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The Gift Guide For People Who Don’t Want Gifts – Part One : Food

You have that person in your life. You know the one – you love them and they’re great until it’s their birthday, or the holidays, or your anniversary or Mother’s Day or Father’s Day or any other time of year you’d want to get them a present, and you ask them what they want.

“Oh, I don’t know,” they say.  “I don’t really need anything.”

These people are the worst.

Well, not the worst, but I do have three of them in my life (both my parents and my brother-in-law) and they make gift-giving pretty difficult. All three of them have a mixture of a few qualities, which are the same qualities that almost every person who comes to me for gift-giving advice (my favorite advice to give) says their loved or mildly tolerated one also possesses:

  1. They genuinely don’t like having a lot of stuff around.
  2. They’re picky.
  3. When they see something they like, they just buy it for themselves.

Like I said, the worst. But also, not impossible.

There are a few tricks to gifting for difficult people. I personally use the time-honored approach of putting way too much effort in, which is to say that I never, ever, stop looking for presents or noting down when someone during any point in the year says “I wish I had a ____” or expresses interest in an object or event or literally anything. I email notes to myself constantly when I hear about a new product or someone mentions this new thing that changed their life. Every time I go shopping I take pictures of labels of things, and then when I go home I look them up and put them in neatly organized bookmarks folders. Around Halloween I fire up the spreadsheets and go through that subsectioned bookmarks folder and start making my cross-indexed lists so that when Black Friday comes, I will have that list down pat and I will be ready to order for maximum savings.

But this is just me, and most people are not me and do not have what is probably a diagnosable disorder of enjoying gift-giving way too much. So for everyone else who is normal and pays more attention to things that are actually good uses of their time, like balancing their checkbook or keeping living space in a condition that isn’t a constant health violation, there’s a much, much easier solution: treat them to something useful.

Everyone eats. Everyone sleeps. Everyone gets cold in the winter and warm in the summer (or vice-versa if they live in the southern hemisphere).  Everyone needs to wear clothes and not get wet when it rains and keep their cell phone battery from dying. Most people don’t even think about these stupid little things they do every day that are annoying or inconvenient, but they love it when some magnificent angel of a person comes in and helps make doing those things easier or better or more fun.

And I am here to help you be that magnificent angel. You’re welcome.

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PopCircle: The Next Frontier

PopCircle-Logo-Trans201x42I know lately I’ve been focusing on art more than my TV blogging, but just because I’ve neglected it lately doesn’t mean it’s forgotten. In fact, it’s time for me to share something I’ve been sitting on a while that I briefly mentioned on tumblr – I’m part of a pretty cool start-up!

PopCircle is a site where you get to make collections of recommendations and share them with everyone. They can be collections of anything – books, TV, movies, songs – and you can even add little reviews.  Want to make a list of recommendations for people who like Harry Potter, or Sherlock Holmes? Congrats, you can do that on PopCircle.

I’m on board as a TV Expert, meaning that I make collections of TV shows to recommend (you can see my first few here) and they appear as a fancy expert recommendation that’s for the whole community. Right now PopCircle is still in beta mode for mostly experts, but as an expert I can invite a select number of people to start beta-testing if they’re interested. It’s first come, first served, so leave a comment with your e-mail address if you are so I can send you a fancy referral link, and I look forward to seeing you all there!

Sitcom Superlatives: Best, worst, and wedded bliss (Originally for CliqueClack)

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Best Wedding – Liz and Criss, 30 Rock
If I had to choose a favorite TV wedding, I should probably say that my favorite is Monica and Chandler’s, or Jim and Pam’s, or Marshall and Lily’s. But as I’ve mentioned before, my stance on weddings is, to put it lightly, highly atypical. And my wedding, should I ever have one, is going to resemble Liz and Criss’ on this week’s 30 Rock far more than anyone in my life probably feels comfortable with.

Look, I’m with Liz (shocker) — the wedding-industrial complex is nuts and I have no desire to have a big party where I have to be nice to people I never wanted to invite and look the most like I a beautiful princess I have ever looked in my life. Weddings, in my opinion, should ideally reflect the couple and the kind of life they want to share with each other. And maybe some people want to share a perfect fairytale life, but that sounds like a lot of pressure to me. Give me a small, personally significant, completely ridiculous and goofy wedding any day, because life is never going to be a perfect fairytale. But if you’re lucky, it will be a fun, silly gathering of close friends who love you, and of course, a few who don’t but are just there for the ride. And let’s be real, who wants to be Cinderella when you can be Princess Leia? No one I want to hang out with, that’s who.

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A Thank You Note to America

Voting in 2008 and in 2012

Dear America,

Thank you.

When I woke up yesterday morning, it was seven AM. My mother, who was the Democratic Ward Captain, was on her cell phone and, I think, the house phone with the local congressional office. There was some sort of confusion about where people from each ward lined up, which ward they were in, and if ward maps existed that could be passed around the line. I had woken up to all this noise with radiating jaw pain from clenching my teeth in my sleep and a horrible stress headache, which was how I had woken up for the last three or four days in a row. I took double the amount of Xanax I usually take every morning. I was terrified that I would go to sleep that night in a country where Barack Obama would no longer be my president.

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CliqueClack Goes to the Emmys – Best comedy series (Originally for CliqueClack TV)

Well, my friends, the time has come. It’s the final category of my dream Emmy nominees. I put it off until the Comic-Con furor died down, but by Thursday we’ll know what the (inevitably disappointing) nominees are. But until then, let’s live in the magical world where good comedy is actually rewarded. The nominees for Best Comedy are…

30 Rock
Community
New Girl
Parks and Recreation
Raising Hope

Suburgatory

Normally, at this point I’d go through the highs and lows of each show, play a few clips, and crown a winner. But I am not going to do that in this category for a simple reason — going through the highs and lows is impossible to do until you know what specifically the Best Comedy Emmy is designed to reward.

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