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Nintendo Wii

When Your Nintendo Wii Won’t Turn On

Mark went to turn on the Wii today and it was a brick.  Instead of panicking, I found this FAQ from Nintendo and it came back to life.

    Most power issues with the Wii can be fixed by resetting the AC adapter. You can easily reset the AC adapter by following these steps:

    1. Unplug the Wii AC adapter at both ends (from the back of the Wii system and from the wall outlet or power strip).

    2. The AC adapter must remain unplugged at both ends for a full 2 minutes.
    3. We also recommend you unplug anything connected to the USB ports and the Nintendo GameCube Controller ports (such as LAN Adapters, keyboards, Nintendo GameCube controllers, etc.).
    4. While you’re waiting, check the AC Adapter for the following:
      • Make sure that the word "Wii" and the model number "RVL-002 (USA)" molded into the AC adapter. Unlicensed products are not fully compatible and may not work correctly.
      • Check the AC Adapter for physical damage. Physical damage, such as frayed wiring or a cracked housing can cause the system to shut down. If your AC Adapter shows signs of physical damage and needs to be replaced, you can purchase one from Nintendo’s online store.
    5. After you’ve waited 2 minutes, plug the AC adapter into the Wii system and directly into a wall outlet, not a surge protector or power strip. If the power light comes on and stays on, then it appears resetting the AC Adapter worked.

      If resetting the AC Adapter did not fix your power issues, please continue reading:

      • Avoid the use of unlicensed products such as memory cards, controllers, and cheat devices. Some of these products are poorly manufactured and may result in damage to your system. If one of these products is attached to your system, remove it and try resetting the AC Adapter (see above).
      • Check any accessories that connect to the Nintendo GameCube Controller ports or the USB ports of the Wii — whether licensed or not — for physical damage. Physical damage, such as frayed wiring or a cracked housing can cause the system to shut down. Remove any damaged products and try resetting the AC Adapter again (see above).
      • Make sure the Wii has good ventilation. Avoid operating the Wii while it’s on carpeting or inside an enclosed space. If you have the Wii placed in a vertical position, make sure the vent on the bottom is lined up properly with the hole in the plastic stand and no foreign material is obstructing that hole.
      • Check the vents on the back and side of the Wii for dust build up. The system will shut down if it cannot vent properly to prevent overheating. If there is a build-up, remove it using a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment.
      • Make sure that your wall outlet works. To check it, try plugging a lamp into the same outlet where your system was plugged in. Turn the lamp on the verify the outlet works. Also, make sure you are not using an outlet that is operated from a wall switch. If you do, make sure the wall switch is in the ON position.
      • Make sure the AC adapter is attached properly. Firmly plug your AC adapter into the back of the Wii (the port is labeled 12V IN) and into a working wall outlet (not a power strip or surge protector). Click here for detailed instructions.
      • Once plugged in, check the power light on the Power button to see if the system is receiving power.

    If the power is still continually shutting off regularly, please click here for repair options. For this particular symptom, it is best to include your Wii console’s AC Adapter with your system. This will help our technicians ensure they are able to resolve your issue.

I posted it here as I had a huge problem finding it via Google and several game boards I found linked to a dead URL.

Christmas Gifts Guide: Gift Ideas For Your Wife / Girlfriend & the other women in your life | 2010 Edition

Shopping for Wendy has always been hard.  She never gives me any ideas and the ideas that she does give me are things that two days later she no longer wants.    For all of you who are married or dating someone who is hard to shop for, here is the list of Christmas gift suggestions for your wife or girlfriend.  You can thank me later.

Amazon’s Kindle | If your wife/girlfriend/mom is an avid reader, how about getting her a Kindle?  If you are undecided on whether or not you should be leaving paper for e-ink, check out this balanced review from a diehard book lover who fell in love with his Kindle.  The new version is smaller, lighter, has Wifi and a higher contrast screen.  One of the reasons it’s such a great gift is that your loved one doesn’t have to have it with them to still benefit from owning it.  Amazon has readers for the iPad, iPhone, Android devices, Blackberry, WinPhone 7, Windows, and OS X. The killer feature here is Amazon’s multi-platform support.  You can start a book on your Kindle, pick up a couple of pages here and there on your phone, and sneak a couple more pages on your desktop computer on coffee break.  It even keeps track of what page you are on (across different machines and platforms).  The best book is the one that’s always with you.  It’s available at Amazon.com for $139.00.

