EDITOR IN CHIEF WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY'S PERFECT LIST OF PERFECT GIFTS!
For my nephew Jake, who doesn't think I'm as "cool" as I really am.
Batman with a Skateboard T-Shirt
My nephew Jake has a serious problem: He doesn't think I'm nearly as cool as I know I am. And it doesn't seem to matter how much I remind him how cool I am; whenever I walk in and chirp, "Whazzup with the happs, Jake?" he rolls his eyes, and then leaves the room. WELL, FUCK YOU, NEPHEW JAKE. Because I'm getting you a gift that is objectively and inarguably cool: A "Batman with a Skateboard" t-shirt. Produced by the inarguably cool Almost Skateboards company, this "Batman Mall Grab" shirt is inarguably cool because it has the most inarguably cool superhero (Batman) participating in the most inarguably cool sport (skateboarding). So Jake—enjoy this inarguably cool gift from your inarguably cool uncle... and stop arguing about it!!
Cal Skate Skateboards, 210 NW 6th, $29.95
For the lucky person I'm going to have sex with.
In case you're just joining us, sex-having is a fun thing to do, and sex toys make it even more funner! That's why my lucky partner will be psyched to find a We-Vibe 4 underneath her tree. A vibrator for couples, the We-Vibe is a U-shaped toy in which one arm rests inside the vagina (to stimulate the G-spot), while the other addresses the needs of the clitoris (if you know what I mean!). It's great for whoever's on penetration duty as well, as this person feels the rumbly side effects of the six-speed vibration modes... AND can have fun "steering" with the handy remote control unit! Sure, it's a bit on the pricey side for a sex toy... but you're worth it (and I'll reap the benefits)!
She Bop, 909 N Beech & 3213 SE Division, $160
For my good friend "Too Earnest" Dave.
Social Justice Kittens Calendar
I adore Dave... I really do. But sometimes he can be a bit too... oh, how shall I put it? Earnest. He champions every ultra-progressive measure that comes down the pike (regardless of whether there are more important issues he could support), and becomes self-righteously incensed if someone dares to disagree with him. That's why the 2015 Social Justice Kittens Calendar is for him. Produced by the brilliant former Mercury Art Director (and author of Crap Hound) Sean Tejaratchi, Social Justice Kittens features 12 months of adorable kittens "speaking out on the hottest social justice issues of the day," with phrases such as, "Every day I face microaggressions and microinvalidations from so-called allies." Or "I am creating a non-hierarchal safespace to express my intersections." And "You are jeopardizing my well-being with your violent refusal to agree." These kitties are not only cute as the dickens, they really "speak truth to power!"
For Johnny, the Scout who's all grown up.
Tomahawk Waylon Backpack
You probably have someone like Johnny in your life, too—a former Boy Scout who still loves to get out in the wild and look the part. That's why the incredibly fortunate Johnny is going to receive this handsome, stylish Waylon backpack from local bag and leather manufacturer Michael Elias, and his company Tomahawk. Handmade right here in Portland, the Waylon is a dead ringer for my old canvas Scout backpack, except made from waxed twill and finished with locally sourced beeswax. Cowhide straps team up with solid brass hardware and copper rivets to make one of the toughest bags you'll ever love. (Reminder! Each of these sweeties takes one to three weeks to produce... so plan ahead!)
For my well-deserving feet.
Nike Stefan Janoski Shoes
There are only three reasons to go to the mall: (1) Hot Dog on a Stick. (2) Eavesdropping on teenager conversations at the food court. And (3) choosing wicked awesome sneakers at Shiekh. Stocking a mind-boggling array of kicks from Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Puma, and many more, I recently picked up a pair of Nike Air Force Ones that receive nods of jealous approval from every sneakerhead I pass. HOWEVER! There was another pair I would've happily purchased as well, if I were a millionaire... the Nike Stefan Janoski skateboarding shoe. DEAR GOD THESE ARE GORGEOUS: a low-top sneak with a purple woodgrain finish? I would be the envy of the skatepark—if I actually had the physical acumen to go to skateparks anymore. I'm done hinting around... somebody needs to buy these for me! Size 9.5, please.
