- We gave tickets to the boys and a BB-8 droid this morning. They were up doing their thing and I reminded them they forgot (gasp) one gift. They were shocked when they saw the tickets. Then Oliver started to cry. Really cry. Heartbreakingly cry. He saw Theatre 12 printed on his ticket and took that to mean he had to be 12 to watch the movie. Once we had a that worked out, it was okay.
- The boys loved BB-8. They were recording holographic images and having a blast. The dog on the other hand saw a ball with a head on it and wasn’t impressed on being replaced as the centre of attention.
- As we drove to the Scotiabank Theatre we were early, Oliver wasn’t impressed. When we parked, he leaps out of the car and starts to run to the theatre. Apparently he was excited.
- I enjoyed the larger roll that Chewbacca played.
- It’s nice to see them bring back a swashbuckling character again in Poe Dameron.
- I thought Kylo Ren was one of the worst villians of all of the Star Wars movies. I did enjoy seeing him get his butt kicked by Rey. I know he was wounded by when Finn scored some shots on him, you knew he was mostly the mask and nothing else. This was the fallen Jedi that drove Luke into exile?
- Also, what is the purpose of Kylo Ren. He didn’t really command anything. General Hux was in charge and felt comfortable in challenging him. Vader would have force choked him twice before the movie had reached half way through. Ren seemed to struggle with more psychological issues than any of the other fallen Jedi.
- Yes it’s a franchise reboot but it needed to be. Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, the midget who plays R2D2, they are all old and it’s hard to base a trilogy around them.
- How many times do you have to have your giant space weapon destroyed before you adopt a new strategy? It’s like the dark side is controlled by Saskatoon City Council. Stop making the same mistakes over and over again.
- Why so few Rebel pilots still? The Rebel fleet is of a decent size yet they always keep throughing fairly insignificant amounts of fighters at the Empire/First Order when facing existenial threats. A massive weapon that can destroy the galaxy you call home? Let’s send 30 fighters against it. I know Y-Wings have been around since the Clone Wars but a fighter bomber would have been incredibly helpful here. It’s like the U.S. military with the F-35. One kind of fighter should do it all…
- I don’t really get Leia in this movie. Yes decades of war has been tough but she ignores Chewbacca who she has known since she was captured on the Death Star (she also didn’t give him a medal in Episode IV’s finale) and then now comforts Rey who barely knew Han Solo rather than Chewie who has known him and been his best friends for decades?
- Then despite the entire movie being a desperate struggle to find Luke Skywalker and get his help again, she sends Rey to meet him with Chewbacca and doesn’t go herself?
- It was worth the price of admission and in two years I’ll be doing it all over again.
"The issue was ultimately, they looked at the stories and they said, ‘We want to make something for the fans,’" Lucas said. "People don’t actually realize it’s actually a soap opera and it’s all about family problems – it’s not about spaceships. So they decided they didn’t want to use those stories, they decided they were going to do their own thing so I decided, ‘fine…. I’ll go my way and I let them go their way.’"
This marks the first time Lucas is not intimately involved, which Lucas compared to a breakup.
"When you break up with somebody, the first rule is no phone calls. The second rule, you don’t go over to their house and drive by to see what they’re doing," he said laughing. "The third one is you don’t show up at their coffee shop and say you are going to burn it… You just say ‘Nope, gone, history, I’m moving forward.’"
Before we feel bad for George Lucas, how many billions of dollars did he get from Disney? So Lucas gets $4.06 billion to sell Lucasfilm and now is sad they didn’t want his ideas. Well, I hope the $4 billion is enough to console them.
Hey, itâ€™s Christmas Day this morning.
Like we normally do, we spent Christmas Eve with Lee, Brittany, and Camdyn. Â We often spend Christmas Day with the Reimers but with them in Hawaii and having celebrated with them already, we woke up and opened gifts today at home.Â
Here is what everyone got.
He wasnâ€™t really expecting anything like that so he was pretty blown away. Â Mark had amazing parent teacher interviews and then stopped working so his first report card was brutal. Â He then has worked really hard since then but deep down I think he was expecting a lump of coal. Â Since he is grounded from all television and media until his marks improve, he will appreciate this reprieve. Â I am hoping this helps him the new year. Â If not, at least he can use it to play Angry Birds Transformers. Â
Wendy gave him aÂ VIA RailÂ shoulder bag with a drafting book inside. Â Itâ€™s a murse!
