Tag Archives: PSP

Christmas Gift Guide: Gift Ideas for your Husband / Father / Boyfriends (all of the men in your life) | 2010 Edition

It’s Wendy and I keep telling Jordon that he needs to stop leaving the password for his blog login laying around and he never listens to me.  As he said, “Bill Clinton lost the nuclear launch codes and nothing bad happened.”  Well what happened is that I am posting a gift guide for what to get the men in your life.  Hopefully this post meets the requirements of the JordonCooper.com Style Guide.

What do you give to someone who spends his day working in a non-profit and then comes home every night to take care of the boys?  I had Jordon give me a few suggestion which I combined with a few ideas of my own.

32 gb iPod Touch | Jordon being the geek that he is, bought a 1G iPod Touch as soon as they came out.  He has sat out the last two upgrades but now the iPod Touch has a new high resolution screen, camera, and Facetime.  Even I can see it’s time to upgrade and get him a new one.   The iPod Touch is a music player, gaming platform, video player, and a Personal Information Manager.  Jordon carries his with him each day.  If your loved one doesn’t have a smartphone, he will love one of these.

Sony PSP 3000 / PSP Go | Lee bought Jordon a PSP a couple of years ago and Jordon loves it.  While he was devastated that NCAA Football 11 or the Force Unleashed II are not being released for the PSP, there are still a bunch of good games to play and toss in as additional gifts.  Here are a couple of suggestions

Amazon Kindle with Wifi | Jordon loves books but he hates taking books back and forth to the cabin.  With the Kindle he can load it up, bring it to the lake, grab some more books if he needs to, and has them whether he goes.   The Kindle also works well with Instapaper, RSS feeds, and can access the web.  While it’s not a iPad, it’s not just a book reader either.  One of the things that pushed Jordon towards wanting a Kindle was it’s support for major newspapers like;

  1. The New York Times ($19.99/month)
  2. International Herald Tribune ($19.99/month)
  3. The Globe and Mail ($15.99/month)
  4. National Post ($14.99/month)
  5. The Washington Post ($23.99/month)
  6. The StarPhoenix ($13.99/month)
  7. USA Today ($23.99/month)
  8. Slate ($8.99/month)
  9. The Financial Times ($27.99/month)

There is also magazines like Time ($3/month), The Atlantic Monthly ($2.49), Foreign Policy ($3.49), among many others.  I am not the news junkie that Jordon is but I was surprised that you can’t get Macleans or Sports Illustrated yet.  Maybe down the road.

While it doesn’t have the feature set that the Kindle does, you may also be interested in Chapter’s Kobo book reader which also has a growing list of newspapers available to be subscribed to. $149 from Chapters/Indigo

5.1 Channel Surround Sound System | This one works with seven different audio sources (for those of you who need hook ups for your PS3, TV, Wii, stereo, computer and whatever geek devices they fancy).  If you have never watched a movie with 5.1 channel surround sound, you have no idea what you are missing.  It’s a gift everyone in the family with thank you for getting.  It even hooks up to an iPod and if you want to go old school, the radio.  $99.99 at XS Cargo or $183 at Amazon.com

The Wire | Season 1 ($30)| Season 2 ($30) | Season 3 ($30) | Season 4 ($30) | Season 5 ($30) | Complete Series ($105) | For Father’s Day we went out and bought Jordon a portable DVD player and Season One of The Wire and was blown away by how good the series is.  It is by far the greatest television show that I have ever watched on television and I was sad when it ended.  I could go on but Jason Kottke has devoted so much energy blogging The Wire over the last couple of years, I’ll send you there.  I’ll give you a warning though, this is not a series you will watch with anyone under the age of 16.  It is brutally violent, offensive language and the occasional sex scene.  If your significant other has already seen The Wire, check out this Re-Elect Clay Davis t-shirt. $22.