Shiekh, Lloyd Center, 951 Lloyd Center, $89.99 (or cheaper online... but you don't get to eavesdrop on teenagers)
REPORTER DIRK VANDERHART'S PERFECT LIST OF PERFECT GIFTS!
For my girlfriend, who has said repeatedly she does not want this.
Paul Bunyan's Beard Oil
It's indefensibly selfish to have a beard in a romantic relationship. Your otherwise pleasant face is rendered Brillo-like by some deep-seated self-consciousness about a weak chin or whatever. I know this, but I have maintained a bristly, regal beard over the course of my own romantic engagement. It's fine, my girlfriend assures—but then I'll trim the thing a couple millimeters too short and I'm suddenly weaponized. So here's the thought: I'll buy beard oil! For me, but also for her! I'm going with Paul Bunyan's Beard Oil from Wolf's Apothecary, because it's local and promises to render my coarse visage suddenly supple and soft. My lady says it's a bad idea, that I will smear oil all over the place instead of scratch her. I'm convinced she'll thank me in time.
Wolf's Apothecary, 917 SW Washington, $35 for a two-ounce bottle
For my girlfriend, as penance for all that oil on her face.
A Polyhedral Necklace
I have no opinion on jewelry. I like most earrings. I'm fine with all necklaces. Show me a bracelet! I will be complimentary, but unmoved. This would be fine, except people like me seem to be the stark minority. So when it comes time to purchase jewelry—something I mostly avoid—I'm keenly aware that a piece I'm okay with might draw negative and guttural reactions from the recipient (which I also try to avoid). It's easy to pre-empt this by asking people what they like, surprises be damned, and my girlfriend seems intrigued by these shiny polyhedrons that dangle from the neck. I'm going with the gold-plated irregular dodecahedron, because even I can see that shit is fresh.
Flora, 917 SW Washington, $120
For my rugged, tippling uncle.
Stanley Stainless Steel Flask in Navy
Everyone knows Stanley makes the best vacuum bottles (which actually means Thermos, except Thermos is a brand that makes worse Thermoses than Stanley) around. But damned if I knew they made flasks. Not just flasks, either, but practical flasks, with wide mouths you can pour your spirits into without a funnel and rugged exteriors. I found this out at Beam & Anchor, where the pragmatic, reasonably priced Stanleys were displayed mere feet from a chrome flask that had a picture of boobs scratched into it and cost upward of $50. I think my uncle might like boobs, but he likes non-cutesy common sense more. And of course, liquor.
Beam & Anchor, 2710 N Interstate, $32
For my condescendingly fancy friend.
Steel Bridge Cufflinks by Frawn
For years, I've been telling my friend that French cuffs are a terrible idea. I mock loudly in bars, I cajole, I try earnestness. Still he shows up to after-work drinks in some gaudy shirt, his over-fat cuffs weighed down by a slab of joyless metal. This year, a new strategy: I'm gonna get him these light and delightful wooden cufflinks depicting our city's sternest bridge. Am I playing into his extraneously cuffed hands? Perhaps, but at least he'll be repping this city we all call home, and a sensible wooden hue may clash sufficiently with those canary yellow numbers to take them out of rotation for good.
Radish Underground, 414 SW 10th, $25
Cielo Cycles Sportif
I'm going to keep saying it, Portland: I would like a Cielo Sportif, the most-beautiful model from the bike-making wing of Portland's Chris King Precision Components. I have offered to wash dishes in exchange for one via Twitter, and been ignored. I have entered a raffle to win one, and lost. I even asked for one in last year's gift guide, and was silently rebuffed. Still, heroically, I press on. The Sportif is everything I want in a bicycle. I will ride it courteously, yet quickly. I will attach a pleasant-sounding bell and doff my cap to motorists and pedestrians alike. And for the first time in years of uneasy nights and leg-jiggling days, I will be at peace. Surely this plea must move someone?
Cielo Cycles, cielo.chrisking.com, $1,895 for frame and fork
ARTS EDITOR MEGAN BURBANK'S PERFECT LIST OF PERFECT GIFTS!