TheÂ dogs got him the same kind ofÂ photography glovesÂ that Wendy also got.
Maggi and Hutch gave him and OliverÂ PlayStation All-Stars Battle RoyaleÂ so you can imagine them beating each other up playing that. Â
I also gave him aÂ andÂ a brand newÂ Pentax 35mm f2.4 lensÂ which shocked him all over again because that is how I roll. Â He had been saving up for the lens for a bit and was pretty shocked that we got it for him.
As for Oliver, Wendy gave himÂ a giant X-Wing fighter. Â It is huge and he was thrilled. Â Attack runs on the Death Star have already commenced.Â
I gave him a toyÂ AH-64 Apache attack helicopterÂ Â
Mark got him aÂ Lego Star Wars Snow Speeder. Â I just realized I now how to help him assemble this thing. Â It comes with two lego characters. Â Luke Skywalker and that guy that was crushed by the AT-AT. Â So yeah, thatâ€™s great. Â
Wendy and I also gave him a Nikon S31 waterproof digital camera. Â It was an old one of mine that I didnâ€™t use once in 2014. Â Maggi and Hutch got him a Calgary Flames camera case that is styled like a mini backpack to carry his camera in.
Wendy also gave him a giant 200 piece art set. Â Heâ€™ll love it.
He asked Santa Claus for some grown up binoculars and old St. Nick came through for him and got him a pairÂ and a tactical flashlight. Santa also surprised him with a remote controlled Ford F-250 truck.
You can imagine how excited he is about all of that. Â You can also imagine how many times all of us have been blinded by his flashlight this morning.
It is her first real prime lens (her other ones are toy lenses) and she is pretty excited about it.
Oliver gave herÂ a new knife setÂ which she has wanted for a while. Â He also gave her a J.A. Henckelsâ€™ Chef Knife that she has been wanting all winter. Â So yeah, we have turned Wendy from a mild mannered person into a well armed killing machine.
Mark gave her a pair of Sennheisser HD 201 headphones.
Mark also gave her a bamboo cutting board and four piece cheese knife set (I had no idea cheese knives were a thing until now). Â Both of these will be used for a large charcuterie board tomorrow afternoon for lunch.
Mark also gave her a pair of Thinsulate photography gloves so she can get outside and use her camera more this winter.
Santa Claus gave WendyÂ a new LED tactical flashlight. Â She wasnâ€™t thrilled that it was bright pink or that it was called the â€œMaidenâ€ but she does love that it is powerful enough to blind Oliver and Mark if shown in their eyes. Â I just told her that Santa was trolling her. Â Santa also got her theÂ same pair of binoculars that he gave Oliver.
I was spoiled for Christmas.Â
Thanks to everyone, I really appreciate the gifts.
Today we will take some cameras out for a walk and then I will be home debating with Oliver whether or not an AH-64 attack helicopter has a chance against a X-Wing fighter.
I hope your Christmas has been as enjoyable as ours wherever you are reading this from.
Having raised Mark to the point where he is now in high school and with Oliver in Grade 1, I have some experience in Christmas shopping for school aged boys.Â You can read my gift guide for teenagers here and my ideas for what to get a school aged boy below.Â If you have any other suggestions or ideas, let me know in the comments.
Includes Batman, Man-Bat and Night Wing (who used to be Robin).Â You child will be saving Gotham non-stop with this set.
All-new Fire HD 6 or Fire HD 7 tabletâ€”with 1 year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, Kid-Proof Case, and a 2-year worry-free guarantee
- A real tablet, not a toyâ€”A quad-core processor for great performance, a vivid HD display, front and rear-facing cameras, and Dolby Audio
- Built for even the toughest kidsâ€”Enjoy the peace of mind with an unprecedented 2-year worry-free guaranteeâ€”if they break it, return it and we’ll replace it for free. No questions asked
- Don’t worry about the billâ€”The Kids Edition includes a year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited so kids get unlimited access to 5,000 books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and gamesâ€”at no additional cost. Learn more
- Starts in Amazon FreeTimeâ€”Built from the ground up for kids, the background color and fonts change to a kid-friendly design. Kids can navigate visually to content based on characters or topics. Parents can exit Amazon FreeTime mode with a passcode
- Best-in-class parental controlsâ€”Personalize screen time limits, set educational goals, and choose which titles kids can access from your own personal content collection
- Take and edit photos in Amazon FreeTimeâ€”Snap photos within Amazon FreeTime mode using front and rear cameras. Fun editing tools lets kids explore their creative side by adding stickers, drawing on their pictures, and more
- Kid-Proof Caseâ€”Durable, lightweight case to protect against drops and bumps caused by kids at play.
