I’ve spent most of the day trying out new Christmas gifts, or finding homes for them in my apartment, or shopping online for accessories to accompany them. I was planning to spend the day pulling down lights and trees and tinsel and boxing them up for a somber return to their $40/month windowless prison, but I guess I’m just not done being festive yet.

My friends and family really treated me well this year – I guess they think I’ve been good? Lucky for you all, several of my gifts were photography-related, and in testing them out I’ve taken shots of things that are at best artistic and at worst at least a little more interesting than they could have been. My DSLR camera is no longer lonely and underutilized, as a sweet Canon 75-300mm lens joined the party, along with remotes, filters (including this Thanks I’m sure to Dad’s influence, a gorgeous new set of graphite golf drivers found its way under the tree, and a set of new hybrid steel/graphite irons are being made to custom length for me and will be shipped when they’re ready. I ordered shoes on a sweet Amazon sale yesterday, so with all the new gear Dad’s been sending my way the last few months and the extra accessories under the tree, I’m set for spring. I’m especially excited about this stuff because it’s something Dad and I enjoy doing together that doesn’t involve taking the engine out of my car again. 😉
Eric and Mya spoiled me a little early this year, with a giant grab-bag full of toys and souvenirs from their Thanksgiving spent in Japan. Besides the ultra-rare Z32 model (which I haven’t opened fully yet – it still contains Japanese air!) my fav item is the positively-frameable Nismo racing team calendar. It’s bigger than my TV screen and every glorious page could hang on the wall all year.
Steph returned from Sweden with a basketful of holiday goodies just in time to keep me well-stocked for my parents’ visit. Cups of hot glgg kept us warm and filled the void left in me every year come Christmastime by the lack of gluhwein stands in America. And if you happen to have smoked salmon, rice crackers and lingonberry jam in your kitchen and you haven’t made a feast of them yet, you’re seriously wasting an opportunity.
Even my bank got into the spirit, issuing me extra reward points for Christmas that I spent on a very choice poker set which showed up on the 28th. Ironically, a letter from them arrived the same day encouraging me to take advantage of their new online stock market integration features in 2007. I think Citibank may be encouraging me to gamble.
After spending two years on my wishlist, I’ve finally got the proper footwear to be the next Mario Andretti, or at least to stop tearing up all my other shoes because they’re not designed to withstand the rigors of heel-toe downshifting. If these Piloti Spyder‘s are the daily footwear of the instructors at Bondurant then they should get me thru a few saturdays at autocross with aplomb. Of course, I had to have the red ones. The laces cinch up with a toggle – if only the rest of my wardrobe were similarly engineered for speed.
Per my usual (and per my Amazon wishlist) cartoons, PS2 games and ski movies were the discs du jour. If you added a James Bond movie and an additional action movie featuring a good car chase, you’d pretty much have a microcosm of my entertainment bookshelf. Cause that’s the way (uh huh, uh huh) I like it.
Passed down to her by her grampa, my Mom bestowed upon me the knife sharpening stone that actually originally belonged to my great-grandfather’s brother Carlo (or Charlie, as he was called after emigrating to the US from Italy). My first step will be to identify and prevent the decay that seems to be overtaking the wood handle. After that, I plan to build a classy knife block to house it and my ironically non-sharpenable Chef Tony knives, which have thus far defied fitting properly into any knife block that wasn’t made especially for them.

In a spontaneous moment of gift-card-induced indulgence, i ordered one last Christmas gift which should arrive in a couple of weeks. I’ll wait and save the pictures (and maybe even a video!) when for it arrives, along with a full review since I don’t buy something this leading-edge very often. In the meantime, you can start thinking of cute nicknames for my new

Ein bayerischer geisteszustand

Trans: A Bavarian state of mind, although technically the literal translation is “a Bavarian mental condition”, which may actually be true, as well.

In a few short hours I’ll pick up Danielle at work and we’ll trek a couple hours east to Leavenworth for a weekend at Oktoberfest with Eric, Heidi, Kristen, Dave, Roxana and various other houligans in liederhosen and funny hats (kidding about the liederhosen – although honestly I wouldn’t put it past Dave). It’s going to be a forever-long day at work waiting to leave. Danielle is hopefully going to come and borrow my keys this afternoon for an across-town midday job interview, and lunch today is the second in a 6-part installment of Maria’s going away lunch extravaganza (she’s moving to SanFran, and the party spans two weeks – yesterday was Mediterreanean, today’s a sack lunch on the rooftop patio at Occidental plaza – that’s two punches on my Lunch with Maria punch card so far, and yes there really is a punch card, one of the many reasons I love Maria) so at least I’ll get out of the building a bit and that will break the day up. I know I’ve only been back from vacation for a week, but I’m really looking forward to a weekend of schnitzel, jager, beer steins and hot tubbing.

Steph’s slowly posting pictures of her surroundings, on work assignment in Sweden. Those have been fun to peruse today. I’m still waiting for those Swedish pancake pictures, though, and a caption with “Bork!” in it.

Tom apparently thinks my life is too dull, as I’ve been receiving random (and unwanted) invites to MySpace groups this week. I politely declined invitations to join “Latin Music Fans” (clearly generated by my extensive John Secada cassette tape archives), “Northwest Offroad Bicyclists” (i did nearly brush a mountain bike with my front fender on the way to work tuesday…) and “MySpace Marketing Professionals” (someone is apparently confusing me with a professional, but I’m trying not to take it personally). Today’s invite, however, wasn’t even worth clicking on… but it is worth posting:

    MySpace Groups 	
    Hi Brian,
    You have been invited to join the Myspace Virtual Sex group on MySpace.
    Click the link below to see the group:
    At MySpace we care about your privacy. We have sent you this notification 
    to facilitate your use as a member of the MySpace.com service.

Which begs the question – what sort of “services” is MySpace really “facilitating”?