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Christmas

Christmas for us started on the 23rd as we joined our good friends Gloria, Jerry, and Kristy for our traditional Christmas together.  It was a bit different this year because of Gloria’s cancer but it was a fun night of exchanging gifts and hanging out.  We gave some books (as is our tradition) but I gave Gloria a Sound Spa which should help her sleep while the boys gave her a plush blanket.

Because I like to make fun of Kristy, we gave her an Edmonton Oilers Snuggie.  Because most of Kristy’s life is dedicated to a) staying warm and b) the Edmonton Oilers, she liked it.

Christmas Eve had Wendy working all day.  This is the worst schedule she has ever had over a Christmas season and it hasn’t been a lot of fun for us as a family but that is the life of people working retail.  I worked part of the day and then headed home to spend the rest of the day with the boys.  We gave the boys two early gifts of some NHLPA hockey sticks so they could play some road hockey during the day. Of course it was freezing outside so instead of playing hockey, we just taped them up.  While she worked, we packed up the Mazda and headed out to Warman where we spent the evening at  Lee and Brittany’s place for a traditional Christmas supper of lasagna and fighting over who got the lasagna leftovers before opening gifts.

Lee is known to master such phrases as “less talking, more chewing” on Christmas Eve.  While he loves lasagna, he loves presents more.  In the past when Wendy was working, he would spend most of the day badmouthing Wendy and trying to convince Mark to open Christmas presents without his mom.  He takes this whole Christmas gift opening seriously.

Of the delay in eating turned costly when Oliver was playing with Tika (Lee and Brittany’s dog) and fell nose first into the edge of the carpet.  There was crying, rug burn, and blood all over the place.  While Oliver’s new shirt paid a steep cost, all was okay.  It wasn’t as if I didn’t expect blood, I just expected it over the lasagna.

Mark

Santa gave Mark a new HTC Desire C Android Smart phonewhile I got him a Fuji AV150 camera (and tripod).  I had created a Instagram, Foursquare, and upgraded his Flickr to a pro account on Sunday.  We made sure we had batteries, SD (and Micro SD) cards all ready to go.  Now we have to download some apps which will mean some quality time on Google Play today.  I gave him a 1932 Chevrolet Truck scale model to build, Oliver gave him some adventure and Star Wars blueprint books (and some Daytona 500 cologne).  He also got a graphic novel story of Canadians in WWII as well as a book on how to create his own graphic novel

In his stocking he found a new watch, a big bottle of the worst cologne known to man, Brut 33 (Wendy wept tears of pain when I showed her the bottle)  Mark also got some high quality headphones; both on the ear and in ear ones.  The less I have to listen to 90s rock, the better. 

Lee and Brittany gave him a Denver Broncos jersey with his name and number on it.  Thank goodness Tim Tebow was traded before the season started.  He was pretty excited with that.  Almost as excited as Tim Tebow gets about everything.

He also got a Starbucks travel mug and gift card from myself.  It’s a bit self-serving as he wanders down to The Lighthouse and takes me out for coffee.  To keep all of his special memories safe, we gave him a small chest to keep some of life’s momentos.

Oliver

All Oliver wanted was a pogo stick and I found him one from Santa on Amazon.com.  I gave him a toy F-22 Raptor jet.  I would have gotten his a F-35 toy but the price kept increasing until Stephen Harper told me not to get it for him.  Mark gave him a rescue play set, a puzzle from the dogs, an Obi-Wan Kenobi lightsaber, and an Optimus Prime Transformer that talks.  He is getting into hockey to I got him some mini hockey sticks and nets.

Lee and Brittany gave him a tricked out big wheel for Christmas.  I immediately thought of this.

Stewie Griffin's tricked out

What’s scary is that I think Oliver would think that was a good idea.

His favourite gift by far was a Power Ranger that transforms into something else.  He was quite jacked about it.  

Wendy

With the new iPod I gave Wendy for her birthday, I gave her a set of iHome speakers and some perfume.  We got her an electric griddle and skillet (she asked for them), a new popcorn maker (which she was really excited about).  Mark gave her a pink Zepco fishing rod which she was horrified of.  Lucky for Wendy, the fishing is horrible in our part of Last Mountain Lake.  We also got her some high quality over the ear and in-ear headphones.  If nothing else she will be able to tune us out for Christmas.  The dogs gave her some new knives and a kitchen scale.  Not sure where they got the money to get those.

Lee and Brittany gave her a gift card for Dutch Growers which made her day.  She’s out right now waiting for spring to hit.