We gave OliverÂ Wendyâ€™s old Kobo Vox tablet last year.Â We tossed on some educational games, some apps, and he loves it.Â We did the same with an old 2nd Gen iPod Touch that we loaded up with music.Â He is careful and responsible with it.Â With the Amazon Fire HD case and apps, it makes introducing your child to a computer even easier.
This time it is Spiderman saving The Daily Bugle and J. Jonah Jamieson from certain doom.Â The only question I have is, will Peter Parker get a picture of Spiderman.
Nerf guns are all over our house.Â There is nothing quite like wandering down into my basement and being ambushed by both my kids.Â If you want to add to their arsenal of fun Nerf weapons that are good inside and out, consider the Nerf Mega ThunderBow Blaster.Â Five bullets and lots of fun.
If you want to survive those ambushes, you may want to pick up one of these for yourself.
There are a great gift.Â Indoor hockey played on your knees has been a Canadian tradition for decades.Â So has mothers complaining about having to patch the knees of pants.Â Of course with them being sized or indoor use, they are perfect for when it is too cold to play outside.
The old classic is still around.Â It includes 86 all wood pieces.
If you donâ€™t have your own Batcave, this is the second best thing.
How cool is this.Â An R2-D2 that projects the time onto the walls.Â â€œHelp me Obi-Wan, you are our only hope of waking up on timeâ€¦â€
A great option for the kid who struggles to wake up is the Lego Star Wars Storm Trooper alarm clock.Â Plus nothing helps you sleep well than knowing you are beside an elite trooper who lost a key battle to a bunch of Ewoks.
- $24 from Amazon.Â If your child is superhero fan more than Star Wars, there are Batman and Superman Lego alarm clocks for $30
We passed down an iPod Shuffle to Oliver a couple of years ago.Â It is small and easy for him to use.Â Even the 2gb version is enough to load him up with music for the longest of roadtrips.Â Combine it with these kid-friendly Batman Headphones and you have a gift that they will love as much as you love the silence.
Kid Safe headphones have a volume limiter meaning that your child will not be at risk of hearing damage.Â Over the ear design also means that they wonâ€™t get headaches either.Â Â Itâ€™s a great add on to the Kindle Fire for Kids or the iPod Shuffle.
Sometimes kids want to listen to their music out loud!Â For those times, a portable, small, and rechargeable speaker that provides great sound is the way to go.Â Â Â It provides great sound but wonâ€™t overpower your house.Â Â The also have a modular “Buddy-Plug” Design: Integrated stowaway 3.5mm stereo audio jack plug and socket connects multiple XBOOM Mini Portable Capsule speakers together for maximum sound.Â So if one isnâ€™t getting the job done, you can keep adding speakers.Â They are compatible with any device that has a headphone jack, so phones, iPods, or any MP3 player.
Despite the game being for players 10 and older, Oliver has been loving the game for a couple of years.Â Â Instead of getting your child a game that only they will like for a year or two, why not start them playing some games the entire family can play for a lifetime?
Remember your first H0 model train set?Â How about a set that is modelled afterÂ Colorado’s oldest scenic line?Â It combines rich history, spectacular views and stylish accommodations into a train that takes you on a 24-mile journey through the 1,000 Feet deep Royal Gorge. Passengers travel alongside the Arkansas River on a ribbon of rail for an up-close nature show deep in the canyon, observing bald eagles, blue heron, bighorn sheep, mule deer, and flora native to the gorge.
How much fun would any kid have opening this set on Christmas morning?
The Hohner HAG250P is a handcrafted classical guitar with an Agathis top back and sides. This wood match-up creates a crisp texture to the overall sound of the instrument. The smaller scale of this instrument (considered 1/2 sized) is specially designed with the younger player in mind and is highly recommended for the players that are starting between the ages of 5-9. This instrument also comes equipped with light gauge nylon strings for easier fingering as to not discourage the first time player.
Spy Gear for His Latest Adventure
Utility Belt with Micro Spy Tools like a Micro Ear Light, Micro Listener, Micro Motion Alarm and Invisible Ink Pen on every surveillance mission
The coolest utility belt that doesnâ€™t belong to Batman.
