Notes From the Back Row 

Last minute gifts

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Ah, Christmas in Whistler. Are you sick of standing in lines yet? How about waiting for things? Relax, you’re on holiday, time isn’t supposed to matter.

And if you’re not on holiday you’re probably making some pretty decent money working and that’s what Christmas is all about right? Time (with your family) and money (that you wasted buying needless gifts).

In any case, chances are you still haven’t finished your shopping yet so here is the 2006 Last-Minute Christmas-Gifts-That-Everyone-Can-Live-Without-But-Are-Still-Pretty-Cool-To-Have list. Complete with a ‘Pant-Shitting’ grading system to let you know how stoked/surprised your recipient will be.

Number 1: Flavor Country, DVD. Kevin Sansalone and the folks at Sandbox present a walloping good time of a snowboard flick. Production values are up, great tunes, stellar riding featuring plenty of local Shred Hounds showcasing the progression (gotta have that) of snowboarding, and lots of footage of riders doing whacky stuff and having fun, fun, fun. Which is what it is all about, right? If you know someone who likes either snowboarding, snow, Whistler, or fun, you can pick this last-minute doozy up at any respectable shop or online at sandboxland.com. I know, online ordering doesn’t co-exist with “last minute” but it’s a cool site with a good teaser of the vid. Include the fact that snowboarders don’t mind watching the same video over and over to get stoked or smoked (or both) and Flavor Country is a gift that keeps giving all year long. Marks off for bending to the American market and not spelling it “Flavour” like Canadians should. Pant-Shitting Factor – wet fart of pleasure.

Number 2: Village 8 Cinema gift certificates. These babies are perfect. They’re business card-sized so they fit in your wallet and they work — you get into the movie without giving the guy any money. It totally rules, especially if you’re broke in the slow season and want to take a chick out on a cheap date. You spend all your money on a mickey of Fireball then when you pass over the gift certificate you tell her, “Yeah, they give me these for free.” Boom, you’re in. Village 8 is our only place to watch movies and, as such, their gift certificates have real long-lasting value. Drawbacks: look easy to forge; they don’t give them to me for free. Pant Shitting Factor – like a good tropical disease, it creeps up on you.

Number 3: The Vice Guide to Travel , DVD. You know that person on your list that you either really like or totally can’t stand but you want to impress them regardless, if only to finally show them how awesome you truly are? This is the gift for you. VICE Magazine, the coolest mag since Big Brother, has compiled a seven-episode video travelogue of places you absolutely don’t want to travel to. Hunt mutated boars in Chernobyl, site of the world’s worst nuclear meltdown. Shop till you drop in the gun markets of Pakistan, where dudes with no tongues sit in caves and make automatic weapons with their bare hands. How about a weekend stroll through the favelas of Rio? And what vacation would be complete without buying a nuclear warhead in the über-capitalist free markets of Bulgaria? Packaged with a killer 65-page book, it really doesn’t get cooler than this. Order online (viceland.com); it doesn’t matter if it comes late. Pant Shitting factor – Please shower before entering the hot tub.

And that, dear readers, is all you need to bring peace, love, and harmony to your family. Either that or you could go to worldvision.ca and outfit 25 third world children in clothing and shoes for only 30 bucks. Better yet, a live goat, delivered to Africa is only $100. Pant-shitting scale – warm feeling, inside and out. Merry Christmas.

AT VILLAGE 8 Dec. 22-28: Rocky Balboa; Good Sheppard; Charlotte’s Web; Eragon; Night at the Museum; Pursuit of Happiness; Casino Royale; The Holiday; Happy Feet; Blood Diamond.

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