Bose Wave Music System :: The famous Wave music system still sets the standard for quality audio and ease of use among one-piece, table top stereos. Its award-winning design adds a touch of distinction to almost any room. No wonder so many people use it as their main home entertainment system.  Numerous reviews speak of the Bose Wave’s clarity and amazing room filling sound.  If you are looking for the best all in one unit, this is the one you are looking for.  If you are thinking of adding the CD changer, you may want to check out the numerous negative reviews on Amazon.com before picking one up.   You can pick up the Bose Wave Music System at Amazon for $495.

Another interpretation of the all in one is the Cambridge Soundworks Radio 765i | As one Amazon reviewer described it…

Got rid of a DVD player, a VHS player (time to completely dump the format, at least for us), and an iPod speaker “donut” thing. Plugged in everything, connecting to our tube TV, & was very simple. Did a lot to make the whole area look much neater. Put in a Lion King DVD and was amazed at the sound (DVD sound is through the Soundworks, not the TV). You know in the movie theatre, when that THX Dolby piece comes up, the one that almost scares you by trying to stretch your ear muscles with high pitched and super-bass “strings”? It sounded JUST like it does in the theatre. My wife rushed in from the kitchen asking, “WHAT was that?”.  My daughter then played one of her Star Trek TNG DVDs and for the first time, we could hear the sub-woofer “whoosh” when the Enterprise goes by on the screen — never heard any of this before.

Find it at Amazon for $285.

Saddleback Leather Messenger Bag | While Wendy is a tomboy and hates most purses, she still needs to carry things with her.  The Saddleback Leather Messenger company has a bag that allows her to keep herself organized and allows her to keep both her tomboy and hipster potentials intact.  It comes with a 100 year warranty, made out of 100% Thick full grain boot leather, has no breakable parts, e.g. zippers, snaps etc. and converts quickly into a backpack.  It may be the perfect bag.  $347 from Saddleback Leather

While Wendy looks amazing, living in Saskatchewan can be a challenge.  Philosophy’s Hope in a Jar skin care products have a cult following and will help hydrate skin in even the driest climates.  This air-whipped, therapeutic moisturizer has been described by Philosophy founder Cristina Carlino as, “like pouring a glass of water into my skin.  That sounds unhealthy to me but apparently that is a good thing.

HP Mini 210 Netbook | It does a good job of running Windows 7 Basic, the HP Mini 210 lets you surf the web, stay connected, and be entertained wherever you go.  Take just what you need And leave the rest on your primary PC. At less than one inch thin and starting at just 2.69 pounds,  It comes with a 16:9 10.1″ diagonal BrightView Infinity display and nearly full-size keyboard.  $307 and available at Amazon or for $359 at Future Shop.

iPod Shuffle | It has 2 GB capacity for about 500 songs and you can play up to 15 hours on a single charge.  With a press of the VoiceOver button, you can hear the song’s title and artist, playlist menu, or battery status.  You can get one at Amazon for $50.

Sennheiser CX300-B In-Ear Stereo Headphone | While the iPod comes with Apple’s iconic headphones, you really will want to upgrade those to something with better sound quality and that feels better in your ears.  While not their top of the line headphones, they are a big upgrade over both the Apple headphones and most other in-ear headphones.  $25 and available at Amazon.

Belkin Dock with USB Wall Charger for iPod | If you have a stereo that you really like and don’t want to replace it with a Bose Wave or another stereo system, add an iPod dock to your system that allows easy playing of your music while charging it at the same time.  We have one at the cabin plugged into a compact stereo and it works great and makes sure all of our iPod’s are charged up for the drive home.