Because every great adventure needs a team and a two mile radius is very, very impressive.
The imminent news of Johnsonâ€™s hiring comes after Star Wars owner Lucasfilm appointed two other young directorsâ€”one of whom directed Chronicle and the other the recent smash, Godzillaâ€”to helm Star Wars films that for the first time will not be part of a single saga. The spin-offs, rumored to star Yoda and Boba Fett, were part of the plan when Walt Disney acquired Lucasfilm for $4 billion in 2012. Disney seems to be following the game plan of its other subsidiary, Marvel, which it bought for the same price in 2011.
By hiring talented but untested directors and taking some creative risks, Marvel set out to create individual franchises set in the same world, just as in the comics. In this way, audiences have bought into individual characters like Iron Man and Captain America, and each exists as its own money-spinning franchise against the backdrop of a larger universe. Fans are buying into a characterâ€™s journey, rather than a Marvel sequel. And stories that unite the universe, such as The Avengers, become must-see global blockbusters that bring together these different fan-bases once every few years. The Marvel method has upended the blockbuster formula, which, ironically, was created by the original Star Wars film in 1977.
Will Disney be able to do the same with Star Wars, credibly expanding the universe beyond the story of the Skywalkers? We will begin to find out when the next film, Episode VII, currently filming with the original cast under the hands of Star Trek director JJ Abrams, is released in December 2015.
Hey look, they just got their butts handed to them by the Toydaria Wattos.
Patton Oswalt’s Star Wars Filibuster on Parks and Recreation.
No wonder why George Lucas wanted it destroyed.
Wired has the details of this amazing marketing ploy to promote yet another release of Star Wars.
Itâ€™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.Â As he said, â€œBill Clinton lost the nuclear launch codes and nothing bad happened.â€Â Well what happened is that I am posting a gift guide for what to get the men in your life.Â 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?Â 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.Â He has sat out the last two upgrades but now the iPod Touch has a new high resolution screen, camera, and Facetime.Â Even I can see itâ€™s time to upgrade and get him a new one.Â Â The iPod Touch is a music player, gaming platform, video player, and a Personal Information Manager.Â Jordon carries his with him each day.Â If your loved one doesnâ€™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.Â 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.Â Here are a couple of suggestions
- God of War: Ghost of Sparta
- Tom Clancyâ€™s End War
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories | Not sure what Jordon sees in this game but him and Mark love to play it.Â It must be the reckless driving, high speed chases, and random violence.
- FIFA 11 | Jordon once asked, â€œWhy do people play soccer?Â So they donâ€™t have to watch it on television.â€Â I am sure that is why he likes to play it on his PSP.
- Grand Tourismo
- Call of Duty: Roads to Victory
Amazon Kindle with Wifi | Jordon loves books but he hates taking books back and forth to the cabin.Â 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.Â Â The Kindle also works well with Instapaper, RSS feeds, and can access the web.Â While itâ€™s not a iPad, itâ€™s not just a book reader either.Â One of the things that pushed Jordon towards wanting a Kindle was itâ€™s support for major newspapers like;
- The New York Times ($19.99/month)
- International Herald Tribune ($19.99/month)
- The Globe and Mail ($15.99/month)
- National Post ($14.99/month)
- The Washington Post ($23.99/month)
- The StarPhoenix ($13.99/month)
- USA Today ($23.99/month)
- Slate ($8.99/month)
- 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.Â I am not the news junkie that Jordon is but I was surprised that you canâ€™t get Macleans or Sports Illustrated yet.Â Maybe down the road.
