My birthday is coming up and people have started asking me what I want and checking out my Amazon Wish List. That’s not a bad place to start, but it’s pretty random, mostly full of frivolous stuff or craft supplies for projects I’m not actively working on at the moment. If you prefer to buy me something from there, though, go for one of the books or the electronics components. There’s other stuff at the end of this entry that’s a better bet if you really want to buy me something, but. . .
You don’t have to buy me anything. My favorite kind of gifts are the ones people make for me. I LOVE Mix CDs, and those are pretty close to free. Writing, art, handmade jewelry, stuffies, handmade journals, knitting/crochet. . .all of these will be valued gifts forever. Do you brew? Hell yeah I want a growler of your latest beer! I have a friend who 3D prints cool things for me. My neighbors make me food. A friend once designed a friendship ritual and I have never forgotten it. If you really want to do something for my birthday, these are my favorite kinds of things. I’d also rather spend TIME with my friends than get something from them. The person who organizes a big outing (or in-ing) where I get to see lots of my friends at once has given me THE BEST GIFT.
A few things to keep in mind whether you are making me something or buying me things:
- I am rocking a masculine aesthetic these days. It’s an important thing to remember if you are buying/making me something to WEAR. That doesn’t mean stuff has to be SUPER MASCULINE, but skirts and dresses and women’s clothing or jewelry probably aren’t the way to go. I’ve got a very genderqueer fashion sense, and do rock accessories and “feminine” colors and cute things, just not women’s clothing in general. If your cis-but-flaming GBF wouldn’t wear it, I probably wouldn’t either, but that still leaves a whole range of flamboyant and genderbending awesomeness, including things in bright colors and things that sparkle and. . .
- I really like things that are kawaii, that Asian style of cute with the big eyes. Think Sanrio or Kawaii Not. Hell yes will I carry a Hello Kitty laptop bag! (But Cinnamoroll is my fav if you’re going with Sanrio.) You can’t go wrong with anything in this aesthetic though. I will squee and be super happy with the cuteness.
- I don’t generally like things that have no purpose other than to sit on a horizontal surface. Little figurines and stuff will just get lost in my mess. I am not tidy enough to display cool/pretty things.
- Bath Products: If you’re buying, only Lush is a totally safe bet. But if you want to give me bath products, how about home made? They are super easy, and I love them as gifts! I prefer sweet (baked goods or candy) or fresh scents (mint or citrus) to floral, but I do have a weakness for jasmine. Patchouli is the only thing I really HATE though, so go nuts!
- I’m an ADHD fidget monster. Anything portable that I can fidget with is always going to be a winner.
- Cephalopods. I <3 them.
- My sizes: 32 x 32 pants, 14.5″ or 15″ collar, 36R jacket, 7.5 men’s US shoe size, and generally a small everything else.
If you are not the creative maker type, and would rather just spend money, you can always donate to one of my favorite charities:
- Planned Parenthood
- House of Ruth
- National Organization of Women
- National Coalition for Sexual Freedom
- One Laptop Per Child (A good choice for those who prefer to remain a-political, though I’m not sure if I have any friends like that left, heh.)
If you still want to spend money in exchange for goods for me, the following are very safe bets (in no particular order). Most of this stuff is easily in the cost range of casual gifting, but there are a few more expensive items on the list. Obviously I don’t expect anyone to buy them for me, they’re just there because they are specific things I’ve got my eye on at the moment. Anyway, here is the list of things that are good bets for purchase if you are feeling neither creative nor charitable:
- Bath and Body products from Lush. I love them and spend way too much money there.
- Electronics components or kits or microcontrollers from Adafruit or Sparkfun. Seriously, just go there and click around and if you see something that you think “Holy crap, that is so cool!” odds are pretty good I will also think so. I can also never have enough Arduinos or Raspberry Pis. I am also an enthusiastic customer of Tiny Circuits, but you probably don’t want to get me stuff from there unless you know what you’re looking at. Similarly, if it’s your jam, I’m working on a lot of GPS and WiFi mesh projects lately, so that kind of component to play with is doubleplus good right now if you have one you would particularly recommend. I would eat spiders for a set of at least 4 Flutter Boards, but they are totally expensive at the moment and probably won’t ship by my birthday.
- Yarn. If you can buy it at Michaels or a mainstream craft store I do not want it. Snobby independent yarn stores only! I’m really into loooooong repeat gradients these days, but will not turn my nose up at alpaca anything. Generally, useful projects require at least 2 skeins of anything, really more like 4. It’s cool if you can’t afford that many, just include the card of the place you got it from with the gift so I can get more if I need it! On a similar note, I can never have enough project bags.
- Books! Especially books about how to do, build, or make stuff. There are a lot of these on my Amazon Wish List above, but also I am very interested in learning new skills, so feel free to get me books about how to do things that YOU think are cool. I prefer print copies of How-To books, but kindle copies of general non-fiction or fiction.
- Games, board or role playing. I also still play Magic. I really like indie Role Playing Games that are high on narrative and collaborative storytelling and low on fiddling with stats and memorizing complex rule systems. I prefer print copies of RPGs, since I do not own an intermediary sized reading device like a netbook or a tablet to share and play PDFs in a useful way.
- Fandom art. I like supporting fandom artists. If you have no idea what I am talking about, you probably don’t have a tumblr. But if you do know what I’m talking about, my main fandoms are Doctor Who and Sherlock. Marvel stuff is also good (I really like Science Bros).
- We have a blanket and pillow problem in this house. Please enable it. Soft things that feel good on the skin only. None of those silly decorative pillows or throws that are only meant to be looked at. Ask yourself “Would I wrap myself in this naked?” If so, you’re probably headed in the right direction. (See also: I love it when you make me stuff! Afghans: ALL THE YES.)
- Hats and Bowties. I’ve been feening for a proper snap brim fedora, but I wear a lot of hats and anything you think is classy will probably look good on me. I wear a small hat. I aim for classy with bowties too, but with unique patterns and nerdery. It should look like a pretty normal bow tie from a distance, but when you get close maybe it has tiny tardises or smiley faces on it. That sort of thing, yanno? Prefer woven/embroidered to printed, but not hardcore about it.
- Nerdy t-shirts or hoodies: You can never go wrong with these. I am a men’s small for t-shirts, but prefer medium hoodies.
- Wine, beer, bourbon, or cordials. If you have a particular booze brand or vintage you like, I want to try it. Bring me some!
- Dark Chocolate. You cannot go wrong with truffles from the local chocolatier, but I also like dark chocolate in bar form and straight up cacao nibs.
- Tools are always good. I mean like seriously if you get me a regular hammer that is still useful since I am always losing them anyway. Tiny screwdrivers. Pliers. Dremel bit sets. Sanding blocks. Micro torches. Maglights. Walk into a hardware store tool/hardware section, close your eyes, spin around in a circle and point at something. Odds are I will use the thing.
- Binders! I really want at least one of the GC2B tank binders in white. I am a size Medium.
- I need a set of practice locks for my picking. I’ve been slacking on my practice and really want the combined progressive training kit from TOOOL. (I realize this is expensive and absolutely do not expect to receive it, but I’m putting it on this list because it is a thing I want.)
That’s all I can think of right now. I’ll keep this list updated as well as I can so I always have a place to send people when they ask me questions about gifts. I hope I don’t sound snobby and entitled, but I really am fairly picky about consumer goods, so if you really want to buy me stuff, I figure it’s good to have something like this out there. I love you guys. Thank you for asking and caring <3