This is it – the Official Christmas List.  Subject to modification.

The Official Christmas List

This is the Official Christmas List.  Any list that appears anywhere else is a derivative of this list, which is the full and complete list.  Included with each item is the approximate street price, the manufacturer, and a list of convenient places where the item is available for sale.

Does anyone besides me feel greedy when making these things out?  Just think of them all as options, and feel free to go off-list if you see something really cool.  (As long as it doesn't involve closed-circuit/security cameras...  You know who you are.)

A semi-important note regarding video games:  I don't play games on my computer any more.  I don't own a Playstation2.  I only have time to focus on one game at a time these days, otherwise the game goes to waste.  So, please, if you don't see a specific game on the list, don't do it.

Also, please... No junk food as gifts!  (Cookies, candy, chocolate, etc.)  In fact, if you find a way to screw my head onto a fit body as a gift, do so.

On with the list...  This list is not complete...

Simple Gifts

These gifts are simple things that don't require too much thought or money.  If you wait until the last minute and you don't want to blow a ton of cash, this is probably the section to look in.

Essential Gifts

These gifts aren't "required", but if I receive only three gifts this year, I'm hoping that they're these.

  • Afterburner Kit ($35 Triton Labs) - This amazing little gadget lets you modify your Game Boy Advance so that it has the backlight that should have come standard.
    [Online only: Triton Labs]
  • Fellowship of the Ring Extended Edition ($40 Warner Home Video) - This is the Platinum Extended version with 30 additional minues of footage cut into the movie.  Not to be confused with the original release, the Platinum edition has 4 discs.
    [Amazon, Suncoast, BestBuy, CircuitCity, Online: dvdpricesearch.com]
  • FM114P Router ($140 Netgear) - This box will replace a box in the house that distributes the internet connection to all of the computers.  There are three bonuses in this one:  1) It functions as a wireless access point, so I'll be able to connect my new notebook to the network wirelessly.  2) It has a built-in stateful inspection firewall, which will do better at keeping out intruders than the current system.  3) It has hardware-based dynamic IP resolution through 3rd party services, so that when Verizon finally updates the DSL modem, I can still use the domain name to connect to the house.
    [GoogleGear, Amazon, CompUSA, BestBuy]

Extra Mile Gifts

If you're feeling adventurous, these gifts require a little extra effort for a huge return in cool factor, as some can only be obtained from specific online retail shops.

  • Sluggy Freelance Books ($13/each Plan Nine Publishing) - This is a pretty darn funny web comic that got printed in book form.  I have none of the 7 volumes.
    [Online: Plan Nine, Amazon]
  • Sound Bug ($30 Olympia) - You can attach this mouse-sized device to a smooth surface with its suction cup and it turns that surface into a speaker.  2 of them hooked together makes stereo sound.
    [ThinkGeek, Amazon]
  • MegaTokyo Blanket ($40 ThinkGeek) - The plotline (if there is one) is impossible to follow, but the drawing of this online comic is amazing.  And the blanket is just darn cool.  Also very cool is this MegaTokyo T-shirt (XXL $16).
    [Online only: ThinkGeek]
  • Bubble Tea ($50 Various) - This is weird tea that comes from Japan.  It has large black tapioca beads in it that you suck through a straw.  It comes in very weird flavors.  An assortment would be very cool.  Note that the required components of this tea - tea, pearls, special straws, flavored creamer - all may come separately.
    [Online only: Asia Foods, Bubble Tea Store, Boba Tea Store]

Standard Gifts

None of these gifts are lesser gifts; it's just that every year I make up what I believe to be an extensive list of things, and I just run out somehow.  Whether I receive these as gifts or not, you will eventually find one at my house.

  • Pikachu 2 ($9) - This is a little yellow Tamagotchi-looking device with a screen that has a Pikachu in it.  It's a pedometer.  As you walk, you generate a "charge" in the Pikachu inside the device, and you can use that charge to play games with it.  This might be difficult to find because they don't make them anymore, but it should be "darn cheap".
    [EB Game World, Wizards of the Coast, Toys'R'Us, KBToys, eBay?]
  • MechWarrior Dark Age Starter ($20 WizKids) - The starter set to play the new MechWarrior tabletop game.  I'm interested in seeing how the new minis work.
    [Wizards of the Coast, Online: WizKids]
  • XBox DVD Playback Kit ($20 Microsoft) - This lets you play back DVDs on the XBox, which is useful since there are some DVDs that I can't play back on the multi-region DVD player.
    [Amazon, Electronics Botique, CompUSA, BestBuy, Toys'R'Us]
  • Sword and Fist ($20 Wizards of the Coast) - This supplement book for D&D provides additional information for Fighter and Monk characters.
    [Amazon, Wizards of the Coast, Waldenbooks]
  • Defenders of the Faith ($20 Wizards of the Coast) - This supplement book for D&D provides additional information for Cleric and Paladin characters.
    [Amazon, Wizards fo the Coast, Waldenbooks]
  • XBox S-Type Controller ($30 Microsoft) - This is an extra controller for the XBox so that someone can play with me.  Don't know who that might be.
    [ThinkGeek, Amazon, Electronics Botique, Toys'R'Us, BestBuy]
  • Love Hina Vol.5 Vol.6 ($30/each Pioneer) - I've been watching this anime series for a while, and I have the first four volumes.  I also have to admit to a certain curiosity about Real Bout Highschool, Jubei-Chan and her lovely eyepatch, and Oh My Goddess.  Basically, I'm guilty of looking for shoujo with a little fan service that doesn't go completely hentai.  If you followed that, you know exactly what I want.  Arigato.  (Please, please, please let me not get only anime as gifts this year)
    [Amazon, Suncoast, Online: dvdpricesearch.com]
  • GameBoy Advance e-Reader ($40 Nintendo) - This gadget is a kind of cartridge for the GameBoy Advance that reads special barcoded cards.  The bar codes contain extra game data and sometimes even whole games.
    [Electronics Boutique, Toys'R'Us]