Battlestar Galactica | Season 1 ($36.49) | Season 2.5 ($33.49) | Razor ($11.49) | Season 3 ($37.99) | Season 4.5 ($34.99) | Complete Series ($140) | In case you were isolated from popular culture for the last couple of years, here is the story line of the incredibly popular science fiction series, Battlestar Galactica.  Battlestar Galactica is set in a distant part of the galaxy, where a civilization of humans live on a series of planets known as the Twelve Colonies. In the past, the Colonies had been at war with a cybernetic race known as the Cylons. With the unwitting help of a human named Gaius Baltar, the Cylons launch a sudden sneak attack on the Colonies, laying waste to the planets and devastating their populations. The approximately 50,000 human survivors flee into space aboard any spacecraft they can reach. Of all the Colonial Fleet, the eponymous Battlestar Galactica appears to be the only military capital ship that survived the attack. Under the leadership of Colonial Fleet officer Commander William “Bill” Adama and President Laura Roslin, the Galactica and its crew take up the task of leading the small fugitive fleet of survivors into space in search of a fabled refuge known as Earth.

American Heritage Leather Duffle Bag by J.W. Hulme | In case you are looking for the greatest duffle bag ever made, your search is over.  The J.W. Hulme leather duffle bag is the Rolls Royce of carry-ons.   It’s the kind of bag that says, “I’m better than you and I am not afraid to talk about it”.  The bag is made out of distressed leather and then refined by buffing and antiquing each bag by hand which gives it it’s one in a kind look.  It’s only $899 and available at J.W. Hulme.  At that price, I would leave the price tag visible.  Now Jordon really wants one but we have a rule around here.  Any Christmas gifts that will cause us to choose between making our mortgage payment and being homeless will not be considered. Maybe next year, Jordon, maybe next year.

Sergio: One Man’s Fight to Save the World by Samantha Power | I haven’t read it yet but Jordon said it was the best book he read in 2010.   The book is about Sergio Vieira de Mello’s who was a Brazilian United Nations diplomat who worked for the UN for more than 34 years, earning respect and praise around the world for his efforts in the humanitarian and political programs of the UN.  He was killed in the Canal Hotel Bombing in Iraq along with 20 other members of his staff on 19 August 2003 while working as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Iraq.  While the book was quite compelling, it has also been made into a HBO movie.  The book is $5.17 on Amazon.com and the DVD is available for $19.98 (in DVD-R format)

Homicide: A Year in the Killing Streets by David Simon | Another one of Jordon’s favourite books of 2010.  After falling in love with The Wire, Jordon went out and bought both of David Simon’s books, Homicide and The Corner.  David Simon, who was a reporter for The Baltimore Sun, spent four years on the police beat before taking a leave of absence to write this book. He had persuaded the Baltimore police department to allow him unlimited access to the city’s homicide unit for calendar year 1988, and throughout that year he shadowed one shift of detectives as they traveled from interrogations to autopsies, from crime scenes to hospital emergency rooms. Baltimore recorded 234 murders during the year Simon spent with the homicide unit. During the two years he spent writing Homicide, an additional 567 murders occurred.

The Pacific | The Pacific is an epic 10-part miniseries that delivers a realistic portrait of WWII’s Pacific Theatre as seen through the intertwined odysseys of three U.S. Marines – Robert Leckie, John Basilone and Eugene Sledge. The extraordinary experiences of these men and their fellow Marines take them from the first clash with the Japanese in the haunted jungles of Guadalcanal, through the impenetrable rain forests of Cape Gloucester, across the blasted coral strongholds of Peleliu, up the black sand terraces of Iwo Jima, through the killing fields of Okinawa, to the triumphant, yet uneasy, return home after V-J Day. The viewer will be immersed in combat through the intimate perspective of this diverse, relatable group of men pushed to the limit in battle both physically and psychologically against a relentless enemy unlike any encountered before. ($42.99 at Amazon.com)

Survivorman | Hand Made Fire Piston | A fire piston, sometimes called a fire syringe, is a device of ancient origin which is used to kindle fire. It uses the principle of the heating of a gas (in this case air) by its rapid compression to ignite a piece of tinder, which is then used to set light to kindling.  Jordon and Mark enjoy learning different fire making methods at the lake (which often fail and they default to matches). $80 from Les Stroud Productions.

