Columnist's Corner

Kiss my ASCII comes clean and just plain admits it: Buy me batteries!

Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking where the holidays are concerned (I tend to limit myself to the traditional "bah, humbug"), words fail me as I welcome you to the geek gift guide.

Holiday shopping for your average geek is simplified by one basic truth: We like stuff. We are a living example of the George Carlin routine about life revolving around stuff. Oh, sure, I know a few nobler members of our kind—in the jungles of Southeast Asia wiring up refugee camps, or crawling on hands and knees setting up computers in inner-city schools—but even those paragons of anti-materialism have the craving for stuff. Running water may be optional, but by God, the PDA (personal digital assistant) is utterly imperative.

Despite the happy holiday possibility of More Stuff Soon, I'm afraid I'm not yet feeling very Christmas-y, or even very Hanukkah-y. On the other hand, by the time you read this I'll be kickin' it at Comdex, as sure an opening to the geek holiday season as the Macy's parade is to the rest of you. After Comdex and the ritual unveiling of the toys we want but can't have yet (it's important to remember the less fortunate at the holidays, and wading through convention centers full of whizzy next-generation toys that won't be shipping till god-knows-when is enough to make any gearhead feel as deprived as the Little Match Girl), we proceed to a bout of e-shopping. The observances are capped off by the traditional sojourn home to kith and kin, where we will spend the festivities in a corner of the family room doing tech support.

But this isn't about us—it's about you, our loved ones, undertaking a pilgrimage to the tech section (assuming you didn't just get lost on the way to the film reviews) for our greater happiness. Bless you all, and remember: When in doubt, extra batteries are the one-size-fits-all sweater of Geek Chic.

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