December 21st, 2005

SilverLinings?

"Wan' it! Wan' it!" Not a Christmas list -- exactly

Posting one's own Christmas wish list seems not only gauche, but downright louche, yet here I am. I'm not going so far as another livejournalist I've noticed who posts links to her own Amazon wishlist, but I can't claim much moral high ground. goudabonbon and some family members asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and one thought led to another, and here we are.

But since it's so late in the season, and I don't really expect anyone to *buy* me anything on this list, I'm really posting it as a kind of a note-to-self about things that I've been on-the-lookout for at used bookstores and what have you. I'll probably refer back to it and update it in the future. Of course, if anyone who happened to have any of the items wanted to LOAN them to me, that would be jim dandy.

(And, what would be the perfect present is if some relative or acquaintance would give goudabonbon, Sweetness and me use of some kind of luxurious getaway dwelling to coincide with the vacation days I'm taking around New Year's. And maybe if it had a free 24-hour Gymboree next door and a fully stocked bar, that would be good, too.)

Anyway, here's the stuff I'm on the lookout for. Don't feel obligated to read it.

Books
'The Value of X' by Poppy Z. Brite, aka docbrite (the first of her New Orleans restaurant novels, although 'Liquor' and 'Prime' seem to have higher profiles; also intrigued by her story collection 'The Devil Your Know); 'Iron Council' and 'Looking for Jake' by China Mieville (goudabonbon has gotten a VERY strong hint about how much I'd like to get the latter); 'Viriconium' by M. John Harrison (who's a big influence on the Mieville stuff I like); 'Magic for Beginners' by Kelly Link (highly regarded new short story collection).
(There are many more good books out there on my radar, but none of the above are in my area library system or have turned up at my used bookstore haunts, so...)

Graphic Novels
'Ice Haven' by Daniel Clowes (technically it's the latest issue of 'Eight-Ball' -- somehow I never picked it up); 'Tommysaurus Rex' by Doug Tennapel (I've never actually seen a copy, but he wrote a terrific book called 'Creature Tech' published by Marietta's Top Shelf); 'Starman: Grand Guignol' (a good if not great superhero reimagining in a Neil Gaiman vein -- I lost interest with a long arc set in outer space, but the subsequent 'Grand Guignol' storyline looked pretty juicy, and I recently discovered that it's out in a trade paperback collection).

DVD collections
Any of those Warner Bros. noir collections or Criterion edition Kurosawa films look great. I'd especially like to check out the 'Gilmour Girls' Season 1 collection, because I've never seen the show. I don't DOUBT that it's good -- many people whose opinions I trust like it -- but it seems too late to start up with it; that train has left the station. I'd similarly love the new 'Battlestar Galactica' Season 1 DVD; I got a used disc of the introductory four-part miniseries (which I think is also on the preferred Season 1 DVD), yet I haven't had time to WATCH it yet. I saw one episode that was rebroadcast on NBC during the summer, and was quite impressed. Apparently the Season 2 box came out yesterday. How will I ever catch up?

Pop music
I'm so out of touch with music that I should probably shouldn't even mention it. But I'm very enamored of the first two Cds of Laurie Berkner, an acoustic guitar-playing children's singer who's quirky and energetic without being chirpy or cloying. (Someone called her the Ani DiFranco of children's music, but I don't know Ani well enough to judge it's accuracy.) I've yet to hear 'Under a Shady Tree' or 'Whaddaya Think of That?' (the latter of which has an old favorite "The Cat Came Back") but am highly interested in them. I could make a show of pretending that they're really for Sweetness and have all kinds of educational value -- and I certainly intend to listen to them WITH my daughter -- but I also covet them just because Laurie Berkner puts me in a good mood.

Two boxed sets that look too expensive and too damn long for me to ask anyone to give me are the 'Nuggets II: Original Artyfacts from the British Empire and Beyond' and 'Children of Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the Second Psychedelic Era - 1976-1996.' I can't explain it, but I have a fascination with psychedelic garage rock singles of the like "Incense and Peppermints" and "I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night" and "Nobody But Me" and "Are You Gonna Be There (At the Love-In)." Give me a fuzzy guitar sound, a Hammond organ and a tamborine and you've got my attention. I've got the first 4-disc 'Nuggets' box and it's good but there's just too MANY songs: whatever happened to "Best of" collections? Everything's 'The Complete (whatever)' these days. There's probably lots of stuff on the other boxes that I'd like, though.

My main source these days for new and old "nuggety" pop music is the weekly radio "Little Steven's Underground Garage," which I haven't listened to in a while, but amazes me because I like nearly everything I hear on it, even though it can span five decades. Little Steven (of E Street Band/Sopranos fame) is one of the greatest disc jockets I've ever heard -- he's like Wolfman Jack for real. I heard he had some kind of alt-country show as well, which would be great, but I think I was misinformed. Ideally his shows are available to download and burn onto a CD. Now that would be a good present -- and cheap!
  • Current Music
    "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," The Crystals