Lee

I bought Lee a Leatherman Skeletool multitool and case.  Mark got him Red Dead Redemption for the PS3, while Oliver got him a George Reed collector’s edition figurine.  Lee and Mark got into an argument a couple of weeks ago where Mark called his uncle, “Uncle Glitter” which has kind of stuck.  Mark got him some glitter stickers for his new iPhone 5.    “Uncle Glitter” didn’t seem to appreciate his nephew’s gift that much.  

He tried to pull his knife on the Skeletool on Mark for bugging him but he couldn’t get it open.  Once he got it open, he cut himself.  

Wendy put together a great beer can chicken gift set of a roasting pan, rubs from Cabela’s, and a grilling recipe book.  I expect some good beer can chicken this summer.

Because Lee was so insistent on lasagna for supper, we gave him a MRE lasagna and a spork as well.  He can now have lasagna while camping.  I think that was his favourite gift.

Brittany

Brittany was given a nice fountain pen, two journals (one lined and one unlined), and an Indigo gift card.  Because both Lee and Brittany are getting new iPhones, we tossed in some iTunes cards as well.  Holding her Indigo gift card was Cooper the Bear which apparently has been a Sears mascot for years (a fact that I did not know).  It just seemed to work well for us.  Brittany is an english teacher and I just think an English teacher with a fountain pen is more intimidating.  It was either that or do what the NRA is suggesting and that is to give her a firearm.

Wendy gave Brittany a soapstone statue of a couple from Ten Thousand Villages which I really liked.  As much fun as it is to bug Lee, him and Brittany are a wonderful couple.

My Haul

I wasn’t expecting too much but Wendy and the boys did a lot of planning and looking for good deals.  Wendy gave me a trail GPS and a George Reed limited edition action figure, Oliver gave me a Toronto Blue Jays hat, Mark gave me Assasin’s Creed II and Red Dead Redemption.  I also got a Leatherman Skeletool.  To balance out my Tim Tebow action figure from last year, Wendy gave me a Peyton Manning action figure.  Lee and Brittany gave me a remote control helicopter.  It flies and crashes quite well around the house.    Also because I don’t smell enough like David Beckham, I was given some of his cologne.  Not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing.  To replace my old barbecue tools (that are showing some age), Wendy also got me a simple set of three barbecue tools which is all we really use.

The advantage to only periodically playing PS3 games is that I never own the new ones which means that Wendy can find me games for $10-$15 at Wal-Mart and it doesn’t matter since I haven’t played them.  

Perhaps the purchase the surprised me the most is that the boys gave me Neptune’s Inferno which is a book about the naval battles at Guadalcanal

I really had no more success than Lee in using my Leatherman today although no blood was spilled.

The photos can all be found here.

Today is being spent around the house setting up things, doing some reading, and then having a more traditional Christmas dinner.  I had hoped to get get down to work but for the second day in a row, someone has swiped our power cords to the car which is frozen solid in this cold.  We had planned to take a long walk downtown today with Mark’s new camera but as the song says, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”.  Hopefully your Christmas is a good one and you are enjoying the time with family and friends as well.

Christmas Gift Guide for the Outdoorsman | 2012 Edition

In case you are shopping for the great outdoorsman, here are a list of suggestions for those who often prefer to outdoors rather than inside. Check out the other Christmas gift ideas that have been posted this season. More coming soon.

FujiFilm XP50

Fujifilm FinePix XP50 $128 | The FinePix XP50 is outstandingly durable. It’s waterproof to a depth of 5m and can capture both movies and still images underwater. The camera’s casing will withstand shocks or drops from a height of 1.5m, while cold environments are also no problem for this rough and ready device. The FinePix XP50 can withstand temperatures down to -10°C and dust is never a problem, with all the camera’s access points specially sealed for ultimate protection.

Straight from Ned Flander’s Leftorium, the MEC Left Handed Slingpack $21 | Wendy has had a sling pack for years and just about jumped for joy when I told her that there was a left handed version available. She may have actually wept a tear or two. 

Pelican 1050 waterproof case $18.68 | These are great camera/GPS/iPod cases. They are water proof, padded, floatable, and strong enough to take a lot of abuse in the back of your trunk or any backpack. While you may not use it when you head to the park, you will use them when you are packing for a trip and don’t want your iPod, camera, or phone to be crushed. They are pretty much indestructible which means that of all of the things you have to worry about, this isn’t one of them.

