austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Rocking around the Christmas Tree

Well, it's still early in the holiday gift-giving season to see how I'll do at guessing what people didn't realize they wanted this year, but we had the first returns come in today and I think it's looking promising. This would be for the office holiday party, an actual catered luncheon which had only one person forced to leave for home due to severe nut-related allergies. He was exposed before lunch started, and although his head inflated and turned several novel colors he called from home to say he was all right and he drove home just fine in his condition, even despite the freezing rain. He insisted he didn't need to go to the hospital.

We'd held a ``pollyanna'' this year, I mentioned, and my recipient asked for ``1) Gift card 2) Surprise Me''. I decided to try the Surprise Me option and after much consideration gave an iDog. This is a little computer speaker item in the shape of a plastic robotic dog that will move around in mild yet amusing ways, and shine lights here and there. And this did succeed in surprising her. Better, she looked genuinely delighted at something she hadn't thought of before. My only reservation is that the staff rapidly concluded this was one of those robot pets, and I don't believe that it's got the essential simulated personality to be a pet. I'm pretty sure it's just a fancy speaker with some behavior modes, like a three-dimensional screen saver.

Back to me I had asked for the Peanuts strip-a-day calendar, the Get Smart series 1 DVD, or a Bill Bryson book, and my gift-giver didn't find any of them. Actually, she found the book, but online, with delivery in ``1-24 days'', so as a placeholder she gave me a novel, a thriller about Russian nationalists trying to recreate a czardom while the United States is crippled by oil shortages. It's certainly not the sort of thing I'd think to pick up for myself.

Trivia: The 1921 treaty between New Jersey and New York which created the Port of New York Authority was, technically, an amendment to a treaty the states had signed in 1834. Source: Box Boats: How Container Ships Changed The World, Brian J Cudahy.

Currently Reading: János Bolyai, Non-Euclidean Geometry, and the Nature of Space, Jeremy J Gray.


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