While it doesnâ€™t have the feature set that the Kindle does, you may also be interested in Chapterâ€™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).Â If you have never watched a movie with 5.1 channel surround sound, you have no idea what you are missing.Â Itâ€™s a gift everyone in the family with thank you for getting.Â It even hooks up to an iPod and if you want to go old school, the radio.Â $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 Fatherâ€™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.Â It is by far the greatest television show that I have ever watched on television and I was sad when it ended.Â I could go on but Jason Kottke has devoted so much energy blogging The Wire over the last couple of years, Iâ€™ll send you there.Â Iâ€™ll give you a warning though, this is not a series you will watch with anyone under the age of 16.Â It is brutally violent, offensive language and the occasional sex scene.Â 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.Â 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.Â The J.W. Hulme leather duffle bag is the Rolls Royce of carry-ons.Â Â Itâ€™s the kind of bag that says, â€œIâ€™m better than you and I am not afraid to talk about itâ€.Â The bag is made out of distressed leather and then refined by buffing and antiquing each bag by hand which gives it itâ€™s one in a kind look.Â Itâ€™s only $899 and available at J.W. Hulme.Â At that price, I would leave the price tag visible.Â Now Jordon really wants one but we have a rule around here.Â 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 Manâ€™s Fight to Save the World by Samantha Power | I havenâ€™t read it yet but Jordon said it was the best book he read in 2010.Â Â The book is about Sergio Vieira de Melloâ€™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.Â 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.Â While the book was quite compelling, it has also been made into a HBO movie.Â 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 Jordonâ€™s favourite books of 2010.Â After falling in love with The Wire, Jordon went out and bought both of David Simonâ€™s books, Homicide and The Corner.Â 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.Â 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.Â 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.Â $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.Â It would look great hanging up at the cabin.Â The best part about darts is that you donâ€™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.Â It has a microphone jack which means that you can easily add an external 1/8 microphone for even better sound.Â Â Â 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
- Silicon protective skin | Keeps your Zi8 safe and free of fingerprints.Â $14.34 from Amazon
- Kodak remote control | Easy to use remote control making remote shots a lot easier. $7.06 from Amazon
- Audio Technica Lavalier Omnidirectional Condenser Microphone | The main benefit of the Zi8 is allows for an external microphone.Â The lavalier microphone is for video use, or any other application where minimum visibility and a low profile are desired. $17 from Amazon
- Sima Ultra Bright Video Light
- 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 hotÂ $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.Â For $9.99 from Amazon itâ€™s a great addition to any oneâ€™s camera bag.Â $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.Â $599 from Amazon
If you arenâ€™t looking for a DSLR but want more control than a compact point and shoot, check out the Fujifilm s2000HD with 15x zoom.Â Â 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.Â 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 doesnâ€™t offer these in Canada, if they did, we would be getting one for the cabin.Â Itâ€™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.Â Â 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.Â It has no character, it doesnâ€™t wear well and in the end itâ€™s a waste of money.Â If your loved one travels at all, you may want to consider a luggage upgrade and L.L. Bean has a great option.Â 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.Â This convenient duffle is easy to pack and even easier to transport. It opens wide like a doctorâ€™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.Â 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.Â Itâ€™s a sleek, silver-tone update of a classic style which combines 17-jewel mechanical movement with a skeleton dial.Â 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
- November 1st | 2010 Christmas Gift Guide for Tween Boys
- November 4th | 2010 Christmas Gift Guide for the Sports Fan
- November 8th | 2010 Christmas Gift Guide for the Outdoorsman
- November 11th | 2010 Christmas Gift Guide for Wives/Mothers of Your Kids
- November 15th | 2010 Christmas Gift Guide for Really Smart People
- November 18th | 2010 Christmas Gift Guide for Toddlers
- November 22nd | 2010 Christmas Gift Guide for Husbands and Fathers (guest post by Wendy)
- November 25th | 2010 Christmas Gift Guide for Geeks and Gadget Lovers
- December 2nd | 2010 Christmas Gift Guide for the Road Warrior
In case you are looking, here are the 2009 Gift Guides
- 2009 Christmas Gift Guide for Tween Boys
- 2009 Christmas Gift Guide for the Sports Fan
- 2009 Christmas Gift Guide for the Outdoorsman
- 2009 Christmas Gift Guide for the Geeks and Gadget Lovers
- 2009 Christmas Gift Guide for Really Smart People
- 2009 Christmas Gift Guide for Kids Under Two Years of Age
- 2009 Christmas Gift Guide for Fathers
- 2009 Christmas Gift Guide for Wives (and the mother of your kids)
- 2009 Christmas Gift Guide for the Road Warrior
- 2009 Christmas Gift Guide for Your Hard to Shop For Co-Workers
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 ofÂ Christmas gift guidesÂ here.
This is Wendy and this is what happens when Jordon doesnâ€™t log out of his weblog and leaves me unattended.Â Since Jordon handles most of our Christmas shopping, I donâ€™t have to spend as much time thinking about Christmas gifts as Jordon does.Â By far the hardest person to shop for on our Christmas list is my brother in law Lee.Â 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 donâ€™t just go through the motions.Â 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 siteâ€™s Christmas Gift Ideas.