Vibram FiveFingers Komodo Sport Shoes $70 – $130 | The typical human foot is an anatomical marvel of evolution with 26 bones, 33 joints, 20 muscles, and hundreds of sensory receptors, tendons and ligaments. Like the rest of the body, to keep our feet healthy, they need to be stimulated and exercised. The Vibram Five Fingers shoes are designed to simulate walking barefoot while protecting your feet like shoes do. If you have any questions, check out the reviews on Amazon.

Leatherman Skeletool CX $80 |  Now you’re ready to lighten your load and boost your survival skills — with Leatherman’s Skeletool. At a mere 5 ounces the new, full-sized multitool keeps weight and volume to a minimum without sacrificing quality and true functionality, and that’s what the Skeletool is all about. Many multitools have multiple options, but they’re often heavier — and they’re loaded with more features than most people actually need on a regular basis. Conversely, pocket knives are light and streamlined, but they render themselves useless when the task calls for a more versatile tool. Enter the new Skeletool platform, offering minimal weight, compact size and endless capabilities. And with the Skeletool’s integrated, removable pocket clip, you can easily clip this tool onto a belt, a pack, or a vest — with no sheath or tote required.

Cammenga Lensatic Compass $88 | This is the Rolls Royce of compasses.  It has been used by U.S. troops, foreign militaries, law enforcement, and special forces for years. A total of seven Tritium light sources provide readability in total darkness for 10 years without external power or the need to “recharge” using a flashlight.

Garmin Edge 500 Cycling GPS

Garmin Edge 500 Cycling GPS $249 |  Sharpen your cycling performance with Edge 500, a lightweight GPS-based cycling computer for performance-driven cyclists. Loaded with data, Edge 500 tracks your distance, speed, location and elevation with high sensitivity GPS. Add an ANT+ compatible heart rate monitor, speed/cadence sensor or compatible power meter for a finely-tuned analysis of your ride.

Jetboil Flash Personal Cooking System $99 | The Jetboil Flash cooking system utilizes the same efficient design as the now classic Personal Cooking System (PCS) but adds the additional convenience feature of an external temperature indicator. Designed to capture and focus heat more efficiently than traditional cooking systems, the Flash brings two cups of water to a boil in only two minutes. The lining also houses a color change window that alerts you to when the contents are hot. A sip-through lid further helps insulate the contents of the cooking cup and prohibits spills. The protective plastic bottom of the cup can be removed for use as a small bowl or measuring device.   

If the Jetboil Personal Cooking System isn’t what you are looking for, check out the MSR Pocket Rocket stove $39 | The PocketRocket backpacking stove from MSR provides full cooking function in an incredibly efficient form. Barely noticeable in your pack, it delivers precision flame control from torch to simmer while the Wind Clip wind shield boosts efficiency in breezy conditions. The PocketRocket stove’s diminutive size is also the foundation of a solid emergency kit for home or trail.

Cabin: Two Brothers, Five Acres and a Dream in Maine by Lou Ureneck $17 |  Confronted with the disappointments and knockdowns that can come in middle age-job loss, the death of his mother, a health scare, a divorce, Lou Ureneck needed a project that would engage the better part of him and put him back in life’s good graces. City-bound for a decade, Lou decided he needed to build a simple post-and-beam cabin in the woods. He bought five acres in the hills of western Maine and asked his younger brother, Paul, to help him.

Double Nest Hammock $65 | The DoubleNest allows room for one, two, three, or however you decide to pack 400lbs. The DoubleNest seats more than one person comfortably and is essential for family adventures. The DoubleNest still packs down to the size of a grapefruit, so there is no excuse to be without your ENO hammock.

Outdoor Coffee Press $40 |  Now there is no reason to bring that horrible tasting Starbucks Via coffee with you when you go camping or hiking.  Instead bring some fresh ground coffee or loose leaf tea with you and make some excellent coffee when ever you want with this outdoor coffee press.  Of course you won’t bring a bean grinder with you on most trips but it gives you an idea of what it takes to make a good cup of coffee while on the road.  Of course you need something to drink it from.  You may want to check out some excellent stainless steel coffee mugs/beer mugs to drink from.

Zippo Hand Warmer $20 | The Zippo Hand Warmer is a rugged, metal hand warmer with a high-polish finish and a sleek, thin design so it easily fits into your pocket. The hand warmer is virtually odorless (great for hunters) and stays warm for up to 12 hours. Plus, it’s reusable with Zippo lighter fluid and includes a convenient filler cup and warming bag. Whether you’re skiing, tailgating at the game, hunting, sledding, or enjoying any other cold-weather activity, keep a Zippo Hand Warmer in your pocket and keep your fingers toasty warm.