For my boyfriend, who loves to cook.
Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand by Andy Ricker and JJ Goode
Earlier this month, NPR reported that millennials love shackin' up more than any other generation, and this is one sweeping generalization I can't argue with. I live in sin, and before I did, I basically just ate a lot of soup, quickly, over an open book, like an unimaginative, toothless hermit. (In fairness, I was in grad school.) I love food, but I am not great at making it. My boyfriend, on the other hand, has an interest in pickling, is skilled at using a wok and making a Midwestern hot dish with a tater-tots layer (I requested this; I am disgusting), and as of press time, remains the only man in his mid-twenties I've ever seen order an appetizer that wasn't jalapeño poppers. His favorite restaurant is Pok Pok, which has a beautiful hardcover cookbook. As the gluttonous non-cook in our household, this is the least I can do.
Powell's Books for Home and Garden, 3747 SE Hawthorne, $35
For my dad, who shares my sugar addiction.
Pearl Sugar Waffles
My dad doesn't golf. He doesn't really wear ties. My dad is a policy wonk whose hobbies include cross-country skiing, reading dense accounts of World War II, and complaining about regressive taxation. This usually means I get him a dense account of World War II for Christmas. But luckily for me, my dad also has an out-of-control sweet tooth, which means that whenever he comes to Portland, we make time for both doughnuts and waffles. His preferred combo—the Hawthorne locations of Blue Star Donuts and the Waffle Window—can't be found in Seattle, where he lives, but the Waffle Window sells pre-packaged pearl sugar waffles, which we can enjoy in our usual manner when I come home for Christmas. They're sweet, but not too sweet, with pearls of sugar baked right in, so you don't need maple syrup (although if you're like me, you may want it). I'll take as many as I can fit in my suitcase.
The Waffle Window, 3610 SE Hawthorne & 2624 NE Alberta, $9.99 for an eight-pack
For bookish friends I'm trying to convince to move to Portland.
Portland Small and Local Press Starter Kit
Dead As, by Robyn Bateman (Bone Tax Press); Excavation, by Wendy C. Ortiz (Future Tense Books); and The Chronology of Water, by Lidia Yuknavitch (Hawthorne Books)
Hey, have you noticed what an amazing small press scene we have here in Portland? And that Portland just happens to be the city so many remarkable writers currently call home (hi, Cheryl Strayed!) or have until recently? (We miss you, Charles D'Ambrosio!)? Well, I have—it's one of my favorite things about living here—and I'm hoping that all of my far-flung writer pals will move here to start new literary ventures so that I can have even more wonderful things to read. This is my argument for the Portland Small and Local Press Starter Kit, which I've designed to include Wendy C. Ortiz's Excavation, the latest from Future Tense Books; Lidia Yuknavitch's genre-defying The Chronology of Water, from Hawthorne Books; and Dead As, Robyn Bateman's deceptively diminutive chapbook from Bone Tax Press that will make you like poetry even if you think you hate it. I can hear the U-Hauls full of books chugging along I-5 already.
For my mom, who is very organized.
Nicole J. Georges' Invincible Summer Calendar; Nikki McClure's Calendar
My mother is a champion among power suit-wearing women with full-time jobs in government. She is the kind of person who goes to yoga before dawn, then goes to work, and remembers to stop at the library on the way home to return her books on time. She deserves a snazzy paper product to help keep track of all of these things. I've been buying Nikki McClure's cut-paper calendars since 2008, and this year's, titled "Love: 15,000 Years Later," is unsurprisingly gorgeous. Nicole J. Georges' hand-drawn and lettered "Invincible Summer: a Calendar of Creatures Who Detest Palm Oil" is also incredibly charming, full of jaunty, emotive portraits of sun bear families and sloths wearing headphones. The stars of Georges' calendar are all animals facing habitat destruction due to palm oil production.
Land Gallery, 3925 N Mississippi, $12-18
For me, because nudge, nudge.
