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Get the XXXL Stocking for What I Want

November 30, 2000|Dave Wilson

Well, I've been a very good boy this year. And I'm expecting some pretty cool gifts. That's what the season is all about: gift getting. Gimme, gimme, gimme. I know I'm pretty hard to buy for, so I just thought I'd put together this brief list of stuff I don't have yet but really, really need.

Feel free to swipe any of my great ideas if you're having trouble shopping for that person on your list who has everything.

For instance, there's the large personal luxury submarine from U.S. Submarines Inc. in Vero Beach, Fla. My pick is the top-of-the-line Phoenix 1000, which offers 5,000 square feet (meaning I could easily berth both my apartment and my Tercel inside it) of living quarters within its 213-foot-long hull. It seats a dozen friends, which is a dozen more than I have at the moment, but I figure with this baby I'll have friends out the wazoo.

The Phoenix is capable of making a transatlantic crossing at 16 knots, despite the fact that it displaces 1500 tons. With a life-support system that'll run for 460 hours, this is the perfect place to get away from those thoughtless editors who keep insisting that we do what we're paid to.

And, at $70 million, it's very reasonably priced.

Now, I know some of you are still paying off those student loans, and I certainly don't want to cause anybody any financial strain. So the Explorer 1000, a two-person submersible that starts at $400,000, would be fine. Just make sure you spring for the cup-holder option, Mr. Scrooge.

When I'm not cruising around in my personal luxury submarine, I like to unwind at home. And there could be no better way to unwind than in the Media Mixer, a kind of entertainment center built inside a cement mixer drum. It's 8 feet wide and 12 feet tall, which means I'd have to knock out a door frame to get it inside and punch a hole in the ceiling to get it upright. The drum stands on end, you see. And it rotates. All 3,000 pounds of it.

But what makes this thing different from any other cement mixer drum you have lying around? Well, it's packed with technology: 12 monitors, three satellite dishes, surround sound speakers, DVD, plus--and this makes it all worthwhile--a Sony PlayStation 2. All for the low price of $70,000. You can get this bad boy through Neiman Marcus, or check it out at

It might be the only way you can get your hands on a PS2 this year.

When I'm not bolted into my rotating cement mixer drum, playing video games, it would be nice to play the piano. I can't play the piano, but it would be nice. As a compromise, Yamaha's Disklavier piano series offers a high-tech version of a player piano.

With a full-fledged computer integrated in the system, along with a slew of high-speed servos, sensors and solenoids, this system can faithfully reproduce the work of the world's greatest pianists. Even better, if you could coax one of the world's greatest pianists to play on your Disklavier, the system would record every note in your medium of choice--such as a floppy disk--and perfectly reproduce it later.

The Disklavier also offers what's called "silent drive," which lets you plug in headphones and silence the hammers and strings so the only music you'll hear is produced electronically. This thing even comes with a remote control.

Peter Emerson, a sales representative for Fields Pianos in West L.A., says his store actually stocks the baby grand version of the Disklavier (Yamaha makes a bunch of different kinds of these things). Though Emerson wouldn't talk specifics on the price, he said the baby lists for about $47,000. "They're not stocking stuffers," he said. "But we do sell a fair number of them."

And, of course, as a geek, I'm always looking for new computer gizmos. Let's get retro with this authentic reproduction of an antique stock ticker, which, when connected to the Internet, can print out e-mail, sports scores and even stock quotes.

The stock ticker comes with a hand-blown glass dome and a solid mahogany pedestal. Only 125 are available worldwide, according to the manufacturer's Web site at, which might explain why they want $35,000 for this thing. That makes the stock ticker the most expensive, slowest and noisiest printer you can purchase for your computer.

OK, OK, I know these things are a little on the pricey side. So I'll settle for something a little more reasonable. Like the $4,000 DVD-RAM drive from Panasonic. It lets you burn DVDs just like many computer users today can burn a CD--and all without a computer. The system won't let you copy from anything that's been encoded with anti-piracy technology--such as a commercial DVD containing a Hollywood movie. So it's kind of pointless. But it is expensive. Oh, and don't forget to include a case of recordable DVD blanks when you give this to me. At $35 a pop, I'm certainly not shelling out for them myself.


Dave Wilson is The Times' personal technology columnist.

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