Tag Archives: Apartment Therapy

Guest Post: Christmas Gift Ideas for the Brother In Law | 2009 Edition

This is Wendy and this is what happens when Jordon doesn’t log out of his weblog and leaves me unattended.  Since Jordon handles most of our Christmas shopping, I don’t have to spend as much time thinking about Christmas gifts as Jordon does.  By far the hardest person to shop for on our Christmas list is my brother in law Lee.  Since he is an important part of our family and our Christmas, a great uncle to the boys, and the only family we have, we don’t just go through the motions.  So in honor of Lee, here is a list of Christmas gifts for those that are hard to shop for and my contribution to this site’s Christmas Gift Ideas.

Here is Lee’s profile.

  • He has a PSP Go, PlayStation 3, and a Wii which in some ways gives one some variety in shopping for him for Christmas.
  • He has an apartment that looks like it should be in Apartment Therapy.  It’s almost intimidating buying anything for his apartment.  It’s actually intimidating to hang out in his apartment.  Of course living in an apartment means that he doesn’t have a lot of storage.
  • He drives an Acura sports car that is worth 20 times more than my car.
  • He works hard at Case New Holland in the city which means that he doesn’t have a lot of time for hobbies.

He is Jordon’s brother and an uncle to the boys which means that Lee is an expert shopper himself.  He is also a single male so he does things like single males do, when Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare came out, he bought it that day so I guess it means that we aren’t getting that for him.

Star Wars The Clone Wars: The Complete Season One :: The Clone Wars movie was horrible but the series is actually pretty good.  Like a lot of animated movies, the series seems to be getting better with the second season but Season One of the Clone Wars is pretty good all by itself.

Air Hogs Dualing Helicopters :: Okay let’s do the math.  Remote control + Helicopters + a rather competitive family + the ability to shoot each other down + a big open field at the cabin = a pretty good Christmas gift.

Survive! by Les Stroud :: Since he a) often forgets his cell phone b) often has Mark and Oliver with him, knowledge of some basic survival skills would be quite useful.  If he wasn’t over watching the DVDs here, you could give him all three seasons of Survivorman on DVD.  You can order them from the Les Stroud Productions store.  Season 1 | Season 2 | Season 3.  We have all three DVDs and they are a lot of fun to watch.  You can also order them from Amazon as well.  Season 1 |Season 2 | Season 3.  In case you just want to see how Les Stroud survives in the American wilderness, you can order this DVD as well.

Bushnell BackTrack GPS :: Lee will never get lost again with the easiest to use personal location finder for around $50. Just mark the location and BackTrack will help him get back. He can use it at the mall and stadium parking lots, at the festival, the park, for travel or your next outdoor adventure.  Wired has a quick real world review and it looks like Cabela’s is one of the few places you can get it in Canada.

The War: An Intimate History by Ken Burns.  Jordon read this book this summer and thought it was amazing.  He spend hours reading the book but then went back and just soaked in the photos.  I don’t think there is such a thing as a good war. There are sometimes necessary wars. And I think one might say, “just” wars. I never questioned the necessity of that war. And I still do not question it. It was something that had to be done.  You can also give your favorite in-law the mini series on DVD as well

I can’t see Lee joining the competitive BBQ sub culture but in case he does, here are secrets for success as a professional griller.  Whether it’s chicken, ribs, butts or brisket, this cookbook has recipes, directives, insights and guidance on how to slow cook competition-quality meats. Better than any restaurant, these competition and backyard secrets will have beginning barbeque aficionados slow-cooking masterpieces in no time at all.  Even if he doesn’t turn pro, he will make life better for everyone this summer at the cabin.  There is also Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book: Recipes and Secrets from a Legendary Barbecue Joint.   Winners of the World Championship BBQ Cook-Off for six years in a row and with hundreds of other contest ribbons as well, nobody does barbecue better than Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur, Alabama. Chris Lilly, executive chef of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q and great-grandson-in-law of Big Bob himself, now passes on the family secrets in this quintessential guide to barbecue.

Apple iPod Touch :: I have been pining for one since I started to play around with Jordon’s and it would make a great gift for Lee as well.  While Mr. Rider fan is at it, the first thing he can do is go and download the new Rider App for the iPod Touch.

MEC Camo Shoulder Bag :: Since Lee spends some time with us at the cabin, some cool luggage to toss in the back of the car with his gear and clothes are in order.  While he is travelling, some custom Saskatchewan Roughriders luggage tags might be a cool stocking stuffer.  If you are shopping for someone who does some hiking, don’t overlook the Maxpedition Vulture II backpack.

GPS :: While Jordon is always looking for a trail GPS, I was shocked to see how inexpensive car GPSs have become.

Well the truth is that we are done our Christmas shopping for Lee so my list is all speculation but I thought I would post it to contribute to Jordon’s Christmas Gift Guides and also to help some of you find a fun gift for the hard to shop for in your life.  If you have any thoughts, leave a comment below, e-mail me at wendycooper@gmail.com or check out my weblog.