Start Together Sleater-Kinney Vinyl Box Set
I've been a huge Sleater-Kinney fan since I first listened to The Hot Rock in college, but I've always been heartbroken that I never got to see them perform when they were together (Wild Flag was pretty great, but just not the same). Now that Carrie, Corin, and Janet (JANET IS MY FAVORITE; see also: the Jicks!) are back together, I'm back to my Sleater-Kinney completist tendencies, which means that I have to have Start Together, Sub Pop's limited-edition vinyl box set (named for a song on The Hot Rock!) that contains (not that America's best rock band ever can be contained!) remastered versions of Sleater-Kinney's seven albums. Start Together was so popular Sub Pop is already releasing a second edition of it! Carrie and Corin's guitars are supposed to sound even better on the remastered records, and nothing will seem quite right until I hear them for myself. On vinyl, of course.
Sub Pop, megamart.subpop.com, pre-order for December shipping, $125
MANAGING EDITOR MARJORIE SKINNER'S PERFECT LIST OF PERFECT GIFTS!
For my sister-in-law, who just popped out a shorty.
Jumbo Canvas Storage Bins
My sister-in-law already has an eight-year-old stepson and two dogs, and she just had a baby. That's great, but it's also a lot of things working against you when it comes to keeping the house tidy—she and her husband work full-time, and it's not like they have a butler. Rebecca Pearcy Textiles makes jumbo canvas storage bins that're perfect for stowing towels, craft supplies, or reading materials, and also work as a quick solution for clearing a roomful of toy explosions.
Queen Bee Creations, 3961 N Williams #101, $96
For my two most thoughtfully old-timey girlfriends.
Social Preparedness Kit
Unlike all the rest of you serial Instagrammers, I have two friends who still treasure old-timey communications that involve hand delivery and nice stationery. I appreciate their mindfulness (even though it sometimes makes me feel like a shitheel in comparison), so here's a gift I know they'll both put to good use: A Social Preparedness Kit from local Egg Press that'll help them organize and execute all of their lovely, antiquated gestures.
Egg Press, eggpress.com, mix and match items from $24-32
For my friend the fire starter.
Modern Hearth Tool Set
It's not like I don't know how to start a fire in the goddamn fireplace, but it doesn't exactly come naturally. Some people are just more drawn to such things, and if those people are also like my friend Henry—who worked up the Most Impressive Beach Bonfire of All Time last month in Rockaway—they can appreciate the beauty of a finely honed tool to build a raging fire inside. Like this lovely Modern Hearth Tool Set from Rejuvenation (which I know his wife'll like the looks of, too).
Rejuvenation, 1100 SE Grand, $175
For wine drinkers (like me).
Mas Uvas Wine Club Subscription
There was a time when drinking wine with my friends involved jugs with handles. We are way past that now, and have matured to appreciate the way wine can complement a pork chop as much as it can liven up a cozy dinner party. Oso Market offers a couple of different wine and beer subscriptions depending on your preferences and price point. I like the sound of the Mas Uvas wine club, which starts at $45 a month for three bottles and goes up to $150 a month for 12. Shipments also include notes on each selection and pairing suggestions, and you can buy as many or as few months' worth as you like!
Oso Market, 726 SE Grand, three bottles for $45
For my gadget-y chef husband.
Taylor Infrared Thermometer
My husband loves gadgets, especially when he can use them to whip up one of his many brilliant meals (yes, yes, I know I married well). We recently binge-watched the first season of The Mind of a Chef with David Chang and he seemed preeetty interested in Chang's infrared digital thermometer, which he uses to get those temps just right. There are a ton of different models online, but I like the clean look and reasonable price of the Taylor Infrared Thermometer.
Sur la Table, surlatable.com, $70
SENIOR EDITOR ERIK HENRIKSEN'S PERFECT LIST OF PERFECT GIFTS!
For Sarah, who always says she wants to go hiking but never actually goes hiking.