Still-Deciding Gifts

I can't decide if I really want these or not.  Primarily, I'm concerned that I'll be sucked into a life of neverending video game playing.  Online gaming is a commitment.  And while I'm sure that there are those of you that would enjoy this, remember that Berta will flay you all.  But if I did get them, I would play them.

  • XBox Live ($50 Microsoft) - The starter kit for XBox Live lets you play games online using the XBox console.  This kit includes a year of service on the XBox Live network.  This is useless, of course, without MechAssault, below.
    [Amazon, Electronics Botique, CompUSA, BestBuy, Toys'R'Us]
  • Splinter Cell ($50 Ubi Soft/XBox) - This is a game for the XBox with Tom Clancy's name stamped on it.  In spite of that, it's supposed to be pretty good.  This one doesn't work with XBox Live, but is still a good game.
    [Amazon, Electronics Botique, CompUSA, BestBuy, Toys'R'Us]
  • MechAssault ($50 Microsoft/XBox) - This game is based on the BattleTech series of games (remember Mech Warrior?), and works with XBox Live (see above) so I can shoot at strangers online from the comfort of the living room.
    [Amazon, Electronics Botique, CompUSA, BestBuy, Toys'R'Us]

Expensive Gifts

These gifts are, well...  expensive.  More than $50.  Everything else in the list (with one odd exception) is $50 or under.

  • IntelliMouse with Bluetooth ($85 Microsoft) - Ok, so I changed my mind.  I saw both this mouse and the Logitech mouse in the store and played with them, and the Microsoft mouse just feels better.  I suppose I'll just have to learn to keep batteries around for it.
  • Devstudio 2.7 Pro ($229 Falch) - This compiler makes applications for PalmOS in native code.  No more runtimes!  The Personal edition would probably be OK, too.
  • Finereader 6 Professional ($299 Abbyy) - It's OCR software for the scanner.  I'll turn all of those D&D books into searchable digital documents yet.
    [Amazon, Abbyy]
  • Microsoft Software ($1776 Microsoft) - Including Office XP Pro, Project 2002, Visio 2002 Pro and Visual C# Standard.  Full, registerable, legal versions.
    [Microsoft, PCConnection, Amazon]

Challenging Gifts

These gifts are going to be hard to pull off for various reasons.  But those of you who have gotten these types of things in the past seem to know what I like.

  • Guitar Lessons - Not from a place that teaches guitar, but a video or excellent instruction book.  Preferably DVD, since I'll be playing it over and over.
  • Puzzles - Not jigsaw puzzles, but logic puzzles and physical puzzles like Rubik's cube or tavern puzzles.  The more difficult/varied, the better.  Avoid the ones that offer a prize for the solution.  Puzzles from previous years that rocked were Nemesis Factor and The Stone.  I still get chills thinking about both of these.
  • D&D Monster Miniatures - I'm tired of fighting either that one stinking bear, skeletons, orcs, or trolls.  Having actual one-off monsters would be very cool.  You get 'em, I paint 'em.  Selecting the correct monsters is the key to this gift, since I wouldn't know which to choose.
  • Daily Writing Calendar - This may be another good idea I end up giving away, but here goes...  I would like a daily calendar (like those old Far-Side calendars) that each day gives a new idea about which to write.  For example, "Write about the first snowfall you remember."  Or simply, "Traffic lights".  Not cards... A daily calendar.

Impossible Gifts

I'm just listing these here in the off-chance that some very wealthy person stumbles by and decides to drop a few grand on me.  I'm sure you dream, too.  Would't it be cool if you found the deed to a an island under your Christmas tree?  Tell me it wouldn't.  Liar.

  • Kyocera 7135 ($500 MSRP) - The ultimate cellular phone.  Er, PDA.  Er, MP3 player.  Darn it...  Convergence device.
  • Another Semester at WCU ($550) - I came up with a good reason to continue doing this even though it will take 10 years, but I can't remember.  Too much macroeconomics floating around in my brain right now, I guess.
  • Fanny Key ($1800000 Florida) - It's in the south of Florida, and sounds very homey.  Includes three boat docks and a very large house with panoramic windows.