Christmas Gift Ideas and Gift GuidesIf I missed anything or if my suggestions made you think I was absolutely crazy, let me know in the comments. You can access the current edition and previous years list of Christmas gift guides here.

That’s it?

As I mentioned earlier, the Conservatives are allegedly trying to portray Michael Ignatieff as an elitist because he has a home in France.

Conservative strategists, seeking to exploit Canada’s populist political culture, have tried to portray their top rival as a privileged, Upper Canada College-educated elitist out of touch with ordinary Canadians.

"It’s no big deal" to have a home in Les Martins, she said. "I wish it was!"

The realtor, who recognized Ignatieff because of his BBC documentaries on current affairs and culture while he lived in Britain, wouldn’t venture a guess on the value of the villa.

She said a Les Martins property could cost anywhere from 100,000 euros (about $158,000) to more than one million euros ($1.58 million).

Ignatieff’s sleepy French neighbourhood, 35 kilometres east of Avignon and 75 kilometres north of Aix-en-Provence, is indeed modest by Provence’s standards that have attracted the likes of Elton John, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Ignatieff’s three-bedroom residence, for example, is comparable to the home for maintenance staff at the massive Elton John compound on a hilltop in Villefranche, near Nice.

One of the road entries to the hamlet, which appears on few maps and would be near-impossible to find without a GPS navigation device, has a chunk of wood nailed to a fence with "Les Martins" hand-written with a black marker.

A dirt road, where dogs run loose and a lone rooster breaks the breezy countryside silence, leads to the Liberal leader’s large family property.

Across the dirt road is a field, bone-dry after a typically hot Provence summer, and a few trees. That land, owned through inheritance by Ignatieff and his younger brother Andrew, features an unattractive pile of cement pieces and scrap metal partly covering an old carpet next to a neighbour’s fence.

A blue ceramic sign welcoming guests to "Le Puits" at the entrance gate is broken, adding to the rather unimpressive facade that included an old three-metre stone wall that connects to the yellowish back section of the lengthy villa.

(Before Ignatieff’s late father George bought and started renovating the property in the early 1960s, around the time he was Canada’s ambassador to NATO in Belgium, it had been the hamlet’s local water source, leading to the home’s name. Le Puits means "The Well.")

A peak past the gate, however, hints at an idyllic summertime retreat that the Ignatieffs constructed over many years of building and renovation after the purchase.

If I were the Liberals, I would send over a camcorder and a photographer the next time he was over to his childhood home and have him tell the story of childhood memories, his dad building it, and old friend of the family that saw him grow up there.   I would embrace this story rather than try to make it go away.

This story has been bothering me since I first heard about it.  This isn’t about Michael Ignatieff, this is about a house that his father built while the ambassador to NATO.  I don’t have the back story but I doubt I am over stretching if while posted there, he heard of a sleepy place in France and decided to buy some land there.  Apparently the place only had three walls when he started (although that could be a figure of speech) and he fixed it up quite nice (although still modest from what I can tell).  What’s cool is that he left it to his two boys and their families and what is even cooler is that they still keep it despite the pain of it being a bit a flight and drive to go visit it.

So my question is, is this what happens to any of us if our sons and daughters run for elected office.  Do my architectural tastes and desires reflect on Mark and Oliver and if they decide to keep our cabin at Arlington Beach, do they get attacked for having property in a community which has a family history as well?  Arlington has ties to the Canadian Sunday School Mission and later the Free Methodist Church.  Does that become fair play?

I don’t think this is a big issue but I don’t think the architectural dream of Michael Ignatieff’s father is fair play either.  I’m done ranting now but I still think the Ignatieff’s should do a house tour for Apartment Therapy.

Now on Twitter

The last couple of days  I have been having a running discussion with Karen over at The Hedge Society on Twitter about why Apartment Therapy doesn’t use Twitter.  Several of my favorite design sites all use Twitter and I follow many of them over at The Cooper Cabin.  During our discussion made me realize that I use Twitter to follow friends but a lot of media sites as well.  I follow ESPN, Yahoo! Sports, The Star Phoenix, the New York Times, and CBC Saskatchewan, on Twitter along with other media sites.  Apartment Therapy slags Twitter a couple of times on their sites and maybe Biz and Ev have ugly apartments but whatever the reason, it seems odd that a media site whose bottom line depends on page views, would turn reject a free way to get more page views, retweets, and buzz about their site.

I started to think about how I rely less on RSS and more on Twitter to follow sites and decided to put JordonCooper.com on Twitter.  My personal Twitter account will always been me talking about whatever I am thinking about in 140 characters.  The JordonCooper.com Twitter account will be automated and generated by the RSS feed and content on JordonCooper.com as it is published to the site.  Not quite a media empire but hopefully it will make it a little easier for those of you who are fans of the site and also diehard Twitter users.

This isn’t the only place where we tweet around the house, you can follow the entire household on Twitter