Garmin GPS

Garmin eTrex 20 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator $168 | Garmin’s eTrex GPS series offers reliable satellite navigation, making it a favorite of hikers, hunters, and geocachers. The eTrex 20 is equipped with a high-sensitivity GPS receiver, a 2.2-inch color display, and ships with a worldwide basemap with relief. Add a wide array of detailed topographic, marine, and road maps, and start mapping out your next adventure.

Hennessy Hammock Expedition A-sym $143 | Next generation of Hennessy Hammock’s most popular model with all the key features including full velcro entrance seal, mesh pocket on ridgeline and webbing straps to protect the bark of trees.  The rain-fly is polyurethane coated polyester ripstop or silicone impregnated nylon and may be tilted to any angle, rolled up above, removed or used separately. The No-See-Um mesh and hammocks fabric will deflect wind to provide a calm space inside. Large area of No-See-Um netting to provide ventilation and keep insects outside the hammock. When properly sealed, the entrance design also makes sure no bugs get into your hammock.  All of this means that you can sleep almost anywhere.

The Black Diamond Orbit Lantern $25 | Designed for ounce-conscious backpackers and climbers, the Black Diamond Orbit lantern packs 45 lumens of bright, non-glaring light in an ultra-portable package. A DoublePower LED (1-watt) works with Black Diamond’s dual reflector system and frosted globe to illuminate everything from tent-bound reading to pre-dawn racking. A collapsible, double-hook hang loop attaches to tent ceilings and tree branches alike.  Mark and I both have one and they are simply amazing.  They are highly rated on REI, MEC, and Amazon.com and are loved by all that use them.  Whether you are a camper, hiker, or even a family who needs a safety light in the car, these are a must have.

Filzer UFO Light $8 | Alert vehicles and help keep track of your dog at night. The UFO light is designed specifically for runners, hikers and dogs. The light easily attaches to 1″ webbing, dog collars, clothing, etc… with a small carabineer. Five red LEDs put out highly visible red light in three modes – steady, flash and rotate. Its waterproof design makes it ideal for any weather.

Christmas Gift Guides and Ideas

If I missed anything or if my suggestion 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.

2010 Christmas Gift Guide for the Outdoorsman

In case you are shopping for the great outdoorsman, here are a list of suggestions for those who often prefer to outdoors rather than inside.   Check out the other 2010 Christmas gift ideas that have been posted this season.  More coming soon.

Fujifilm FinePix XP10 | The FinePix XP10 is a four-proof digital cameras – waterproof, freezeproof, shockproof and dustproof. Resulting from a redesign of Fujifilm’s best-selling FinePix Z33WP, the FinePix XP10 is an ergonomically “life proof” camera housed in a metal uni-body chassis with a tactile grip finish.  The details: 12MP, Fujinon 5x Periscopic Optical Zoom, 2.7″ LCD, waterproof – 10ft (3M), shockproof – 3ft (1M) and freezeproof 14*F (-10*C). Other features include: Face Detection w/ Red Eye Removal, Digital Image Stabilization, High Sensitivity 1600 ISO, 6 Scene – SR Auto Automatic Scene Recognition, One-Touch HD Movie 720p w/ Sound, Li-Ion Rechargeable Battery.  It all adds up to one of the best compact cameras that have come along for years.  $142 from Amazon

Speaking of cameras, if you are looking to shoot more video then pictures, check out the waterproof and ruggedized Kodak Playsport | It works underwater with the waterproof digital video camera capable of shooting 1080p HD video up to 10 ft. (3 m) under water.

  • Go anywhere—rugged design enables full 1080p HD video recording in just about any environment.
  • Start bragging with 5 MP, 16:9 widescreen HD still pictures.

$114 from Amazon.

Straight from Ned Flander’s Leftorium, the MEC Left Handed SlingpackWendy has had a slingpack for years and just about jumped for joy when I told her that there was a left handed version available.  She may have actually wept a tear or two. $21 from MEC

Pelican 1050 waterproof case :: These are great camera/GPS/iPod cases.  They are water proof, padded, floatable, and strong enough to take a lot of abuse in the back of your trunk or any backpack.  While you may not use it when you head to the park, you will use them when you are packing for a trip and don’t want your iPod, camera, or phone to be crushed.  They are pretty much indestructible which means that of all of the things you have to worry about, this isn’t one of them.

