Digital Slob

Curt Brandao

A list of second-best
holiday gifts

WHEN it comes to holiday gift buying, Digital Slobs and Respectable People find it very difficult to meet each others' expectations. When each side says, "I have no idea what they want," what both mean is "I have no idea how I'm going to make them happy with what I'm willing to pay."

Everyone knows what Slobs want -- to a man, we all want the $4,999.99 Sony KDF-60XBR950 rear-projection 60-inch HDTV with a built-in HD tuner.

And everyone knows what Respectable People want -- their own sovereign nation, which might even cost more than our 60-inch Sony, depending on how much coastline property is involved.

Therefore, with cost keeping those wishes unfulfilled, here's a couple of more realistic holiday gift ideas for both sides.

For Respectable People, Cafepress.com: It's the thought that counts, and with personalized gifts that you create through this Web site, Slobs can target-market holiday messages with delightful/deadly precision. Remember, though, it's your special insider info that will make these gifts unforgettable. Here are some examples:

Bumper sticker: "My adult child is an honor student at court-ordered traffic school."

Sweatshirt: "It's not Christmas until the cops arrive."

Mug: "I'd be the #1 Dad if this coffee cup didn't smell so much like whiskey."

For Slobs, CD-Rs: No one wants to find objectionable material on the family computer that a certain other someone downloaded from the Internet. So, give that certain someone recordable CDs, so your household can go back to having all its smut stored under the bed, where it was meant to be. Packs of 30 CD-Rs retail for $9.99, but shop around and you'll find a zillion on sale for basically a wink and a nod, or -- after rebate -- just a wink.

For Respectable People, the Chillow (soothsoft.com): Through a process best summed up as magic, this $30 heating-pad-in-reverse tucks under your pillowcase and subtly reduces your body temperature without the use of electrical cords or batteries. On a muggy night, you'll realize that the makers of the Chillow have discovered that the world's best Digital Age user interface is headfirst. If only it came with a DVD player pre-installed, the human race would no longer have any need for our legs.

For Slobs, Netflix.com: If Slobs stop to think about it, in the long run it's probably more financially sound for us to own our homes and rent our DVDs -- not the other way around. To this end, for $18 a month you can put us on the right track with a Netflix gift subscription, giving us access to more than 25,000 titles, free snail-mail shipping and an end to the 3 a.m. jaunts we take to the Blockbuster drop box because we know we'll never wake up by noon to avoid the late fee.

Strangely, however, Netflix offers a first-month free deal for new subscribers, but not for gift subscriptions. So, theoretically, you could sign up as the person you're buying the service for, and charge it to your credit card, thus saving yourself an initial $18. Or, even better, tell the giftee it's a one-month subscription, then cancel after 30 days and pay nothing at all (ah, it feels good to give).

See the Columnists section for some past articles.
Also see www.digitalslob.com

Curt Brandao is the Star-Bulletin's production editor. Reach him at: cbrandao@starbulletin.com



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