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Survivorman

Survivorman 10

Wahoo! Survivorman is back for a fourth season where Les Stroud is outside for 10 days now without food or water.  Check out the trailer below.

You can purchase the fourth season of Survivorman on Les Stroud’s website for $29.  After you are done watching the trailer, check out Les Stroud’s “Best Story Ever” on The Hour.

Christmas Gift Guide: For Your Husband/Boyfriend/Men in Your Life | 2011 Edition

It’s Wendy again and I am pretty lucky as Jordon does all of the Christmas shopping in our family and over the years he has created some incredible gift guides for his website which have generated a loyal following.  I traditionally write the Gift Guide husbands/boyfriends/fathers and this year I get to kick off the festivities as mine will go first.  How cool is that?  Hopefully I don’t disappoint and as always if you have good ideas, leave them in the comments below.

Leatherman New Wave Multitool | Last year Lee went out and bought Jordon a nice multi-tool and he has used it every day since then.  It’s amazing how many times it has come in handy around the house or when we have been out driving or at the lake.  It’s been used to fix the car, perform first aid, cut down a tree, screw in more than one screw, and open many a package.  You really don’t realize how handy and indispensible they are until you don’t have one around.  We have picked up some less inexpensive ones over the years and we keep one in both of our car safety kits and also up at the cabin.  If the guy you are shopping for doesn’t have one, get him one.
($62 at Amazon.com)

iPod Touch | If the guy you are shopping for has an iPhone then don’t bother but if he has an Android or Blackberry powered phone, don’t buy into the hype that they can listen to music with it.  They can but you can’t use iTunes and it’s a big time drain on the battery.  Get them a 4th generation iPod Touch and let them put their videos and music on it.  For Jordon, his iPod has many of the same apps that his phone does, it means that he can grab it any time he needs it, even if his phone is out of reach or charging.  Plus no matter how easy people tell you it is to get music on your Android or Blackberry, iTunes makes it easier.  While it won’t replace your HD camcorder, there was been a lot of times when we have it with us and it takes excellent HD video.  Photos are generally grainy but the video is good to excellent.
(32gb for $279 at Amazon.com)

Seinheisser CX 500-B headphones | Whatever you do, upgrade his headphones. The Apple headphones may be iconic but they aren’t very comfortable. Instead try the CX 500’s which are high quality, noise-isolating ear-canal phones with a crisp, clear, bass driven stereo sound. They feature a volume control integrated in the cable and come with a new, unique type of ear adapter for an improved fit and an even better passive noise attenuation.
($30 at Amazon.com)

Kindle Fire/Kobo Vox | If a iPad is out of your price range and you don’t want a Blackberry Playbook (not many of us do), why not look at an Android powered Kindle Fire or if you are in Canada, check out the Kobo Vox.  They aren’t iPads but they are not $500 either.  They allow you to install apps, read books, watch some video, install apps surf the web, play Angry Birds, tweet, and check email easily.

Which one should get?  Amazon has a faster tablet while the Kobo Vox is available in Canada.  There have been some pretty annoying issues with the Kobo Vox as Kobo has a reputation of shipping before it it is ready.  They have however released five firmware updates which means that the Vox is getting better with each release.
(Both are $200 at Amazon.com or Chapters)

Steve Jobs by Walter Issacson | Read the summary and tell me that the tech geek in your life won’t want to read this.  Plus, after he is done with it, you can read it.

Based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.

At a time when America is seeking ways to sustain its innovative edge, and when societies around the world are trying to build digital-age economies, Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness and applied imagination. He knew that the best way to create value in the twenty-first century was to connect creativity with technology. He built a company where leaps of the imagination were combined with remarkable feats of engineering.

Although Jobs cooperated with this book, he asked for no control over what was written nor even the right to read it before it was published. He put nothing off-limits. He encouraged the people he knew to speak honestly. And Jobs speaks candidly, sometimes brutally so, about the people he worked with and competed against. His friends, foes, and colleagues provide an unvarnished view of the passions, perfectionism, obsessions, artistry, devilry, and compulsion for control that shaped his approach to business and the innovative products that resulted.

Driven by demons, Jobs could drive those around him to fury and despair. But his personality and products were interrelated, just as Apple’s hardware and software tended to be, as if part of an integrated system. His tale is instructive and cautionary, filled with lessons about innovation, character, leadership, and values.

($18 at Amazon.com)

The Wire | Season 1 ($21)| Season 2 ($21.49) | Season 3 ($21.49) |Season 4 ($21.49) | Season 5 ($21.49) | Complete Series ($149) | If you haven’t seen The Wire, you are missing out on one of the best shows ever made for television.  It’s more than the acting and the writing, it’s the concept of dedicating an entire season to one story and crime and letting it unfold.  I have watched the entire series twice with Jordon and it gets better wit age.  I really is worth watching and owning.  It would be a fantastic gift to any man on your Christmas gift.
(All seasons available at Amazon.com by clicking on the season link)

Ken Burns: Prohibition |  Well let’s see you have Ken Burns telling the story of prohibition so you have gangsters, smugglers, corrupt cops, good cops, and a government that was comfortable actually poisoning alcohol to keep it from being consumed.  Yeah, this is going to be a good documentary series.
($19 at Amazon.com)