A Northwest Forest Pass and60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Portland by Paul Gerald
Portland's perfect for hiking—an hour's drive in almost any direction (or even a quick bus ride up to Forest Park or down to Tryon Creek) takes you to jaw-dropping vistas and trails ranging from "relaxing jaunt in the woods" to "femur-snapping misery." Paul Gerald's 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Portland is a breezy, accessible guide to some of our best, most varied trails—from just outside Portland, to around the Clackamas River or Mount Hood, to Southwest Washington or toward the coast. Pair it with a Northwest Forest Pass—which grants access to every Oregon and Washington Forest Service site that charges a day fee—and anyone will be set for a full year of tromping around the woods.
Annual Northwest Forest Pass at US Outdoor Store, 219 SW Broadway, $30, 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Portland at Powell's City of Books, 1005 W Burnside, $18.95
For Dirk, who never misses a chance to tell people how much better the Game of Thrones books are than the TV show.
The World of Ice and Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin, Elio M. García Jr., and Linda Antonsson
Every Game of Thrones viewing party has one: an insufferable asshole who never shuts their goddamn mouth about how much better the books are. (At my Game of Thrones viewing party, I'm that insufferable asshole—but I've got nothing on Dirk.) Here's our chance to shut Dirk up: Distract him with the immersive The World of Ice and Fire, which collects original art, detailed maps, family trees, legends that probably only simpering Sansa cares about, and new text to tell "the untold history" of all things Ice and Fire. Even better: It's all based on the books—meaning the illiterate dilettantes who only watch TV will be left out in the cold. Maybe Dirk will let me borrow it when he's done.
Powell's City of Books, 1005 W Burnside, $35
For Bobby, who'll probably eat the petrified sticks of gum inside if I pester him long enough.
Weird Old Trading Cards
While today's asthmatic, spineless children have hobbies like "being coddled" and "listening to lies about how special they are," in my day we had to find meager scraps of comfort wherever we could find them—like in packs of trading cards! While Floating World Comics doesn't have the cards that I spent my childhood hoarding like a creepy freak (Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The Simpsons, and Tim Burton's Batman), they do have boxes and boxes of amazing, still-sealed packs of cards from classics like Alien, Tron, and Akira—plus cards that feature artwork from Moebius, and at least five or six weird foreign packs of cards celebrating bizarre stuff you've never heard of before. Obsessing over cards gave countless children OCD; obsessing over them now is the only way to keep those obsessive-compulsive demons at bay.
Floating World Comics, 400 NW Couch, $1-$3.99 a pack
For Dave, who can't ever see enough movies.
Hollywood Theatre Membership
Portland's got a bunch of great movie theaters—and right up at the top of that list is the nonprofit Hollywood Theatre. Built in 1926, the Hollywood remains the center (and namesake) of Portland's Hollywood District, showcasing mainstream and obscure films (in both digital and 35mm—and soon in 70mm), in addition to hosting live events and providing valuable resources and classes for local filmmakers and children. The basic "friend" level memberships at the Hollywood not only help support the beloved theater and all the good that it does—they also get members discounted tickets and access to members-only events.
Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy, $45 (or $70 for benefits for two)
For me, from you, because it's the least you can do, really, after all I've done for you.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
Accompanied by the wheezing death-rattles of my Xbox 360, I've just about burned my way through Diablo III, a game that's done an admirable job of sating my desire to hack-and-slash every ghoul, carrion bat, and treasure goblin that dares cross my path. But all that button-mashing has made me long for something different—something with dialogue that's story-based, say, with a bit more scope to it. Like Dragon Age: Inquisition, the latest from my favorite developer, BioWare, and an ambitious attempt to perfectly balance story, exploration, and combat. Polygon's rave review called it "a game of extraordinarily rare scope," which only makes me sadder that I'm not playing it right this second instead of typing these stupid words. Oh, and a PlayStation 4 to play it on would be great too. Thanks!
Pioneer Place GameStop, 700 SW 5th, Dragon Age: Inquisition $59.99, PlayStation 4 a bargain at a mere $399.99
MUSIC EDITOR NED LANNAMANN'S PERFECT LIST OF PERFECT GIFTS!
For my baldest friend (he knows who he is).