Here is Leeâ€™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.Â Itâ€™s almost intimidating buying anything for his apartment.Â Itâ€™s actually intimidating to hang out in his apartment.Â Of course living in an apartment means that he doesnâ€™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 doesnâ€™t have a lot of time for hobbies.
He is Jordonâ€™s brother and an uncle to the boys which means that Lee is an expert shopper himself.Â 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 arenâ€™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.Â 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 letâ€™s do the math.Â 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.Â If he wasnâ€™t over watching the DVDs here, you could give him all three seasons of Survivorman on DVD.Â You can order them from the Les Stroud Productions store.Â Season 1 | Season 2 | Season 3.Â We have all three DVDs and they are a lot of fun to watch.Â You can also order them from Amazon as well.Â Season 1 |Season 2 | Season 3.Â 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.Â Wired has a quick real world review and it looks like Cabelaâ€™s is one of the few places you can get it in Canada.
The War: An Intimate History by Ken Burns.Â Jordon read this book this summer and thought it was amazing.Â He spend hours reading the book but then went back and just soaked in the photos.Â 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.Â You can also give your favorite in-law the mini series on DVD as well
I canâ€™t see Lee joining the competitive BBQ sub culture but in case he does, here are secrets for success as a professional griller.Â Whether itâ€™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.Â Even if he doesnâ€™t turn pro, he will make life better for everyone this summer at the cabin.Â There is also Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book: Recipes and Secrets from a Legendary Barbecue Joint.Â Â 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 Jordonâ€™s and it would make a great gift for Lee as well.Â 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.Â While he is travelling, some custom Saskatchewan Roughriders luggage tags might be a cool stocking stuffer.Â If you are shopping for someone who does some hiking, donâ€™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 Jordonâ€™s Christmas Gift Guides and also to help some of you find a fun gift for the hard to shop for in your life.Â If you have any thoughts, leave a comment below, e-mail me at email@example.com or check out my weblog.
If 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 ofÂ Christmas gift guidesÂ here.
Okay itâ€™s November 1 which means that it is the official start of the holiday shopping season.Â The team of helper monkeys at JordonCooper.com are here to help and will be publishing holiday gift guides for men once a week during the month of November which will give you no excuse for having to do last minute shopping in December.Â Why so early, well while you were sleeping last night, the malls have torn down their Halloween decorations and now look like Santaâ€™s Toy Workshop and already department stores are starting to have Boxing Day sales to get rid of stuff that not even their buyers would give as gifts.Â Plus, who likes last minute gift buying stress.Â Todayâ€™s gift buying guide is for those geeky guys in your life.
R2D2 :: He is the ultimate gadget and having both served Anakin Skywalker and Luke Skywalker, he is built to last.Â For $200, you can bring him home and reunite him with his proper master.Â In addition to helping keep your X-Wing fighterâ€™s deflector shields online, this state-of-the-art R2 series astromech droid unit is ready to obey your commands.Â You can grab his attention by saying “Hey, R2” and he’s ready for more than 40 voice commands.Â He remembers his famous friends, like Luke Skywalker, C-3PO or Jabba the Hutt, and each name will stir up a different response depending on R2’s “feelings” for that character.Â | $199.99 (USD)
Swiss Army Knife :: For those times when R2D2 is busy doing something else, you canâ€™t beat an authentic Swiss Army Knife.Â Not just any Swiss Army knife but the same model that MacGyver himself used.Â I know Leathermanâ€™s are the now in vogue but there are times when the old school approach works best.Â For me, my grandfather carried a jack knife with him every day of his life and while I donâ€™t carry one that often, it reminds me of some family roots and a time where everyone did. | $17 (USD)
Stuhrling Original Men’s Special Reserve Chernabog Skeleton Mechanical Watch :: All men need a watch that turns heads and for $250, this one does exactly that.Â Â This stunning timepiece does not have a rotor attached to the movement, so you must manually window the crown to keep it running, a design that puts you in touch with the artistry and precision of automatic movement. Its remarkable 17-jewel mechanical engine can hold 40 hours of power reserve on its ample mainspring, while a silver-tone tonneau case with exhibition back lends durability. Water resistant to 165 feet.Â | $249 (USD)