Snowshoes and Solitude :: We are a big fan of the show Survivorman around the house but one of the questions I always have is how we he do if his isolation lasted longer than 7 days.  According to some friends who have seen the DVD, Snowshoes and Solitude goes a long way in answering that question and I am told it is worth watching and owning.  $19.99 from Les Stroud Productions

Sportcraft Taverner Bristle Dartboard | A tournament-quality, 18 inch bristle dartboard with traditional colors, a matte finish, steel wiring on the inside. Deluxe hinges complete the look of this stylish, entertaining wall piece.  It would look great hanging up at the cabin.  The best part about darts is that you don’t really have to be that great at it to have a great time playing it.

Kodak Zi8 or Kodak Playsport video camera | Jordon owns a Kodak Zi8 camera and we love it.  It has a microphone jack which means that you can easily add an external 1/8 microphone for even better sound.    It allows you to record High Definition video (1080p at 30 fps with 16:9 aspect ratio) and comes with some half-decent editing software. Zi8 is $119 from Amazon while the Playsport is $114 from Amazon.

Some recommended accessories for the Zi8

  • Shoe mount compatible with all pro & consumer video camcorders
  • Patent pending interlocking design
  • 600 lumens with built-in diffuser
  • Slim lightweight design
  • Safe to touch-does not get hot  $29 from Amazon

Adorama Heavy Duty L-bracket with 2 Standard Flash Shoe Mounts | Jordon has one of these and mounts either a miniature shotgun microphone and/or a video light on it.  For $9.99 from Amazon it’s a great addition to any one’s camera bag.  $9.99 for Amazon

Olympus PEN E-P1 12.3 MP Micro Four Thirds Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera with 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Zuiko Digital Zoom Lens | The E-P1 is, essentially, an Olympus E-620 crowbarred into a compact, rangefinder-style body. Aside from the changes necessitated by the removal of the mirror and optical viewfinder – and a slight firmware upgrade (for new live view features, improved image processing) it is as fully fledged as any mid-range SLR but in a much more compact body.  $599 from Amazon

If you aren’t looking for a DSLR but want more control than a compact point and shoot, check out the Fujifilm s2000HD with 15x zoom.   After agonizing over which camera to purchase last year, Jordon bought one of these after reading countless reviews.

The FinePix S2000HD is a compact and lightweight 10-megapixel camera with a 15x optical zoom lens and HD movie recording/output. The FinePix S2000HD is the first Fujifilm model to offer full compatibility with HDTV systems for both stills and movies. In addition to true HD movies (at 1280 x 720 pixels) and widescreen stills (at 1920 x 1080), the FinePix S2000HD’s HD output allows the camera to display ultra-clear high-definition photographs and movies on an HDTV.  Other key S2000HD features include continuous shooting up to 13.5 frames per second at 3MP, Dual Image Stabilization for blur-free images, and extensive photographic control including 13 scene position settings.

While L.L. Bean doesn’t offer these in Canada, if they did, we would be getting one for the cabin.  It’s a customized accent for your home or cottage, displaying the name of any US city or town, its state and its latitude and longitude. All you have to do is specify city/town and state, and they will be printed on the sign, along with the city’s coordinates.   It accommodates up to 14 characters, including spaces, for the town name and up to 14 for the state. Pine base. Indoor or outdoor use, sheltered location recommended. $29.95 from L.L. Bean

Ballpark Pens | If your husband is a fan of sports history like Jordon is, you will want to check out these great handmade pens made out of wood from historic stadiums like Yankee Stadium ($200), Fenway Park ($220), the Polo Grounds ($260 and I had to ask where it was), or Boston Garden ($140).