Wendy and I have been married for 13 years and I still hate buying things for the house without her feedback.  Despite that, I am going to go out on a limb and recommend the KNUBBIG lamp from IKEA.  It gives a room a soft mood light and since each is mouth blown glass; each lamp is unique. $18.99


Tetris Party for Nintendo DS
| I bought Wendy a Nintendo DS last year and she really enjoyed it.  Of course the definitive Nintendo game (going back to the Nintendo Gameboy) is probably Tetris and it will give your loved one something to do when you have parked yourself in front of NFL Redzone.

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks | This game was suggested to me by several people who grew up playing Legend of Zelda and love the latest incarnation for the Nintendo DS.  It is an action/adventure game for the Nintendo DS and DSi that sets Link, the iconic hero of the Legend of Zelda series, on a daring new adventure. The game provides players with a new story, more puzzles, a new mode of transportation–by train–and a new companion in combat, the Phantom. Together these offer up new possibilities for problem-solving, adventure and fun to both long time and new fans of the franchise alike.

Brain Age and Brain Age 2 for the Nintendo DS | These two games were given to Wendy for her birthday and Christmas last year and she been frustrated by them all year.  Brain Age acts like a treadmill for the mind and helps you flex your mental muscles with quick activities that help keep your brain in shape. Brain Age is inspired by the research of Dr. Ryuta Kawashima, a prominent Japanese neuroscientist. His studies evaluated the impact of performing certain reading and mathematic exercises to help stimulate the brain.

Apple iPod Touch | I gave a 3G iPod Touch to Wendy last year for her birthday and she loved it.  While it was a great iPod Touch, the new version is even better. See friends while you talk to them with FaceTime. Shoot, edit, and share stunning HD video. Play games against friends, or unknown foes, with the new Game Center. And do it all on the Retina display–the highest-resolution screen on any mobile device. Available at Amazon.com for $223.

Samsung Link | Wendy has a horrible record with cell phones.  She leave it turned off, forgets to charge it, never takes it with her.  In other words I was playing for a pretty much useless cell phone.  After losing her cell phone this summer, I went out and bought her a Samsung Link/Samsung Freeform and she started to carry it with her, had it turned on, and used it all of the time.  The QWERTY keyboard makes it really easy to text and the 1.3 megapixel camera is fun to have along and grab photos of the boys or just take some photos while up at the lake.

Saskatchewan Roughriders Ladies Jersey | You can personalize the jersey with your choice of name and number. Using laser cut name and numbers system  the Riders can customize the jersey you’ve been wanting. This system is used in several NFL, NHL and MBL stadiums. Same fonts and colors used by the team. Includes name on back and numbers on front, back and sleeves. $149.99 and available at The Rider Store

Kodak EasyShare C180 10.2MP Digital Camera with 3x Optical Zoom and 2.4 inch LCD |  Chronicle your life with great pictures and videos you can easily upload online. The camera even locates faces automatically so you can focus on more important things — getting that smile. Plus, you can even take stunning HD formatted photos and view it on your HDTV.  $99 from Amazon.com or $59 from XS Cargo.

Holga Bent Corners 35mm Camera | If who you are shopping for is a photography fan, go old school and get her a modern Holga 35mm flash-less camera that takes the same vibrant-colored, dreamy high-contrast photos as the original, medium-format 120mm Holga – with totally dramatic vignetting and the ease of 35mm film that can be processed anywhere (the film size also means fully panoramic shots). Two shutter and aperture settings; uncoupled film advance and shutter (for multiple exposures in one frame!);manual zone focus with four distance settings.  Get it at Urban Outfitters for $48.

Magno Cube Wooden Radio | Hand-crafted in an Indonesian farming village, the Magno Cube is a 4 band FM/AM/SW1/SW2 radio receiver with a highly appealing mix of retro and modern styling.  Each wooden radio is made through an environmentally sustainable production process, which covers fair social standards for workers. The profits from the sale of the radios to the Design Museum Shop support the development of a plantation surrounding the production facility, including the ongoing education of 30 young people in handicraft and work skills. Only new growth plantation wood is used and for every tree that is used in production, a new one is planted. MP3 compatible. Each radio arrives with a wooden connecting cable to connect iPods and mp3 players directly to the radio, so it can be used as a speaker. £175.00 from Design Museum Shop.