MoviePix HD Camera :: I bought one of these last year and I have come to love it.Â While there is nothing wrong with the Flip HD camera and I have heard rave reviews about the new Kodak Zi8, this has been a great camera for us.Â The nice thing about it is vs. the Flip is that it allows for external SD cards.Â The 8 gig card I have allows me to record 2 hours of video on it.Â While you are it, why not pick up Magix Movie Edit Pro 15, a great little video editing program for $60 (or less).Â If you arenâ€™t sure whether or Movie Edit Pro will meet your needs, you can download a free trial (itâ€™s a 196MB download).Â For those of you who are interested in the Kodak Zi8 or the Flip Ultra HD, here is a side by side review of the two cameras. | $123
The Death Star Lego Kit :: Does Lego know itâ€™s audience or what?Â At 3,803 pieces, you arenâ€™t getting this for the kids or even letting the kids come into the room where it is housed.Â It includes the Superlaser control room and target monitor, Imperial conference chamber, TIE Advanced hangar bay with moving launch rack, Emperor’s throne room, droid maintenance room, detention block & trash compactor.Â Along with it comes 6 new and exclusive minifigures and droids only found in this set: Luke Skywalker and Han Solo in their Stormtrooper outfits, the assassin droid, interrogation droid, Death Star droid and 2 Death Star Troopers.Â The Death Star measures 41cm tall and 42cm wide and the TIE Advanced measures 9cm wide.Â | $529.95 (USD)
Genetics Kit by National Geographic :: If you have read the book 1491, you know that your ancestors left â€œmarkersâ€ on your DNA that can be traced back tens of thousands of years (doh! There goes my young earth readership).Â For someone like Wendy who is from Guyana, a culture rich in cross cultural marriage because slavery.Â Â Your results will reveal your deep ancestry along a single line of direct descent (paternal or maternal) and show the migration paths they followed thousands of years ago. Your results will also place you on a particular branch of the human family tree. Some anthropological stories are more detailed than others, depending upon the lineage you belong to. For example, if you are of African descent, your results will show the initial movements of your ancestors on the African continent, but will not reflect most of the migrations that have occurred within the past 10,000 years. Your individual results may confirm your expectations of what you believe your deep ancestry to be, or you may be surprised to learn a new story about your genetic background.Â You will not receive a percentage breakdown of your genetic background by ethnicity, race, or geographic origin. Nor will you receive confirmation of an association with a particular tribe or ethnic group.Â 23 and Me also offers DNA tests for $99 which offer a wider range of ancestry options. | $99 (USD)
If your toddler is a bit of a geek, you may want to consider the Radio Flyer Retro Rocket.Â Yes they are probably still in diapers but it is never to young to start preparing them for a career in NASA. | $72.87 (USD)
Moleskine Large Sketchbook :: The Moleskine Large Sketchbook is made with top quality heavy paper and is perfect for on the go drawings sketches and tempera colors. Every Moleskine product is thread bound and has a cardboard bound cover with rounded corners acid free paper a bookmark an elastic closure and an expandable inner pocket that contains the Moleskine history. | $12.21 (USD). If you are like me and prefer the smaller sketchbooks, Dollarama carries a rip off Moleskine for $1.50 a piece.Â A great stocking stuffer for the freeform thinker in your family.
Maxell iPod Charging Dock :: I have one of these at the lake that I have hooked up to a mini stereo system.Â As soon as we walk into the cabin, an iPod Nano or Touch is hooked in, charged up, and playing music.Â Looking back at it, I should have bought three of them.Â One for the office, one for home, and one for the cabin.Â It really is a great tool for us iPod addicts. | $14 (USD)
Koda iPod Dock :: I fell in love with this audio and video dock for your iPod the first time I saw it.Â With a wooden case and classic design, it will look great anywhere in the house or den and they sound great.Â In addition to playing your music, they are designed to play video as well.Â YouTube never looked so good.Â They are $39.99 (Can) at XS Cargo or $50.79 (USD) at Amazon.com.
Sangean WR-1 AM/FM Wooden Cabinet Radio :: At the lake there are a couple of times when a great radio would be really handy, like when the Saskatchewan Roughriders are playing on a Saturday afternoon.Â Yes a satellite radio is cool but not all sports are on XM and Sirius (which boggles my mind) and there are times when what you want to listen to is being played locally.Â If that is the case, this is the radio you want.Â The WR-1 is the culmination of 30 years of experience in the design and manufacture of quality, state-of-the-art radios.Â Plus, CBC and NPR sound better in a radio that looks like this. | $91.36
One of the secrets of the house is that I do all of the Christmas shopping.Â Wendy sees it as a task to endure, I see it as a work of art.Â We know who gets the better Christmas gifts around here.Â At the same time I keep hearing for people that they donâ€™t know what to get for their husbands, sons, and fathers.Â I have been giving out tips lately and I thought that I would post them here.Â 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.Â We have a pretty simple Christmas but I enjoy looking for the perfect gift.Â 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.Â Wendy and I think the same way.