Jackpot Records Beanie
I am a relatively nice person, in that I don't want my friends to freeze to death. That's why I'm buying my baldest friend, whose dome is extra susceptible to wintry weather, a handsome hat to warm his exposed noggin. Not just any hat, either—dear old Baldy's getting one of the neat new woolen beanies from Jackpot Records, which'll warm the entire skull, whether he's on the city streets or out on the slopes. With six bright colors to choose from (it's a tossup between maroon and canary yellow right now), his new hat will make him look and feel warm and toasty. BONUS: Everyone will assume he shops at a cool Portland record store.
Jackpot Records, 3574 SE Hawthorne, $15
For my record-collecting, IKEA-challenged friend.
Hi Phile Record Cabinet
My friend's got a great record collection, but storing it has always been a problem. Those ubiquitous IKEA Expedit shelves have basically been discontinued, and their new Kallax line is a little too generic. Plus, he's all thumbs when it comes to following Swedish carpentry instructions. That's why the new, locally made Hi Phile cabinet is the perfect gift. It holds up to 600 records—including 7-inches!—in a handsome, appealing way that will allow him to display his rare Skip Spence and Move albums in the neat rack up top. Plus it doesn't require any tools to build, so even my unhandy pal won't have any trouble putting it together. The Hi Phile, made by local musician Tamar Berk (the Pynnacles, Paradise), is already so cool that one's been stationed in Wilco's loft in Chicago. You can get it in black or wood-colored bamboo, and if you live in Portland, Berk will even deliver it to your door—along with a couple of her own records to get you started in filling it up!
Hi Phile Record Cabinet, hi-phile.com, $525-$875
For my friend who hates her roommate.
There are many ways to make beautiful music on god's green earth—be it with fiddle, drum, or fife—and apparently there is also this goofy-looking little pipe thing called an ocarina that makes music like this: "Tooot! Toootootle-tooot doot du-doot tee toooooo!" Most ocarinas look like human organs ripped out of fresh corpses—lumpy, shapeless things with lots of mysterious holes and valves. But STL Ocarina has a shocking variety of ocarinas in all kinds of designs, including a teacup that is also an ocarina. (It's called a "teacarina" and no, I don't know.) Best of all are their Marvel superhero ocarinas, which boast colorful, comic-book designs of your favorites: Spider-Man, Thor, Wolverine, and more. There was only one way to make the ocarina even cooler—looks like these guys figured it out.
For my fashion-challenged brother.
Sure, there's nothing wrong with khaki pants and polo shirts and fleece vests. But let's face it—you can do a lot better. That's why I'm getting my brother one of those classic, gorgeous jackets made by Mesquite. It'll add Pacific Northwest cowboy flair to his otherwise humdrum East Coast suburban existence, and as it's made with unbelievably soft wool and with those handsome suede patches on the shoulders, he's guaranteed to get complimented on it daily. Those classic Western blazers are a somewhat familiar sight in Oregon, but they're rarely spotted in his Northeastern neck of the woods. He'll look simultaneously dapper and casual, instead of like a schlub. Pendleton doesn't make these anymore for some reason, so I'll hop on down to the Portland Outdoor Store, where they've got a rack full of look-alikes by Mesquite, and pick one out. Luckily, we're the same size.
Portland Outdoor Store, 304 SW 3rd, $225-$250
Some Gently Used Books
I got weirdly addicted to library book sales this year after I stumbled into one in Hood River and walked out with a shopping bag full of paperbacks for a dollar. That one was particularly inexpensive, but it turns out these used book sales happen everywhere, almost every weekend, and you can score some great finds for very little scratch. Friends of the Multnomah County Library are holding one at the Central Library downtown December 5 through 7, and this one is specially geared toward holiday shopping, so you can expect a good selection of newer titles in perfectly acceptable condition. (There's no better way to catch up on those bestsellers from two years ago.) Plus they'll have toys, jewelry, and local art for sale, so you can multitask your holiday shopping.
Give Twice Holiday Sale, Central Library, US Bank Room, 801 SW 10th, Fri Dec 5-Sun Dec 7, friends-library.org
COPY CHIEF COURTNEY FERGUSON'S PERFECT LIST OF PERFECT GIFTS!
For my music-loving husband, who probably doesn't like the Afghan Whigs as much as I do, but still this is a pretty awesome present.
