On the 1st Night of Chanukah…

26 Dec

Last year, Caitlin and I pretty much ignored that Chanukah existed, much like I had the last number of years, but this year we decided to go all out. Her dad bought me a beautiful Menorah, we threw a latke-fueled dreidel party, and we decided to give each other gifts all eight nights. I had to make sure Caitlin wouldn’t go too overboard with the gifts*, and told her that some of the days could be “something really small, like three starbursts**.” We figured we’d write up 8 posts, one for each day of gifts and tell you what we got each other, why we got it, and how we reacted to the gifts.

*I can’t help myself. I take a Leslie Knope approach to gift-giving.

**He said this probably 10 or so times. Still … I couldn’t help myself.

If you couldn’t tell from the instagram above, I got Caitlin season one of Portlandia. Neither of us had seen even one episode of the show … until the day I gave her the gift. Caitlin was out of things to watch on her lunch break on Tuesday* and decided that this was the time to start watching Portlandia on Hulu. The very day that the DVD was already wrapped and under the tree. I guess we were on the same page. 

Zack was totally adorable about this. For a moment, I had a sneaking suspicion he might have purchased this for me, because right after I was looking at it in Waterloo Records, he said, “Man, it’s weird to watch someone almost buy something you got them for Christmas.” Seriously, it was probably only 10 minutes or so since I’d handled the DVD that he said those words. I tried to think back about the records I’d been looking at, or stuff in BookPeople I’d pointed out, and then I thought it might be Portlandia. But I wasn’t 100% sure, so it was still a happy surprise when I opened this the night of our Chanukah party. I’m excited to watch more episodes and giggle at their take on hip-ness.

*I usually watch Say Yes to the Dress, but it’s kind of embarrassing that I watch it so religiously and so I’ve been avoiding it as much as possible.

Zack was very specific this year about wanting things that he could actually use. He wanted gifts that were practical and fun, and mentioned things like a hoodie from his favorite band. I wracked my brain trying to think about items that met those criteria, and I realized — we’d recently gotten into listening to books on CD while we did our major driving adventures cross-country. I thought, how perfect would it be to find some things by Vonnegut or Klosterman, two of Zack’s all-time favorite writers, that he maybe had never heard (or read) before. The Vonnegut interviews seemed perfect, as they were interviews with the man himself that I was fairly confident Zack had never heard. Then I tried to find something by Klosterman that would be new to Zack, and IV‘s description on Amazon didn’t prominently display IV, but rather mentioned interviews by him with Britney Spears and other huge pop and rock stars, so I thought it might be never-before-released interviews. I was a bit saddened when I realized it was actually IV, but glad to see that Zack didn’t own a copy of that Klosterman book, at least. It ended up being a win.

This made me incredibly happy. I’ve gotten over-the-top into Chuck Klosterman lately, reading “Killing Yourself to Live,” “Downtown Owl,” and “Fargo Rock City” in the last couple months after devouring “The Visible Man” at a book signing. Caitlin obviously noticed, having purchased “Downtown Owl” for me, and so her gift of “IV” on tape was especially sweet. I’d read it already, but it’s been a few years, and I really enjoy listening to books on tape while I commute. I hate all music while driving to or from work. Also, Caitlin and I have been listening to books on tape during long road trips, specifically Malcolm Gladwell. I’m actually listening to “IV” right now, as I write this. I’m looking forward to those Vonnegut interviews very much, but will wait for Caitlin to listen. I’ve only had mixed results getting her into him so far. She didn’t get past the first 40 pages or so of “Slaughterhouse Five”, but did read all of “A Man Without a Country*.”

*By “read all of,” he means “insatiably devoured.” I adored that book. I’ve never been into war stories that much, but I figure I’ll go back to Slaughterhouse Five eventually.

Thanks for reading. We hope Santa and Chanukah Harry brought you everything you dreamed of. We’ll post one of these a day until we’ve told you of everything we put under the tree. 

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