The media-junkie brother

Film, music and digital gift ideas.

Nobody knows exactly when or how your older bro became such a multimedia-technology whore. But now he’s positively tyrannical about it, cluttering up his life—and, increasingly, yours—with various items of widgety mystery. He’s knocking you black and blue with Blackberry and Bluetooth; nauseating you with public displays of affection for his PDA; making pretentious, nonsensical short “films” with his shockingly expensive DV cam; and name-dropping references to obscure movies and prog-rock concept albums you could have sworn were never cool, even ironically. Obviously he has come to prefer interactions with media to those with people. And he’s taken on the oh-so-charming snotty attitude of all obsessive collectors: compulsively hoarding yet weirdly, impatiently discriminating.

Good luck shopping for this a-hole. Recognize right now that no matter what you get him, he’s going to make you feel like an idiot for ever thinking he’d like it. Whatever it is, there already will be a newer version. Or a cooler one. Or one that his (few) friends won’t laugh at him for having.

What you want to get him:

A date. Or maybe a book.

What you will get him:

Yes, genius, you’ve got to do something for real. And while perpetual renewals of that Wired magazine subscription ( you got him however many years ago seem safely inoffensive, maybe it’s time to at least imply thoughtfulness.

Didn’t he say something about wanting that “hella popular” video game for his Xbox or Wii or whatever the kids are into these days? They’ll be on Halo 15 by the time you narrow it down. And it’s hard to know whether Madden NFL ’08 ($20; Best Buy, 1901 Arden Way; (916) 925-1212; will actually encourage your brother to get out for some real exercise or just seal his couch-potato fate—but, hey, it might be worth a Hail Mary.

Or what about some “collectible” DVDs? Would he be into the new Futurama movie ($26; R5 Records, 2500 16th Street, (916) 441-2500), or the new release of that reputedly classic documentary Hearts of Darkness ($20, R5 Records), about the making of Apocalypse Now?

Tunes-wise, you could shell out for The David Bowie Box, or take your chances on Dig For Fire: A Tribute to Pixies, or issue a challenge with the newly remastered Late Great Daniel Johnston: Discovered Covered two-CD set ($80, $15, and $15, respectively; R5 Records).

He’ll probably still think your choices are obvious and insulting. Whatevs. It’s the thought that counts, right? Just remember that while you’re out actually having the productive social life he can only dream of, he’ll sit alone in his room with the blinds closed and watch or listen to or play with your gifts with unacknowledged gratitude on his souped-up laptop.

Don’t make a scene. Do cover your bases: Stop over-thinking, get a gift card and let him nerd out on lenses at Action Camera (1000 Sunrise Avenue, Suite 4B, Roseville; (916) 786-2288), an SN&R favorite for its knowledgable staff, and awesome camera and equipment selection. Or you can just wait until February, when Blade Runner: The Final Cut comes to the Crest Theatre (, and take your little Philip K. Dickhead to the movies. On the huge screen.