Check out the Filzer dZ2L Cycling Computer for a easy-to-read display shows two lines of data at the same time, so you can monitor your critical information at a glance.  It has a speedometer, tripometer (trip distance), auto trip timer, speed comparator (to indicate current pace relative to average speed), speed tendency (indicates acceleration and deceleration), and odometer.  It comes with a wiring harness and oversized handlebar mount.  $15 at MEC or $49.99 at Amazon.

Vibram FiveFingers Shoes | The typical human foot is an anatomical marvel of evolution with 26 bones, 33 joints, 20 muscles, and hundreds of sensory receptors, tendons and ligaments. Like the rest of the body, to keep our feet healthy, they need to be stimulated and exercised.  The Vibram Five Fingers shoes are designed to simulate walking barefoot while protecting your feet like shoes do.  If you have any questions, check out the reviews on MEC$85 from MEC

Leatherman Wave Multitool with Leather Sheath :: The most popular full-size Leatherman tool has been upgraded with larger knives, stronger pliers, longer wire cutters and all-locking blades. The pliers have been redesigned to withstand more than double the previous squeezing load.  $57.99 from Amazon.  For about $20, you can get a Leatherman Kick.

All three seasons of Survivorman on DVD.  You can order them from the Les Stroud Productions storeSeason 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.

Not only is Mark a big fan of the show but Wendy has become quite a fan as well, which around here is the entire television viewing family.

If you going outside, go out in comfort with Reebok’s ZigTech shoes.  ZigTech, one-of-a-kind zig-zag-shaped sole, absorbs the impact of heel strike and propels you forward, while reducing wear and tear up to 20% in key leg muscles.  Like the commercial says, it’s like an energy drink for your feet.  A friend of mine recently said that this is the biggest step forward since the original Nike cross trainers. $99-$109 from Amazon

Garmin Forerunner 305 Waterproof Running GPS With Heart Rate Monitor | Weighing in at just over 2.5 ounces, the Garmin Forerunner 305 breaks new ground in terms of comfort, style, and performance. The 305’s easy-to-read, 1.3-inch display has been integrated into a slimmer form factor.  For additional post-workout analysis, the 305 is compatible with MotionBased software, a web-based application that has partnered with Garmin. MotionBased provides in-depth analysis of your workouts, as well as online mapping and route sharing that will take your training to the next level. MotionBased automatically calculates time, distance, speed, elevation, and heart rate, and it displays this information through charts, illustrations, reports, and maps. With MotionBased, you can also race multiple instances of the same route to see how you are improving or to race other members of MotionBased. You can “virtually race” someone you don’t even know.  $139 from Amazon. If you aren’t interested in a heart monitor, check out the Garmin Forerunner 205$122 from Amazon.  For $223, you can get the Garmin Forerunner 405 which offers both great technology and a slimmer design.

In case you want to take some photos while you are out in the wild, you will want a Camera Pod.  I recently ordered one and have come to love it.  Despite being made in Canada, Amazon.com won’t ship them here and so you can order them from Les Stroud Productions or get them from The Pod.ca.  If you are in the United States, you can get them from Amazon.com.  You may also be interested in this Pedco Lightweight Camera Tripod.

Bushnell BackTrack GPS | The Bushnell Backtrack- Never Get Lost Again with the easiest to use personal location finder for around $50. Just mark the location and BackTrack will help you get back. 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.  Wendy, Mark, and Oliver gave me one for my birthday and we have used it several times while out for hikes at the lake.  While it won’t show you the best route from point a to point b, it will give you the piece of mind that you will get back home safely and there is a lot of value in that.  The other thing is that it doesn’t replace trailblazing, map reading, and orienteering.

Jetboil Flash Personal Cooking System | The Jetboil Flash cooking system utilizes the same efficient design as the now classic Personal Cooking System (PCS) but adds the additional convenience feature of an external temperature indicator. Designed to capture and focus heat more efficiently than traditional cooking systems, the Flash brings two cups of water to a boil in only two minutes. The lining also houses a color change window that alerts you to when the contents are hot. A sip-through lid further helps insulate the contents of the cooking cup and prohibits spills. The protective plastic bottom of the cup can be removed for use as a small bowl or measuring device.

If you can find what you are looking for, make sure you check out one of the other 2010 Christmas Gift Guides

In case you are looking, here are the 2009 Gift Guides

Christmas Gift Ideas and Gift GuidesIf I missed anything or if my suggestion 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.