Swiss Army Perfume for Her | As the Victorinox website puts it.

This fresh, floral and dazzling fragrance is for the active, contemporary women. She seeks stylishly natural, clean scent to carry her through the day. This unique blend of Lilly of the Valley, Peony and fizzy Ginger surrounds you in all of the glory of nature. It is the fragrance for the modern, spontaneous women with natural class.

Ork Posters | If you or the target of your affections lives in Toronto, Vancouver, Boston, BrooklynLos Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and Seattle among others.  They are $22 a poster which makes them a pretty cool value.  Of course they don’t have one of either Brandon, Manitoba or Georgetown, Guyana which makes them pretty much useless for Wendy but maybe you will have some better luck.

If the person that you are shopping for is starting to take a look into the world of DSLRs and has outgrown her existing camera, check out Sony’s a320 camera.  It’s an entry level DSLR and is only $349 from Future Shop.  It’s Sony’s smallest and lightest Alpha DSLR camera.  It features a 10.2MP sensor, a large 2.7″ Clear Photo LCD, built-in SteadyShot inside image stabilization, and Creative Style settings that let you bring your shooting to the next level. This kit includes a versatile 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM zoom lens.  $349 from Future Shop.

I hesitate to post this because for the life of me I can’t see why one would need one but Wendy loves it.  It’s a Sunbeam Tea Drop Hot Tea Maker which accommodates both bagged and loose tea.   $58.95 from Amazon.  While it doesn’t steep the tea, it does give you a fair amount of control over the strength of tea.   If you are looking for a tea maker that does steep the tea, check out the Adagio Teas Electric 32-Ounce Tea Maker.  This maker does it all – heats water, steeps leaves, and keeps tea warm so you may enjoy it all day long. Variable timer and temperature control lets you adjust the strength of an infusion, ensuring a perfect cup of tea each time. Works well with all tea varieties.


Wenger® Women’s Battalion II Diver Swiss Watch
| Stylish enough for everyday professional wear, the Wenger Battalion II Diver stainless steel women’s watch is also rugged enough for extreme snow sports and scuba diving–thanks to its water resistance to 200 meters (660 feet). The mid-sized, round silver watch case is topped by a blue-plated unidirectional rotating bezel with elapsed time markings and a luminous marker at the zero position. The shimmery royal blue dial face is complemented by luminous markers and hands (with red seconds hand), small minute indexes around the outer edge, and a date window between 4 and 5 o’clock. Other features include a handsome triple-link stainless steel bracelet, knurled screw-down crown, classic Swiss Army insignia at 12 o’clock, a scratch-resistant mineral crystal, and precise Swiss quartz movement. $76 from Amazon

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.

Christmas Gift Guide: Gift Ideas for your Tween Boy | 2010 Edition

Mark is now ten which makes him officially impossible to buy Christmas gifts for.  He is too old for kids stuff and too young for adult things.  We have tossed around hundreds of ideas for Mark and here are a bunch of ideas that we thought could make your Christmas shopping a little easier this year.

I don’t know what is the right age to get your son a cell phone is.  If you think this is the year, check out this Samsung m330 through Virgin Mobile.  Virgin has a $10/month plan that offers 100 anytime minutes and for $5 more, you can get 100 texts.  It has a camera phone, takes videos and is small enough to slip into their pocket.  A tip from a friend of mine: To keep your kids from burning through their minutes, he made it mandatory that their phone was active if they wanted to go out.   With that rule, they rationed their minutes like it was a precious commodity.  $60-$70 (with no contract) at Best Buy / Future Shop / Virgin Mobile / Walmart.

A lot of gift guides this year will be touting a PS3, a XBox 360, a PSP, or a Wii and for good reason.  There are a lot of really good games out there for all of those systems.  They don’t get the same kind of attention but have you thought about giving a H0 Scale train set or a slot track race track.

