Saturday, November 27, 2010

Better to Receive

If you're an early bird you might reading this on Black Friday. Or maybe you got to it on Small Business Saturday. It might even have languished until Cyber Monday. (Note: Sunday as a retail destination is still up for grabs.) But regardless of when you get to it, this column will solve a major dilemma: what to get me for the holidays. I know you're been lying awake at night thinking about it, and for that I apologize. It's just that there's so much stuff out there that it's taken me some time to sort it all out. And so to enable you to finally get a good night's sleep, please feel free to pick and choose from the following list. Not to worry: there's something for every budget.

For scribbling notes day by day I like to use a pencil, enabling me to erase and rewrite. But after the initial spate of creativity, I'd just as soon lock it in. So this year I want a Sharpie Liquid Pencil. Brought to you by the folks that make the best marker in the business, this hybrid uses a liquid graphic solution that is like lead, and indeed, can be erased for 72 hours. After that the marks become permanent. So now I can throw away my mechanical pencils and tubes of teensy-weensy leads. And it's just $5.49 for a two pack at Staples. If ever the moniker applied, this is proof of better living through chemistry.

Those who know me know I like to travel, and like to keep track of where I've been. Maps are great for that, but a little dull. So this year, I'd love to have a Hi Tech Art Map. Sure, it looks like a regular world map. But it comes with 100 push in LED's that light up in eight different colors when activated. It even has two blinking ones, which can indicate home and where I am that week so my wife can keep track. Amazon has it for less than $125. Yes, it does give off an aura of world domination, but I promise I'm really harmless.

Since my backpack is my office, my endless quest is to find things that are compact yet functional. The wireless mouse I carry is bulky and undersized, but it's hard to imagine working for any period of time on my laptop's trackpad alone. Enter Microsoft's Arc Touch Mouse. Looking as much like zen sculpture as a piece of office tech, it flops to a flat, rounded, rectangular slab when packed. When it's time for use, you arch its back to a traditional mouse shape, a process which also turns it on and connects it to the computer. Just $69 and change from, and that includes free shipping. And it proves that Steve Jobs isn't the only one with design chops.

I love to take pictures, but I don't like to lug a big camera with me. That means that often the only way I can snap a shot is with my phone. OK for quick pics, not so much for getting it all in. So I love the idea of Photojojo's magnetic lenses. Each the size of a fat thimble, one is a macro/wide angle combo, the other a fisheye. You adhere a small metal ring around the lens on your phone, then these babies snap on with a click. Twenty bucks for the wide angle, twenty-five for the fisheye, forty bucks for the pair. It's still not Ansel Adams, but it's certainly easier.

Beyond those are a few other odds and ends on which I have my eye. I like the new Global Droid Phone, which works on Verizon here and on overseas systems as well ($199). I no longer have anything in a locker, but the Master Lock 1500 which opens not with a dial but with a directional pad is pretty cool ($13). And if you want to splurge, the Aquavolo Music-Chromotherapy shower head combines a futuristic stainless steel design offering waterfall and rain settings, along with LED's and a built in MP3 player ($8500). Deliver it in person, and I'll let you have the bathroom for a test run.

Whatever you choose, just do me a favor and coordinate with all the others, OK? I'd hate to wind up with duplicates. And if you get a late start and everything has been spoken for, just give me a call: I left a few things off in your price range, and I hate to see you struggle.


Marc Wollin of Bedford really wants what he always wants for the holidays: no bills. His column appears regularly in The Record-Review and The Scarsdale Inquirer. 

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