The Afghan Whigs on Vinyl
I bopped into Portland's venerable record store Jackpot to do a bit of window shopping for my husband's Christmas present. And what did I see but the recent 21st anniversary remastered reissue of the Afghan Whigs' major label debut, Gentlemen, on vinyl! It's a perfect album. Then in some sort of hyper-speed fugue state, I'd snatched it from the bins, whipped out my credit card, and came to my senses outside in the cold, where I was cradling my purchase, screaming into the night air, "IT'S MINE! ALL MINE!" Okay, so now I can concentrate on shopping for others. I'll buy my husband the Afghan Whigs' 2014 release Do to the Beast on vinyl—itself an excellent addition to the Cincinnati band's catalog. You're welcome, Eric!
Jackpot Records, 3574 SE Hawthorne, $27.99
For my charming mother, who is in need of absolutely nothing.
It's IMPOSSIBLE to shop for my mother. She has everything she needs. You buy her tea; the tea sits in her cupboard for 20 years. You buy her a book; it goes uncracked. You buy her socks; maybe she wears 'em a couple of times to be nice. She's a shrug-inducing enigma wrapped in a shrug-inducing mystery. She does, however, have a fantastic sense of humor, so I'm opting for this Archie McPhee pug mask. She can wear it to Rotary meetings or to scare the neighbors while gardening. And because she's not willing to face the demands of a real dog, this is the perfect canine surrogate. With its floppy, sloppy puppy-dog ears and terrifyingly incompetent countenance, my mother will love the shit out of this pug/gargoyle mask.
Memento PDX, 3707 SE Hawthorne, $35
For my favorite gay friend.
Naked Housecleaning from Cub Cleaners
There's nothing better than watching a naked man vacuum while flexing his bare buns... nothing except having a clean house. A clean house is way better. Okay, maybe I'm not the target demographic for Cub Cleaners and the excellent naked-man cleaning service they provide. Watching superb cleaner Ginger Cub mop my kitchen floor in the buff was novel, but a gay man would appreciate the visuals a lot more than I, which is why I'm gifting a two-hour cleaning session to my bestest gay friend. He's going to enjoy getting his baseboards cleaned, sure, but he's going to love watching a naked boy with a feather duster far, far more.
Cub Cleaners, cubcleaners.com, $80 for a two-hour cleaning session
For my beloved roller derby teammates.
Roller Derby Girl Air Freshener
Dammmmn, girls, you stink. My fellow roller derby teammates are the BEST, but with the best comes the worst smell in all of existence... like Cool Ranch Doritos toe cheese moldering in a fetid locker room. So I'm buying the gals this cherry-scented Archie McPhee air freshener with an adorable roller girl on it. It comes with a string so maybe they can hang it around their necks... or put it in their gear bags. Don't worry, gals, I'll buy a couple for myself. I'm certainly no fresh daisy, either.
Presents of Mind, 3633 SE Hawthorne, $2
For myself (suck it, spirit of giving!).
Twin Peaks Blu-ray
This has-it-all Blu-ray collection of the entire Twin Peaks series (plus the 1992 prequel) has been out since July... and I still don't own it. WTF, WORLD, WTF. So today's the day I give myself a present. I didn't plan for it. I'm just letting it happen. This cherry collection includes 10 discs, Log Lady intros, an hour-long pie-eating sitdown with David Lynch, outtakes, interviews, and the ultimate... 90 minutes of deleted scenes from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. SQUEEEEE. Couple this purchase with the news of a continuation of the series on Showtime in 2016, and this is what dreams are made of.
NEWS EDITOR DENIS C. THERIAULT'S PERFECT LIST OF PERFECT GIFTS!
For that friend who always invites you over for brunch, always cooks scrambled eggs, and always leaves most of the good stuff crusted onto his nicked-up skillet.