Remembering a simpler time

I am getting stuff ready for a quick trip to Chicago in eleven days and am getting all of the stuff ready that make the trip easy.  Over the years I have become a lot better packing my carry on which makes a big difference but here is what I carry on trips now.

In my carry-on (a Swiss Army messenger/laptop bag)

  • iPod Touch loaded with music and a couple of podcasts :: I also have LED Football and Air Hockey installed on it.  The Air Hockey is for Mark and I while we are waiting but it has a one person game as well. I just sits in my shirt pocket and doesn’t actually make it’s way into the carry on.
  • PSP with three or four games ::  I’ll bring Ghost Recon 2, Madden 07, and Medal of Honor Heroes 2 along.  The memory card is full of YouTube videos that Mark helps pick out.  Mostly videos from TED.   I just hope that the cluster bomb guy doesn’t sit beside me. 
  • Noise canceling headphones ::  Wendy bought a cheap pair for me a couple of years ago and they work amazing while flying.  It makes flying a calming and relaxing experience no matter where I am on the plane.  Best $30 that we have ever spent.  Since I am on a plane, I fit in rather than look like a geek.  Thanks for Bose for making me look cool while flying even if I am using cheap knock offs.
  • A magazine or a book ::  I generally bring a sports magazine and a book of history along on a trip.  I am one that enjoys the Airline magazines as well. 
  • My Fujifilm J10 camera ::  I enjoy airport photography, what can I say?
  • My Dell laptop (power supply goes in the checked luggage) ::  I don’t actually pull it out but I hate to check it after seeing luggage dropped off carts, off loading belts, and run over by trucks on the tarmac.  My body frame, economy seats, laptops, and trays do not go together well.
  • 1 litre of Aquafina water ::  I used to drink coffee while flying which used to dehydrate me even more.  Now it is just water.
  • Business cards ::  In case the person beside me is interesting enough to chat with again, it’s always good to have some cards in the case. Of course the best flights are when no one is beside me and I can stretch out.  The second best flights are when they don’t want to talk to me either.
  • Passport :: I had this around the neck thing for when I went to Bahamas but it was awfully uncomfortable.  I’ll keep it secure in my carry-on this time.
  • A pen and small journal :: You have no idea how many times I have flown into Canada or the U.S. without a pen to fill out customs declarations.  If I keep it up, I may be put on the secretive “Annoying to Fly With List”.

In my checked luggage

  • My Skullcandy headphones
  • Webcam and mic for Skype ::  While Oliver won’t care that much, Mark loves to e-mail and chat via Skype when I am gone.
  • Small tripod ::  I won’t have a lot of free time in Chicago and if I get out, it would be at night so I figure that I would take a small tripod along and take some night shots of the Windy City.
  • Black and Decker Power Boost ::  It’s a battery for USB powered devices.  I saw it a while ago in XS Cargo and it was cheap enough to pick up even if it was junk.  It was originally bought to recharge iPods at the cabin (as it works like a powered USB hub) but is great to keep me going if we miss a flight or are delayed and I can find a WiFi connection.
  • MoviePix HD
  • Extra batteries and SD cards
  • My business card case with about 50 cards in it.

If I am lucky, I will have enough room for my clothes.  What do you take a long with you on trips?

Digital Camera Advice

Wendy wanted to get me a camera for Christmas.  She started to second guess what kind to get and decided to get my input on it.  We have looked around a lot and are torn between a Fujifilm s2000HD camera.  It is an extended zoom camera with a 15 times zoom.  I have had a Dimage Z10 for several years and I loved it.  The Fujifilm s2000HD would be an improved version of it with ten megapixels instead of 3.2 and a longer zoom.

The other option is to get a Olympus Evolt E-410 DSLR with two lenses.  It is more money but it is an awfully afforable DLSR.  Of course I would then have to learn how to shoot with a DSLR.

My question is that I take a lot of landscape shots and just casual shots around the house.  I also take a point and shoot Kodak with me a lot of the time.  You can take a look at my account on Flickr to see what I tend to shoot if you need some context.

Which camera do you think I should get?  Should Olympus’s 3/4 lense mount worry me (it is “open source” now) or should I lean towards a Nikon or Canon?  For you DSLR people out there, do you carry yours around a lot or do you find that you carry a point and shoot?  How long did it take you to become comfortable shooting with your DSLR?

Let me know in the comments.