Maine Guide Rolling Duffle, Waxed-Canvas from L.L. Bean | Jordon hates cheap luggage.  It has no character, it doesn’t wear well and in the end it’s a waste of money.  If your loved one travels at all, you may want to consider a luggage upgrade and L.L. Bean has a great option.  Weather resistant, rugged and classic, this bag is made to go the distance, year after year, gaining character along the way. Crafted from rugged 22 oz. waxed-cotton canvas, a traditional and dependable favourite of sportsmen for generations. Leather trim and antiqued-brass hardware.  This convenient duffle is easy to pack and even easier to transport. It opens wide like a doctor’s bag for neat and organized packing. Interior straps and mesh pockets help secure gear. Twin front cargo pockets hold cell phone, keys and last-minute extras. Back document pocket keeps itinerary close at hand. Smooth-Glide in-line skate wheels and locking telescoping handle let you maneuver this bag easily through airports, lobbies and parking lots. End handles for easy lifting.  Available at L.L. Bean for $199

Kenton Sorenson Leather Natural Leather Dopp Kit | The Kenton Sorenson dopp kit is the perfect holiday gift. This dopp kit is hand made in Wisconsin using natural leather that will develop an amazing deep golden brown color with regular use. The kit has a simple leather wrap around tie closure that can also be used to keep the kit open while in use. $145 from Context

Jordon is a fan of fine watches and while some of them are totally unaffordable, this Paris Mechanical Pocket Watch from Charles Hubert is fantastic looking.  It’s a sleek, silver-tone update of a classic style which combines 17-jewel mechanical movement with a skeleton dial.  If you are shopping for a someone that appreciates a fine watch, this may be a great gift at an affordable price. It also comes with a fine gift box. $84 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.

Refresh

I don’t take a lot of vacation days.  Part of it is the nature of work… about the time I want time off, we are often short staffed.  The bigger issue is me.  I don’t enjoy vacations very much and it’s something that I have worked on more as I have gotten older.

This week Mark and I are up at the lake for a couple of days of male bonding before Wendy comes up this weekend with Oliver.  The weather has been hot but I don’t have a huge to do list.  Well I had a big to do list but I was reminded this summer but a friend of ours that he spent so much time finishing their family cabin, he didn’t enjoy it as much has he should have.  So Mark and I have cooked meals over an open fire, taken Maggi swimming a lot, and hung out reading.

Sergio: One Man's Fight to Save the World So far this week I have read Samantha Power’s captivating book, Sergio: One Man’s Fight to Save the World about Sérgio Vieira de Mello, the United Nations diplomat who was described as being a cross between James Bond and Bobby Kennedy.  His resume took him from Bangladesh to East Timor to eventually Iraq (where he was killed) in his attempts to bring about peace, alleviate human suffering, and bring hope and security to those that have none. 

What struck me as I read it is he was a flawed man (terrible womanizer), who made big compromises and mistakes (befriending more than one person accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity in his attempt to bring about peace), yet consistently learned from them and adapted to new challenges.  I was contrasting him to what I had been taught about leadership which says that it requires perfect character and looks down on compromise and has people scorning or ignoring their enemies.   There is also the aspect of how contextual what we have learned really is.  What works well in one situation won’t work well in another situation.

Finally, this is shown by Sergio Vleira de Mello’s life and Samantha Power’s worldview and writing but the world’s problems require nuance, understanding of complex factors, and a wider view of context than is often given (MacNamara’s description of the misunderstanding of the nature of the Vietnam War comes to mind as an overly narrow understanding of a conflict).

Now back to the vacation.  Mark was engrossed by The Hardy Boys and is looking forward to a late night session of playing his PSP.  We tried to go swimming today but the algae was so gross that Maggi is a bright green shade right now, despite having given her a shower (it was as bad as it sounds).

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.

Christmas Gift Guide: My Wishlist (Christmas ideas for a father of two great kids) | 2009 Edition

Update: 2010 Christmas Gift Ideas for All of the Men in Your Life by Wendy is now online.

I do most of the Christmas shopping in our house which leaves Wendy to get my gift.  I generally update my Amazon.com wishlist and use their universal wish list button to create on central wish list for her and Mark.  Our goal is to be done Christmas shopping by December 1st every year and we finished everything up last week so we are good.  Since I started posting the Christmas Gift Guides, people have asked me how many things I was asking for Christmas and the answer is I don’t want that many things but here is a short list of things I asked Wendy, Mark, Oliver and Maggi to get me for Christmas.  Since they are done their shopping by now, I feel fine in posting this.