Scanpan Pro IQ Nonstick Skillet
Too many hack-ass amateur chefs figure they can get by with a cheap "nonstick" skillet that's actually only "nonstick" for the first few months you own it, at best—and only then if you baby it to an annoying degree. You can't come near the thing with metal utensils (which means no browning and deglazing for making yummy sauces). And you always have to lay down a towel before you stack it in the cupboard (so you don't get scratches!). So spring for something you won't have to replace in a couple of years when all the scrubbing and scouring you were supposed to avoid becomes unbearable. Scanpan's IQ pans aren't sprayed with a nonstick coating. They're actually just made that way. And that means you can toss out your useless silicon spatulas, grab something with an edge, and never have to leave any egg crust behind ever again.
Sur la Table, 1102 NW Couch, $79.96
Pop Culture/Horror Prints by Alex Pardee
Alex Pardee's adorable "Doppleganger" prints—5-by-7-inch takes on action figures and classic monsters and horror movie characters—are impossible to miss if you linger long enough at Upper Playground to buy something. They're splayed across the walls behind the cash register, with obvious characters like Edward Scissorhands, Slimer, and Freddy Krueger staring down at you alongside slightly more obscure villains like Faker and Clawful from Masters of the Universe. Maybe the best thing about them is how much they cost. Each print's just $10 (and only $5 more if you ask them to mount that print in a black Ikea picture frame)—making it super affordable to class up your workspace or living room with cheeky, dark, and poppy art.
Upper Playground, 23 NW 5th, $10-15
For your stepmom, a retired science teacher who needs a convincing reason to stop brewing large pots of sour coffee that she just winds up wasting.
Aerobie AeroPress Coffee Maker
Inventor Alan Adler could have pulled a modern-day John Galt in 1984—deservedly quitting the world of strivers soon after he birthed the Aerobie, a better, faster, cooler version of the Frisbee. Thankfully, he stuck around and got busy remaking yet another modern American staple: the coffee maker. Adler's tubular AeroPress device is a geek's dream. It uses air pressure, tiny paper filters, a rubber stopper, and precisely heated water to make the richest and least acidic espresso shots you'll ever drink—all in less than minute, and totally within the comfort of your own kitchen. Bonus? It's even easier to clean the thing up. The rubber stopper winds up ejecting a perfect puck of coffee grounds, and with a teensy bit of rinsing Ma will be ready for her next cup.
St. Johns Coffee Roasters, 7304 N Leavitt, $31.99
For the out-of-state owners of weekly newspapers in North Carolina and New Mexico, who prefer watching their porn "zipper-down."
Annual Pass at the Paris Theatre
The avuncular, gray-haired man working the booth in Paris' tiny faux-wood-paneled lobby seemed troubled when I explained what I had in mind: giving an annual "membership" pass to a newspaper company that's turning 40, and maybe looking for a little relief. The passes cost as little as $500, according to a sign in the lobby—which is one hell of a deal. "It's a private club membership," the man told me. He wasn't having any of it. "We have to know who we're letting into the club." But I bet it wouldn't take much convincing. He doesn't know who he'd be letting in? Really? Has he never seen those blue news boxes all over town? I also realize "membership" makes the Paris sound exclusive. But don't worry. It's not! Anyone who pays the $10 entry fee gets to be a temporary "member" for the duration of their stay. By selling itself as a club, instead of as a regular porno theater, the Paris makes sure no one gets in trouble for whatever consensual contact might bloom when the stuff on the screen gets a little old.
Paris Theatre, 6 SW 3rd, $500
For the newly arrived Midwesterner on your bus who's never endured a Portland winter.
A Flannel Shirt from Pendleton Woolen Mills
Don't worry if it feels like everyone you see fondling produce at New Seasons is wearing some kind of flannel shirt. Flannel's having some kind of stupid "moment," sure. But it's long been the linchpin of what amounts to a weird Pacific Northwest uniform. And with good reason. In a place where winters are a little cold but A LOT wet, a handsome, woolen flannel shirt (like the kind Pendleton puts out) offers a sensible defense against whatever kind of weather we might be having. It's one more welcome layer on the chilliest days. But when the skies are more benign, it does ample duty as a jacket. The right kind of flannel isn't some trifle. It's a timeless investment you'll always be glad you can grab.
Pendleton, 900 SW 5th, $120