- Ohio Fine Fountain Pen | Give a nice pen this Christmas.Â 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.Â For that, you need a good pen for a reasonable price.Â This is a fine fountain pen and you can get it for only $20.Â Make sure you order some refills as well.
- Whatâ€™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.Â Since tasers are still illegal for personal use in Canada, why not pick up a personal library set instead ($19.95).Â Of course you canâ€™t buy them integrity but you will be able to get your books back.Â 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.Â They may be vain but they are in good company.
- Leica M8 | Is there a better gift for a loved one that a Leica camera?Â At only $5995.00, you can get one for your favorite blogger as well.Â 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.Â Of course you canâ€™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.
- 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.Â 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).Â The one thing that you will want to pick up for it is some extra batteries.Â 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.Â If you have kids this is the way to go.Â 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.Â While you are at it, pick up a video editing suite that is better than Microsoft Movie Maker.Â Check out Movie Magix ($45) (download free trial here) for an affordable but functional movie editing software for Windows.Â If he has a Mac, he has iMovie and he is taking care of.
- McFarlane Toys ($15) | As boys we loved our Star Wars and GI Joe action figures.Â Our tastes have matured a bit but so have our action figures.Â 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.Â 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.Â I got some of mine at Wal-Mart for $5.Â Just make sure you donâ€™t get the Grant Fuhr in a Calgary Flames uniform or something stupid that could get him beat up by Calgary and Edmonton fans.
- America at War Megaset ($60) | 25 DVDs of American history by the History Channel.Â This is a great gift for the history buff that gets on your nerves.Â Not only do you make him happy but he wonâ€™t leave his den until September 2009.Â You can thank me later as you will have all sorts of time.
- Neumann Gloves ($35)| If he played football in high school, he had a pair of Neumann gloves and I bet he misses them.Â When wet, they actually get tacky which is helpful should a random stranger fire a football at him while it is raining.Â The leather palms almost make for a durable glove which are good for playing slo-pitch or mountain biking.Â It is also guaranteed to get the ball tossed to him during touch football games even if he does move slower than Shaquille Oâ€™Neal playing defense.Â If he lives in Canada or is just a CFL fan, get him the winter receiver gloves.
- 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.Â 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.
- 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.Â Well itâ€™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.Â It even has a remote.
- 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.Â The brighter your shirt, the better the connection.
- Sony PSP 2000 ($169) | I know itâ€™s been out for a couple of years but after having one for a year I canâ€™t recommend it enough.Â 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.Â I have a 2 gig memory stick that I load up with YouTube videos and documentaries from Google Video.Â Spluge a bit and get the 8 gig card and you have a great travelling machine.Â 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.
- University of Saskatchewan basketball tickets ($8) | This is pretty localized but if you are in Saskatoon and you havenâ€™t been to a Huskies basketball game, you are missing out.Â The PAC is a great place to watch a game and the Huskies play an entertaining style of basketball.Â Courtside tickets are only $15 and you have your own waiter/waitress.
- â€œ Roughriders Driveâ€ Sign ($20) | This metal sign will be perfect for your cabin or den and if you arenâ€™t a Roughrider fan, you can a variation of the classic street sign with your own teams name on it.Â Of course all of you are Rider fans so this wonâ€™t be an issue.
- Noise Cancelling Headphones ($35) | If your loved on travels a lot and doesnâ€™t have a pair, this should be at the top of your list.Â Until you have flown with a pair of these on, you have no idea how much easier they make flying.
- 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.Â 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.Â 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.Â I just linked to this one because it looked cool andÂ I hope it is some inspiration.
- Swiss Army Knife | Itâ€™s the knife that MacGuyver used.Â Do I need to say anything more?
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 ofÂ Christmas gift guidesÂ here.
Mark, Wendy, Oliver and I watched Star Wars: Clone Wars movie tonight. Mark had a good time but there went two hours that I will never get back again. I was a little disappointed in the animation. It felt more like watching a two hour cartoon rather than an animated movie. I guess when you have come out with such television classics in the past, keeping the streak alive is hard to do, even if you are George Lucas.