In case none of these gifts strike a chord with you, check out my Christmas Gift Guide for the Emotionally Distant Father.

A new Swiss Army knife :: I bought one for my groomsmen and myself from MEC 12 years ago and it is showing it’s age and needs to be replaced.  This year might be a good year to do it.  While I really like my multi-tool, a lot of days, I just want a pocket knife in my front pocket.  I still have the worn out pocket knife that my grandfather had and a pocket knife in my pocket not only is handy but reminds me of him.

I couldn’t help but notice this Pathfinder watch from Casio.  Is there anything this watch can’t do?  It includes a digital compass, altimeter, barometer and thermometer.  It’s altitude measurement up to 10,000 meters in the air and 100 meters under water.   For a lot less money, this version from Casio has a thermometer and digital compass in it.

I am still a fan of Timex Atlantis 100 watches which you can give with the stainless steel or the more traditional polyurethane strap.  Timex also has put out these really nice looking NHL team watches.  Not that I am biased but I think this one looks the best.

This is more for the cabin but I thought these dynamite fire starting sticks from Cabelas were a lot of fun. Though the contents of this sturdy wood crate will not move mountains, they will start your fireplace. One look at the realistic “dynamite” crate will have family and friends looking twice. Each cedar wood crate contains 20 fire-starter sticks. They are made of paraffin and sawdust for a long, hot burn. Each stick will burn approximately 30 minutes setting ablaze even the most stubborn wood.   Plus, Cabelas sent me a $20 gift certificate a months ago because I responded to a question on Twitter for them and I need to spend it on something.

Snowshoes and Solitude :: We are a big fan of the show Survivorman around the house but one of the questions I always have is how we he do if his isolation lasted longer than 7 days.  According to some friends who have seen the DVD, Snowshoes and Solitude goes a long way in answering that question and I am told it is worth watching and owning.

Survive! by Les Stroud :: This is a huge best seller in Canada and is by the creator of Survivorman.  It’s a gift not only for me but will be fun for years to come as I hike with Oliver and Mark.

The Pod :: I have a camera and about four tripods.  This is a great addition to the list because it is what happens when you combine a camera mount with a bean bag and it’s a lot easier to pack along on hikes.

Saskatchewan Roughriders: Welcome Sign :: If I get this, I plan to hang it in the cabin but it would also look good at home.  I also am hoping for a Saskatchewan Roughriders water bottle and a Saskatchewan Roughriders magnet.  The water bottle is for our house.  The magnet is for the Reimer’s front door which they painted Rider Green while at the same time still being Winnipeg Blue Bombers fans.

Harmonica :: While I still can play the alto saxophone (or as I and Homer Simpson prefer to call it, the Saxomaphone, I really don’t have the desire to get the rust off and I never learned to play by ear.  The other night I suggested to Wendy, “I want to play the harmonica.” which threw her for a loop.  After waiting for the punch line, she asked me why I would want to.  At least it’s not the bagpipes.

The SAS Survival Handbook :: Mark and I are planning to do some hiking this summer and I think it would be fun to teach him some of the stuff found in this book and Les Stroud’s book Survive!.  Mark loves watching Survivorman and I think we will have a blast learning this stuff together.  Plus, Mark has already said he was going to eat a grasshopper kabob after watching this episode of Survivorman and wants to learn how to make a fire to cook them on.

NCAA 2010 for the PSP :: While I love the NFL, there is something about college offences and the ability to run a triple option attack is fun.  Plus, I now know that Notre Dame can’t stop it.  That being said, Madden 10 would be pretty cool and I can see if I can do more with JaMarcus Russell than Tom Cable can.

LittleBigPlanet for PSP :: I was over at my brother Lee’s place and he has it for the PS3.  Mark was enthralled, Wendy had fun and even Lee was enjoying it.  It looks fun, Mark will borrow the game, and I can see Wendy killing some time with it.  Good enough for me.