Bachmann Trains Santa Fe Flyer Ready-to-Run H0 Scale Train Set | The Santa Fe railroad was famous for hauling freight across the deserts, mountains, and cities of the American landscape is the Santa Fe Flyer. Powered by a Santa Fe EMD FT diesel locomotive with its distinctive war bonnet paint scheme, this powerful train handled the ever-changing terrain of the Southwest United States.  The advantage of any train set that is H0 scale is that you can add more cars, engines, and track over time as you can afford it.  It makes a great gift now and for the future.  $50 from Amazon.

While we are talking about H0 scale trains, Model Power has a starter set (power unit, 36” circle of track, and four cars) for about $50.  The enjoyable part about a H0 scale train set is that there are thousands of accessories and different pieces that can be added for years to come.

If your kid is a reader (and even if he isn’t), you will want to check out the stories of Obi-Wan Kenobi / Darth Vader / Luke Skywalker by Ryder Windham.  With most boys being Star Wars fan (and who isn’t), you may want to check out these biographies of some of the main characters in the Star Wars saga.  While you are looking at books, don’t forget the classics.  I bought Mark a copy of The Hobbit this summer and he was enthralled by such an old school book.  Don’t forget  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  In other words there were great books before J.K. Rowling invented Harry Potter.

Go Amp Gaming Amplifier | If the target of your affections is a gamer, here is a fun addition to his Sony PSP or Nintendo DS and is a good way to get some better sound out of your portable gaming system.  It’s a small portable amp that plugs into the headphone jack on your portable game system and does a good job of increasing the volume of any game system.  Since First Act knows it’s target audience is hard on batteries, it turns on & off automatically when headphone jack inserted or removed.  $3 at XS Cargo of you can purchase at $40 from Amazon.

Polaroid a200 Digital Camera | This camera is an entry level camera for first time photographers.  For years I have passed down my digital cameras to Mark and what I found is that he never used the zoom or any of the other advanced features.  That being said, neither did I which is why my Kodak point and click with it’s 110 film was so much fun.  It personified point and shoot.

The camera has 8MB of internal storage which allows you to store 120 images or video for $30.  The bad part of the camera is that it’s internal memory is wiped if the batteries run out and it doesn’t have a lens cover which means you will always be fighting smudges and dust on the lens.  Then again it is a $30 camera.  Pick it up at Amazon

Polaroid DVF-130RC Digital Camcorder | We gave Mark a compact digital video camcorder last Christmas and he has loved it.  Over the last year we have given several others out as gifts and the recipients have really liked them.  It’s a point and shoot camera that captures VGA quality video at 30 fps.  Yeah that isn’t HD quality but with most of us sharing digital video via Facebook and YouTube more and more often, the lack of HD isn’t as big of issue.  It’s got 16MB of built in memory so you will want to make sure to toss in a SD card in along with it.  In most places you can get anywhere from a 2GB to a 8GB card for under $10.

While I am not an avid golfer, I enjoy the game and so does Mark.  The City of Saskatoon makes it affordable for parents to go golfing at Silverwood Golf Course.  Now while Silverwood is a nice short golf course by itself, it is designed for beginner golfers and during the summer has several specials that make it even easier to take a younger golfer along with you.  Mark’s clubs were bought second hand but it’s fun to add a new putter, a package of golf balls, or even some golf gloves to the mix.  Now the best part about golfing with Mark is not the golf game but the two or three hours we have talking about life, cracking jokes, and enjoying a snack afterwards.

Speaking of sports, Wilson has a great junior sized football which is quite a bit easier to throw and catch then a full sized CFL, NCAA or NFL football.  not only is the ball a little lighter, it is designed for kid sized hands so when they through it, they can get a spiral with it.  Not only is it good for them, it is good for you as it makes it easier to through the deep post and look good while doing it.

GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra for Wii | I know GI Joe was cooler when I was a kid but this is the version that kids these days have now.  You can choose from twelve G.I. JOE characters, each with unique weapons and abilities, and unlock additional COBRA characters.  It’s a fun adventure game and will give him hours of fun in front of the Wii.

