Once again it's Christmas, and I've gotten some presents and some things. I presume that many of you have also gotten stuff, even those that celebrate other holidays.
I'd like to take a moment now to discuss the matter of gift giving/receiving. I think, at this point, I've moved into a new phase of gift giving and receiving. I don't like it when people tell me what they want or hint at what they want and I don't like it when people ask me what I want. This sort of knowledge defeats the entire purpose of gift giving. The point is that the giver is supposed to select a gift that is appropriate for the receiver based on how well the gift giver knows the gift receiver. In the end, it really is the thought that counts.
Now I think that I'll talk about some of the gifts that I received; if you gave me a gift, read or don't but be forewarned that this is for my edification and not yours.
Halo 2: I had not yet purchased Halo 2 but I had played it and it was pretty decent. In fact, I've been wavering on the line of considering buying it for a while but not really wanting to spend the $50 to get it. Receiving Halo 2 as a gift is the perfect solution to this problem and I was quite pleased to receive it. What's even more pleasing is that I did not know that I was going to receive it and received it after having dismissed attempts to find out what I wanted. Also, the giver of this gift, managed to employ misdirection and had me expecting Transformers related DVD things. I was so misdirected that when I saw the single-DVD sized present I was worried that I had been given a copy of Transformers: The Movie, which I already own, but then I was pleasantly surprised by Halo 2. So Halo 2, surprised me and good.
Whitewings: These are some fancy paper laminate airplanes. As a materials science nut, I like to think of them as a paper/glue composite airplanes. Anyway, the point is that they're airplanes and the assembly required is all fancy and complicated but they also fly really well. It's the fun of models combined with the fun of paper airplanes. Sadly, I knew that I was going to be getting them, which takes away a portion of the fun. If I had received this gift without knowing that I was going to receive it, it would have been a spectacular gift, however, having known that I would be receiving it, it is only a pretty neat thing to have.
Books: I don't read books very often. Books are a horrible gift to give me. If I receive a book as a gift, one of two things will happen: either the book ends up on my shelf and I don't read a word from it or I start reading to humor the gift giver, make it a short distance in and then stop. The fundamental problem here is that I don't like reading books and I don't know what sorts of books that I like. I think that I should retract the statement that books are a bad gift for me and replace it with almost all books are a horrible gift for me. Occasionally, I come across a book that I think looks really cool and then I buy it, sometimes I finish them and sometimes I don't but those books would make good gifts for me. The only way I read a book is if it somehow strikes me as really cool, is by one of a very small set of authors or I have sought it out for other specific reasons. Examples of case one include House of Leaves, which I am kind of reading now and is just so weird that I had to read it (and should get around to finishing at some point), or Bruce Campbell's autobiography If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor, because Bruce Campbell is awesome and I saw it in Barnes & Noble yesterday. The second case is pretty much limited to short stories by H. P. Lovecraft that I haven't read yet. Case three is the hardest to predict and wouldn't work for gifts anyway but includes things like Hagakure, The Illiad, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, The Art of War and other random things. So yeah, books, not a good gift to give me.
There was also other stuff but those serve to best illustrate the point I want to make. I got some good stuff but I ended up disappointed and bitter because of the whole affair and the fact that it tells me that only my brother, Dave, knows me well enough to get me a good present. At least one person in my family can give me a decent gift; it's better than none.