Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Advil Calendar 2013 - GROWNUP GIFT GUIDE

Oh sure. I've bought presents. I don't believe in GOD and I have serious issues with CHRISTIANITY, but we do Christmas around here. There is currently a dead tree in my living room. I swear it's like taxidermy. Why people (my husband and children) think it's festive to watch a woody plant slowly desiccate inside is TOTALLY BEYOND ME.

But it's 10 minutes til 12 on Xmas Eve and the presents are wrapped and the pork roast is brining and I baked an apple pie that I suspect is basically raw on the inside and my husband made me a Negroni and Annie Lennox is on the iPod so... ok. Christmas.

Hey speaking of atheists who bake, did you read the Dan Savage review of the Sarah Palin book? You should. I can wait.

The really great point that Dan Savage makes here is that assholes like Sarah Palin are the ones who are ruining Christmas. Godless Dan Savage, baking cookies and taking them to his Jewish neighbors, keeps Christmas better than relentlessly god-bothering Sarah Palin, who buys her loved ones GUNS for Christmas.

So just in case you are a present-giver at this time of year, I have a few suggestions and observations.

1). The first item on our gift guide is something that's been stuck in my mind since the very first post of this year's Advil Calendar. The football game was on TV and there was a huge blitz of ads for tablets and other tech toys. When I was a kid, Christmas commercials were nearly all electric razors. Back then there were so few gifts for men, weren't there? Just, you know, spears. Loincloths. Electric razors. Now the commercials "for men" are all tech items and erectile dysfunction.

One of those tablet ads featured a dad analyzing stats while chatting with someone who was pressuring him to "make the trade!" Got it: dads need a tablet for maintaining their fantasy football team. Then we cut to Mom, who is using the tablet - oh good! To Skype with her mom about a recipe for stuffing. FUCK YOU.

The Samsung Galaxy Note: helps men be men and women better fulfill their roles as household servants. No drink for you, SAMSUNG.

(Not actually Holly.)

2). This item is just for residents of my neighborhood, and is actually a present we've already been given.

Her name is Holly (so seasonal!). She is not a proselytizing Christian bigot. She doesn't feel the need to comment on every grocery item she scans. She moves at a speed visible to the human eye. Her personal hygiene is in no way suspect. Oh thank you Ebenezer Safeway. God bless us every one!

After a long day scanning and bagging, I'd say our favorite checker could use a drink. With a name like Holly, she's probably pretty much over the Holly Jolly Cocktails and Mistletoe Martinis and whatnot, so I'm going with one of these:
The Classic Hot Toddy
1 sugar cube
1 1/2 ounces high proof (100 or higher) bourbon
1 lemon wedge freshly squeezed
1/4 ounce of spiced honey syrup
Hot water
1 thick lemon peel
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick

In an empty irish coffee mug, add your sugar cube, Bourbon, lemon juice and spiced honey syrup. Fill the mug with hot water and stir to mix everything up. Garnish with a thick lemon peel, star anise and a cinnamon stick. Serve immediately.

3). I wish I could sell you a visit to my ten-year-old's Minecraft Winter Wonderland. He built stables for his reindeer (Basher, Bruiser, Mauler, Spikes, Snapper, Blood, and Chucky); Santa's chicken house, where he makes toys (Moby Dick, binkies, cat toys, trains, Hot Wheels, Percy Jackson books); and this:

His Advent Calendar is a series of tasks. When you complete Day 1, "Kill 3 zombies with your fists only," you get to open a box containing a Santa suit. Day 2 is "Kill the elves on the shelves." He hid elves all over and you must destroy them. THAT'S MY BOY.

The Drunken Moogle (a site dedicated to nerdcraft and mixology) created a Minecraft-inspired Dirt Block cocktail, but it's made with Kahlua, chocolate milk and Oreo crumbs, so... no. But I would drink this:

Enderman Cocktail:
1 1/2 oz jager
1 1/2 oz white rum
8 oz Coca Cola
Mix alcoholic ingredients and pour over ice in a highball glass. Fill (around 8 oz) with Coke.

An Enderman in Minecraft is some tall thing that can kill you, but he can't see you if you don't look at him. THE MORE YOU KNOW.

And here's a little present from me to you: Shura. Shura Eadie was one of the stars of Cyber-Seniors, a new documentary film about a project that paired older people with teen mentors who helped them discover the wonders of the web. In this clip, she and her friend Max show us how to make cocktails inspired by her new favorite game.

5). I don't think we're up to 5 but. Here's a thing you might think of buying your loved ones during the holiday season: a cookie jar. We broke ours (which we use for bagels so it is actually quite essential). So I went on Etsy and Ebay and looked for a cool one and holy crap you want to get scared and depressed - search Ebay for cookie jars. They're all scary clowns and pederastic-looking elves and Mammies. Eurgh.

6). But the best present we ever gave each other was our idiot cats, who came two years ago from the pound and who now think Christmas is their birthday and Hannukah and Eid and Diwali all put together. So from Babe and Brother John -

To all a good night from Your Neighborhood Librarian. This is tomorrow morning's drink, by the way:

Bitter Orange Cooler
Shake in ice cocktail shaker & strain
2 oz orange juice
1 1/2 sweet vermouth
1/2 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz Cherry Heering
Strain into glass
Fill with ice & bitter orange wheel soda
Add orange wheel
Serve in a tall glass