Mario Kart for Wii | While you can play Mario Kart by yourself, where it gets to be even more fun is when you have the entire family racing each other.  Of all of the video games we have as a family, none gets all of us playing together like this one.

iPod Shuffle | It has 2 GB capacity for about 2000 songs and you can play up to 15 hours on a single charge.  With a press of the VoiceOver button, you can hear the song’s title and artist, playlist menu, or battery status. Available from Amazon.  A far cheaper 2 GB option is this MP3 Player from Nextar.  It comes with a small clip on it making it perfect to hang off a lanyard for safe keeping.

Season 1 | Season 2 | Season 3 of Survivorman | Mark (and the rest of us) is a huge fan of the show and it’s a perfect way to spend a cool winter night watching Les Stroud spending seven days in some of the harshest climates known to man without food, water or shelter.  He’ll watch them again and again.

If he is already a fan of Surivorman, check out the Survivorman You Sweat You Die T-Shirt | The back of each t-shirt is printed with “You Sweat you Die” and Les Stroud’s autograph.  While I don’t generally notice tags on the inside of the shirt, this shirt features a great one with washing instructions that include the “will to live”.  I love it. So will the kid that you are shopping for.  The DVDs and shirt are available from Les Stroud Productions.

Settlers of Catan | The Settlers of Catan from Mayfair Games is a strategy game where players collect resources and use them to build roads, settlements and cities on their way to victory. The board itself is variable, making each game a little different from the next. Each round of The Settlers of Catan is intended to keep three or four players ages 10 and above engaged for up to 90 minutes.

Risk |Can you accomplish the military objectives before your opponents? With an updated map and all-new playing pieces, increased rewards for bold moves, and easy to learn rules, you’ll be ready to take on whatever lies ahead. Test your nerve with the Basic Training game–a quick and easy way to play. Or, see if you have what it takes to dominate in the fast-paced and strategic Command Room game. Finally prove your courage in World Contest-an updated edition of the classic Risk game. The decision is yours. The time is now. For 3 to 5 players ages 12 and up.

Tech Deck Display Case | Tech Deck’s all over the house?  Yeah our house too. Pick up a wall mounted display case so they can show off their Tech Decks and keep them from getting underfoot.  Toss in some new Tech Decks along with it$15 at Wal-Mart

If he is a skateboard fan, you may want to consider getting him a new skateboard .   While a skateboard is an expression of one’s self, toss in some money for him to get some stickers and accessories.  $25 at Amazon.com.

Last year I recommended BBC’s epic documentary series Planet Earth.  Mark loved it, Wendy loved it, I am sure Oliver loved it.  It was great for the entire family.  This year BBC has come out with Life and it has the same kind of positive reviews that Planet Earth had.  $38 at Amazon.com

Air Hogs Remote Control Helicopter | With the world’s record for the smallest remote-controlled helicopter, the Air Hogs Havoc Heli goes where no other flying object can.  They can be safely flown inside the house where their small size and light weight mean that if your pilot in training does make a mistake, both the vase and the helicopter will survive. $30 at Amazon.com

The Wave Original Street Surfer is an inline action board that blends the sensations of surfing, snowboarding and skateboarding.  It has a fun design where no foot propulsion is required. Riders simply hop on, twists their hips back and forth in an S-shaped motion to achieve forward movement.  It gives riders the ability to perform all sorts of neat tricks because it runs on two wheels rather than four. $90 at Amazon.com.

Magic Igloo Maker | This is only available in Canada and would make for a great Christmas gift anywhere in the country (sans Victoria).  It is a specially designed plastic mould that makes interlocking snow blocks to create big, strong, safe igloos easily and quickly!  According to the website, a large igloo takes anywhere from 2 to 6 hours to complete (depending on how hard you work.  After building it, both body heat and a small candle will cause the snow to melt and the inner surface to harden.  While there are not likely to be a lot of predators in your backyard, it will make is stronger an last longer into the spring. $39.99 for two molds.

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.

Christmas Eve Live Blog

6:15 a.m. :: I hate early mornings.

6:30 a.m. :: Mark is up and showered and ready to go to work with me this morning.  Rambling Dave just played Six White Boomers on C95.