I couldn’t help but notice these great customizable Denver Broncos shirts from NFL Shop.com.

I am not a big Bocce ball kind of guy but I know we would have a lot of fun playing this as a family at the cabin.  It may in the end be a better Father’s Day kind of gift because of the weather in Saskatchewan, if you live in a warmer climate, it may be a fun gift for your father.

There you go, it’s not a big list but it doesn’t really matter what I get for Christmas but I thought I would post it to give some ideas in case you know of someone who is as insane as I am.

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?

Christmas Gift Guide: Gift Ideas for Men | 2008 Edition

One of the secrets of the house is that I do all of the Christmas shopping.  Wendy sees it as a task to endure, I see it as a work of art.  We know who gets the better Christmas gifts around here.  At the same time I keep hearing for people that they don’t know what to get for their husbands, sons, and fathers.  I have been giving out tips lately and I thought that I would post them here.  As you will see, some are more serious than others.

In case you are wondering, Wendy and I have spend under $100 on each of us at Christmas.  We have a pretty simple Christmas but I enjoy looking for the perfect gift.  A decade ago Gloria told me that if she likes the gift she is giving and if it is good enough for her, it is good enough for the person she is giving it too.  Wendy and I think the same way.

  1. Ohio Fine Fountain Pen | Give a nice pen this Christmas.  Those 25 packs of pens for $2 are fine if you are a homeless shelter and everyone takes yours but eventually you or someone you love is going to want to write a memo, a letter, or need to fill out a bunch of pointless paper work for a certain government department that you may have to deal with.  For that, you need a good pen for a reasonable price.  This is a fine fountain pen and you can get it for only $20.  Make sure you order some refills as well.
  2. What’s the point of having a kick butt library if those ingrates that call you a friend come over and take a book home every time they visit.  Since tasers are still illegal for personal use in Canada, why not pick up a personal library set instead ($19.95).  Of course you can’t buy them integrity but you will be able to get your books back.  In case the person you are you buying for is vain, you can get them a year long ($10) or a life time ($25) subscription to LibraryThing as well.  They may be vain but they are in good company.
  3. Leica M8 | Is there a better gift for a loved one that a Leica camera?  At only $5995.00, you can get one for your favorite blogger as well.  I know almost $6000 seems a little pricey for a camera but look at the camera you are giving out and just think of how much better the photos will be that they will be posting to Flickr.  Of course you can’t help them if they take photos of their thumbs and feet all of the time but at least they will be clear photos of their thumb and feet.
  4. Movie Pix HD ($100) | I bought one of these this fall for $100 at Wal-Mart and it has been a great little camera that one can carry everywhere.  It shoots in 16:9 and with a 2 gb memory card, you never have to worry about running out of space. (I review it here).  The one thing that you will want to pick up for it is some extra batteries.  We have some nickel cadmium batteries but for the holidays, we also picked up 40 Maxell alkaline batteries to make sure we had some batteries ready to go if needed.  If you have kids this is the way to go.  Within minutes of shooting, these videos can be uploaded to YouTube which go a long way in making his mother-in-law forget what a schlep her daughter married.  While you are at it, pick up a video editing suite that is better than Microsoft Movie Maker.  Check out Movie Magix ($45) (download free trial here) for an affordable but functional movie editing software for Windows.  If he has a Mac, he has iMovie and he is taking care of.
  5. McFarlane Toys ($15) | As boys we loved our Star Wars and GI Joe action figures.  Our tastes have matured a bit but so have our action figures.  Now McFarlane Toys is making Derek Jeter, John Elway, or LeBron James action figures but in a way where they look cool sitting on our desk.  When I mention this to women they look at me like I am idiot but at the same time their husbands come into my office every day to talk sports and check them out.  I got some of mine at Wal-Mart for $5.  Just make sure you don’t get the Grant Fuhr in a Calgary Flames uniform or something stupid that could get him beat up by Calgary and Edmonton fans.
