks is a good used book vendor, and Barnes & Noble’s website often has used  book vendors the corporate giant partners with as well.

True, I do work at the local library, and I could check all these titles out, but some things you just would like to own, as the titles would be easier to later share with someone else.  With books for study, I really would like to have them on-hand for any future papers and dissertations I may write.

On a related readable note, Monocle, my favourite magazine of the moment, is offering 6-month subscriptions at £38, which is just over $50 at $55.82 with the current exchange rate.  I know it’s over the $50 money limit I stated in the beginning of this post, but… *ahem*

Music
Yes, I’d like music, and, like books, I’m low on room for new CDs, but I want some anyway.  Like books, my list is endless, but here is a little segment of what I would really enjoy receiving: CSS’s Donkey release, Volume One by She & Him, Fleet Foxes’s eponymous album, These New Puritans’ Beat Pyramid, the Sigur Rós album Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust, Flight of the Conchords’s full-length, Light & Magic by Ladytron, and At Mount Zoomer by Wolf Parade.  Park Ave CDs should have these in stock, maybe even some in the used bins.

Chocolate
Not just any chocolate, but extra-tasty chocolate!  Hard-to-find, but Dolfin’s Milk Chocolate Bar with Hot Masala goes beyond delicious.  Also very good is the Dark Chocolate Bar with Earl Grey Tea.  For something a bit easier to find, Dagoba Organic Chocolate can be found in places like Borders, Chamberlin’s and in the big Whole Foods off Turkey Lake.  Or, if you’re a web shopper like me, you can buy online.  I’m a huge fan of the Chai, and welcome trying out Xocolati, Hazelnut, Nibs and Superfruit.  

Also, while I was in Seattle, I was exposed to Theo Chocolate, and fell in love with their Coconut Curry Milk Chocolate, and their Chai Milk Chocolate, Nib Brittle Dark Chocolate, Coffee Dark Chocolate and Hazelnut Crunch Milk Chocolate all sounds equally delectable.  Do consider the 3400 Phinney “Fantasy Flavor Flight”.  Not a bad deal at $20.00.

Kitchen
Although the kitchen I share with Clark is pretty full, there are still a few things we could really use.  A box grater would be particularly useful in grating cheese for pasta dinners or chocolate for desserts.  I like the one made by Oxo GoodGrips, as it has a box underneath to catch what you grate, and the reviews on Amazon seem favourable.  It would also be nice to have a trifle bowl, so I can make trifle and banana pudding.  Clear, simple trifle bowls can be found on Amazon.com, and likely in stores such as Bed, Bath and Beyond.  If I may also ask for an easy-to-clean bread knife, like the one I used to have made by J A Henckels International, that would be lovely as well.

Nothing says the holidays like getting sharp, pointy things as gifts.

Food and drink
Foodstuffs to fill up my kitchen would be heavily appreciated as well.  Real maple syrup, not the fake corn syrup stuff coloured to look like maple syrup, is a prized commodity, in my opinion.  If it’s organic maple syrup, all the better.  Not only is it a great pancake topper, but I also drizzle a bit in my oatmeal to make it extra-tasty.

I love ginger products.  Crystallized ginger is something else I like to use when I can.  This is a key ingredient in making some rockin’ gingersnaps.  The Ginger People put out many different products from ginger, featuring a creepy Ginger Man who seems to delight in the prospect of being eaten.  I use the Baker’s Cut Crystallized Ginger Chips, and would also appreciate pickled ginger.  Over the course of many days, I ate a whole bag of pickled ginger on my very own, so yes, I quite enjoy it.  All of the products from The Ginger People sound good to try, so I’m pretty much game for any ginger gastronomical adventure.  You can buy many of these products and products like them at Williams & Sonoma and at Whole Foods, as well as the website.

Buy me tea!  I’ve been drinking mostly Rishi Tea, which I buy from Whole Foods, but Infusion has lots of good tea as well.  I could really use some green tea, especially genmaicha or “popcorn” tea, osthmanthus and Dragon Well.  If Infusion ever brought back its Blueberry Green tea, I would love some of that as well.  I prefer loose tea, not tea bags, as tea bags often have tea that’s been pulverised to a uniform shape, so you wind up with tea dust instead of whole leaves.  Another source for tea includes Numi Tea, featuring an Aged Earl Grey I would like to try (so far, Rishi Tea’s Earl Grey is my favourite), along with their Morning Rise Breakfast Blend and Monkey King green tea.  I can never have enough tea, considering I drink at least two cups a day, and often more than that.  

Other useful things
Printer ink in the form of the HP 56 black ink cartridge and the HP 57 Tri-color inkjet cartridge (or the two-pack) would be very helpful to have once the current ones I’m using run out of ink, which will likely be at the most inopportune moment possible.  I could also use small-storage boxes and containers from IKEA, like the FLYT or SKRIFT magazine files; lidded boxes like the LINGO, NOSTALGISK, or STRIKT; and SKUBB clothing and linen storage case for under the bed.  Anything similar from another store would be perfectly fine.

That’s all I’ve got so far that I want or could use for the moment.  For those of you who don’t know me, perhaps you may be able to find some gift ideas in this little post.  Cheers, and have a good holiday.

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