7:10 a.m. :: Lineup at Tim Horton’s was too long so I skipped that place and went straight to work.  Stopped by the kitchen for breakfast with Mark.  Then to the Front Desk to shoot the breeze with the night staff.

7:20 a.m. :: Got some bad news from the Front Desk and had to ask Mark to leave the room.  So much for a stress free holiday.  There is always something dumb that happens over Christmas and I am hoping that is it.

7:40 a.m. :: Mark is drinking his first cup of coffee ever.  Black.  Never even made a face.  I have a feeling I will be in trouble when Wendy finds out about this.

8:00 a.m. :: Sitting in Sharon’s office (one of our budget management workers) trying to figure out why I am at work this morning.

8:30 a.m. :: Laurie asked Mark and I to process last minute hamper requests.  Three years ago on Christmas Eve I filled 14 hampers for people who had nothing on Christmas Eve.  I left work feeling really good about what we did.  On Boxing Day I found out that we had been ripped off by all 14 people.  All of them had gotten hampers.  I didn’t feel that bad about it.  I wasn’t the one lying and plus, it’s Christmas and I will never live it down.  I guess that is why Laurie asked Mark to help me out.  She knows that I won’t say no to anyone unless I have a good reason.

9:11 a.m. :: Answering back the 25 or so e-mails of people wanting to volunteer down at the Centre on Christmas Day.

10:20 a.m. :: Tim Horton’s run.  The Giant Tiger parking lot is packed.  Mark is drinking his second cup of coffee, this time a double/double on the recommendation of Debbie, one of our cooks.

10:40 a.m. :: I filled a couple of hampers.  The people appreciated it.  Not sure if they were telling the truth or not but I didn’t really care.  It’s Christmas Eve.

11:00 a.m. :: Laurie cut off hampers.  The Emergency After Hours staff has a bunch made up if anyone comes in on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

11:30 a.m. :: Mark is having his third cup of coffee and is talking loudly.  He also has five dollars as he was helping in the kitchen.  He is now carrying 81 Christmas gifts to the chapel where they will be put under a tree for the guys tomorrow.  Thanks to my awesome wife Wendy for helping wrap them.

12:00 p.m. :: The office is closed.  Only the kitchen and Front Desk staff remain.  Some other staff are tearing down the Christmas warehouse and bringing things back to the Centre.  Also, some officers are picking up Christmas kettles and bringing them to a place so they can counted in time for the bank to close.

1:00 p.m. :: So much for leaving early.  I am heading back home.  Safeway looks crazy.  I feel sorry for Wendy.

1:10 p.m. :: Our snow shovel is broken, someone has been in the house and there is a very large box in my living room.  Since there a) is no blood from being attacked from the dog b) there is a PSP Go on the table, I assume Lee was here.  It doesn’t explain the broken snow shovel.  Mark totally missed the five foot wide box in the living room and notices the PSP Go.  Observant kid I have.

2:00 p.m. :: Lee is here.  He broke our shovel and brought over a new ergonomic shovel.  He is pretty quiet about the large box though.

3:15 p.m. :: Lee suggests we go to Future Shop and get the new Family Guy movie.  I remind him that it is Christmas Eve and it will be crazy.  He goes, “that explains the time off and the gifts”.

4:20 p.m. :: I went by Safeway and it was absolutely nuts  Wendy can’t explain it as Safeway is always quiet after 2:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve.  I buy some groceries and double check Wendy has bought turnips.  She still can’t understand how I eat them.

6:00 p.m. :: We order pizza from Papa John’s Pizza.  It’s the best pizza in Saskatoon.  It’s an hour wait which is fine as Wendy will be home in 30 minutes.

6:40 p.m. :: Wendy is home and said that Safeway was crazy from opening to 6:00 p.m.  She wasn’t impressed but was happy to get home.

6:41 p.m. :: Wendy, Lee, and Mark are all demanding we open gifts.  Oliver is more preoccupied with a box of Swiss Cheese Crackers.