  6. America at War Megaset ($60) | 25 DVDs of American history by the History Channel.  This is a great gift for the history buff that gets on your nerves.  Not only do you make him happy but he won’t leave his den until September 2009.  You can thank me later as you will have all sorts of time.
  7. Neumann Gloves ($35)| If he played football in high school, he had a pair of Neumann gloves and I bet he misses them.  When wet, they actually get tacky which is helpful should a random stranger fire a football at him while it is raining.  The leather palms almost make for a durable glove which are good for playing slo-pitch or mountain biking.  It is also guaranteed to get the ball tossed to him during touch football games even if he does move slower than Shaquille O’Neal playing defense.  If he lives in Canada or is just a CFL fan, get him the winter receiver gloves.
  8. Interactive R2D2 Astromech Droid ($104) | There is nothing more irritating to be driving along and find out that your rear shields have been shot off.  While you are concentrating on shooting the ears off a Gundark or sending a protron torpedo down an exhaust chute, R2 can take care of your car or X-Wing fighter.
  9. Personal Sountrack Shirt ($39.95) | If you are like me, you dream of a personal mariachi band to follow you to play a soundtrack for your life.  Well it’s time to give the band some pink slips and replace them with a shirt that can play MP3s, sound effects, and look good doing it.  It even has a remote.
  10. Find me the Matrix ($19.95) | If you are shopping for a guy or girl who is always wondering where the nearest wifi connection is, this shirt lights up when you are near one.  The brighter your shirt, the better the connection.
  11. Sony PSP 2000 ($169) | I know it’s been out for a couple of years but after having one for a year I can’t recommend it enough.  Games like SOCOM kill time during a rainy day at the lake and at the same time keep Mark quiet on the drive up in the back seat.  I have a 2 gig memory stick that I load up with YouTube videos and documentaries from Google Video.  Spluge a bit and get the 8 gig card and you have a great travelling machine.  For another $20 you can get the headphone and mic which combined with Skype make for a really cheap long distance option for the road warrior.
  12. University of Saskatchewan basketball tickets ($8) | This is pretty localized but if you are in Saskatoon and you haven’t been to a Huskies basketball game, you are missing out.  The PAC is a great place to watch a game and the Huskies play an entertaining style of basketball.  Courtside tickets are only $15 and you have your own waiter/waitress.
  13. “ Roughriders Drive” Sign ($20) | This metal sign will be perfect for your cabin or den and if you aren’t a Roughrider fan, you can a variation of the classic street sign with your own teams name on it.  Of course all of you are Rider fans so this won’t be an issue.
  14. Noise Cancelling Headphones ($35) | If your loved on travels a lot and doesn’t have a pair, this should be at the top of your list.  Until you have flown with a pair of these on, you have no idea how much easier they make flying.
  15. Bellagio Classico 2 Vintage Series Men’s Mechanical Skeleton Watch ($200) | There is nothing like opening a great looking watch on Christmas day and this is one great looking watch.  I am not sure if you have to pay $200 for a watch, I am wearing a good looking Timex that I bought for $10 that generates a lot of compliments.  Another watch I have was purchased for less than $30 that has provoked even a decade later that it is the nicest watch people have seen.  I just linked to this one because it looked cool and  I hope it is some inspiration.
  16. Swiss Army Knife | It’s the knife that MacGuyver used.  Do I need to say anything more?

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.

Family Unity

Jordon, Oliver, and Mark Cooper

Wendy snapped this photo of Mark, Oliver, and I playing Madden 07 on my PSP.  The bed we are all flaked out on is a 3/4 bed which is crowded enough with the three of us on there but the photo doesn’t show both Maggi and Hutch sleeping on the bottom of the bed as well.  It was crowded enough that we could not all exhale at the same time.

I am not a big gamer.  I generally use the PSP to watch videos on more than anything but at the cabin I tend to game more.   It’s a combination of a lack of television, Internet, and the fact that Mark loves to play as well.  Although as the photo shows, Mark and I may soon have some competition in the future.