LED Lantern 6:45 p.m. :: Stockings are open.  Wendy and I both got LED lanterns, Mark got a small dart board, all of us got the usual candies and toiletries.

7:15 p.m. :: Pizza is here, gifts are opened, the house is a big mess.  Here is the summary of gifts.

Oliver

Mark

  • MiJam Mixer from Oliver
  • iDog Dance from Maggi
  • A small aquarium from Santa
  • A play M1 Abrams Tank Set and a Campaigns of World WWII Day by Day by Chris Bishop from me.  I had wanted to get him a book explaining what happened in WWII and this did a pretty good job brining history to his reading level.
  • I Learned Kung Fu from a Bear Cub by Matt Jackson from Wendy.  Wendy met the author while he was at Indigo and he recommended this book for Mark and signed it as well.
  • PSP 3000 A PSP 3000 from Lee :: Lee bought himself a PSPGo a couple of months ago and gave him his old PSP 3000 with a plethora of games and movies.  Mark was thrilled, mostly because he can watch a couple of seasons of Family Guy anytime he wants.  He also found out he can use Twitter on it as well.
  • He got Trackmania and Tomb Raider for his Nintendo DS.
  • I gave him a Swiss Army knife.
  • Backyard Football 2009 and Medal of Honor Vanguard or his PS2. 
  • A carrying case for his Nintendo DS games and Nindendo DS from Wendy
  • A Coby Snapp Cam, SD card, case, and mini-tripod from Wendy and I. 

Wendy

Me

Lee

  • A Chicago Bears jacket.  I feel better about the gift now that the Bears now that Jay Cutler and the Bears are brutal this year.  If the Kyle Orton trade hadn’t have worked out for Denver the way it did, I would have had to take it back.  I like the Bears but I love the Broncos.
  • The War: An Intimate History, 1941-1945 by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns.  I read this book at the cabin this fall and was amazed at how compelling of a read it was.
  • Airsoft Sig Sauer pistol.  We had one up at the cabin and we used it for target practice at the dump all summer long.  Technically it is a toy and it’s velocity is low enough (combined with the soft ammunition) that it isn’t going to be lethal, even on a small animal.  Mark and I did a test and the ammunition won’t penetrate a piece of paper at 5 feet.  It does however make a satisfying ping when you hit your target at the dump.
  • A Saskatchewan Roughriders sign :: I really want one of these for the cabin.

  • A new and improved multi-tool.

The Dogs

  • Both of the dogs got dog booties for all of us.  Right now Maggi is on the phone to the SPCA making a formal complaint.  Hutch has just decided never to go outside again.
  • Maggi and Hutch also got a variety to toys to chase and chew.

Now back to the big box.  Lee was quiet adamant that gifts would be opened in a certain order.  Finally it came to the gifts he got for us.  I was stunned to open a gift and see a Nintendo Wii.  He got us the Wii, Wii Play, Wii Sports Resort, Four controllers and nunchucks, and a charging station.  He tossed in a couple of games as well.  For me there was Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: Reflex and for Mark (and all of us), there was Super Mario Brothers.  Finally we opened the big box and there was a Sony Bravia 42 inch HDTV in it. 

Ok, it's not quite that big

We were shocked.  Lee just said that we helped him out during a tough time and he wanted to get this for us.  It is quite a gift.

Actually it looks more like this.

Sony Bravia 42" television

After all was said and done, we had to come to grips that we are a family of giant nerds.  Multiple game platforms now call our house home and it seems to be getting worse.  Most can be linked back to Lee.  Actually all of them except for Wendy’s Nintendo DS can be traced back to Lee.  So maybe Lee is the big nerd.

9:00 p.m. :: Lee and I get the old television out of the way and the new TV set up.  The Wii is installed and Mark is playing some Wii Sports.

10:00 p.m. :: The pizza is all gone, Lee has gone home, Mark and Oliver are in bed (Oliver spent the entire night trying to get to the Swiss Cheese Crackers, treating the pizza, his gifts, and the entire Christmas celebration as a plot to keep him away from his true love, that cracker box.  I watched a bit of the Aloha Hawaii Bowl but SMU was running away with it.