Mad Men | Jordon got into Mad Men last Christmas and while advertising isn’t my passion, I have come to really enjoy the series.  It’s also reassuring that someone, somewhere is making television worth watching again.
(Season 1 is $10.49 at Amazon.com. Seasons 2, 3, & 4)

Tivoli Model One | Old school AM/FM in a timelessly sleek design. I bought Jordon one a couple of years ago and he loves it.  We actually went and bought a second one for the cabin.  It gets great reception in the middle of nowhere and on a hot summer day when the Saskatchewan Roughriders are playing, it’s a great way to listen on the deck with all of your friends.  The Tivoli Model One has a rich, full sound thanks to sound pioneer Henry Kloss, and the radio has come to be a modern design must-have. This gift is perfect for a desk, in the kitchen- anywhere he can listen to the baseball game, CBC Radio One, or the oldies station.  Another tabletop option worth considering is the classic Sangean WR-11 radio.  Different design but same classic look.
(Tivoli Model One is $149 at Amazon.com | Seagean WR-11 is $80 at Amazon.com)

Wooden Pocket Knife | Jordon’s grandfather carried a wooden pocket knife with him his entire life.  Today while in Eddie Bauer he was surprised to see a great looking wooden pocket knife for sale.  Eleven functions in one beautifully crafted tool: scissors, fish scaler, hook remover, reamer with sewing eye, can opener, Phillips screwdriver, bottle opener, flathead screwdriver, small blade, and large blade.
($15 at Eddie Bauer)

MI5 | I fell in love with this long running BBC series along with Jordon.  This is adult, post-watershed drama clearly inspired by the hard-hitting style of shows as 24 and The Sopranos.  I have never seen a show so willing to kill off major characters but the one that remains (Harry) pulls show all together.  It’s a lot of fun, action packed and even controversial.
(Season 1 is $22 at Amazon.com  Seasons 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 & 9)

Defend the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5 by Christopher Andrew | I bought this book for Jordon tis summer and he really enjoyed it.  It’s not a light read as it is a scholarly history of MI5 but it is readable and incredibly interesting.  I found myself fascinated by some of the stories he would read from it as well as the personalities of the people behind the vaunted intelligence agency.  If you loved one is a fan of history, you can’t go wrong with this book.
($18.15 from Amazon.com)

Fuji Finepix XP20 | Jordon bought this camera this summer and loves it.  It’s waterproof and ruggedized design means that it goes everywhere with him, including the sometimes clear/sometimes murky waters of Last Mountain Lake.  It features 14 megapixels resolution with an impressive 5x wide zoom with dual image stabilization to shoot sharp image quality in any condition. The 2.7 inch LCD is clear and easy to see even in bright conditions and the bright LED lights the way in the dark. Also it is equipped with a strengthened glass lens cover providing outdoor protection. Other features include one touch underwater movie recording, Motion Panorama with automatic stitch, Face Detection, HD Video, and more.
($135 at Amazon.com)

The Power Broker by Robert Caro | Both the postman and myself got hernias when this book was delivered.  It is 1344 pages and a Pulitzer Prize winner about Robert Moses.  Who was Robert Moses?  Well he was the urban designer that changed the face of New York City and much of New England forever.  His car centric urban design probably influenced how we live more than anyone else.  He was feared, hated, and admired all at the same time.  Just as it’s a book about Moses, it’s a biography of New York City.  This book is coming out as a movie (or a long mini-series) next year.  Read the book first.
($16.50 at Amazon.com)

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.
($6.80 at Amazon.com)

Survivorman: The Complete Series | A couple of years ago Jordon was surfing the television and stumbled upon Les Stroud surviving a week in Alaska and all of us got hooked on the show.  We own all three seasons (Season 1, 2, 3) but you can get the entire series in one box from Less Stroud’s online store.  If you are interested in the cultures Stroud interacted with on the show, make sure you check out the complete series of Beyond Survival
($69 from Les Stroud.ca)

Tabletop fountain | It depends on the office environment that your husband works in.  At the Salvation Army Community Services, Jordon’s office was both too hot and too dry.  A tabletop fountain added some humidity into the air and cooled it down a bit.  Just make sure you get him a plug in version, not one that runs on batteries.  It’s one of those things that once the batteries run out, it never gets used again.
($37 from Amazon.com)

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 | I never bought Jordon video games but he has made a sacred vow never to let Mark beat him at a game and so every once in a while Jordon takes a couple of days and beats a game.  This year he beat Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Battlefield: Bad Company, and Call of Duty: World at War and InFamous for the Playstation 3.  While he talks of the sacred vow, deep down he does it to escape and unwind.  If Jordon was creating this list, he would add Infamous 2 and Battlefield 3 to the list.  Depending on how old the game is, you can get them for a really good deal.
(Call of Duty is $59 at Amazon.com)

Kodak Zx5 Playsport | Jordon is a big fan of is Kodak Zi8 camera but Kodak isn’t making them any longer and has instead brought out the Zx5 Playsport.  It’s ruggedized, water proof (even has underwater white balance and shoots stunning video).  While we have a camcorder, you would be amazed at the amount of time we shot great video with our Kodak because we had it with us.
($109 at Amazon.com)

Creative Vado | The third generation of the Creative Vado may not be ruggedized but does have an external microphone port which means that with a lavalier or a shotgun microphone, you are going to get much better audio than you would with most standard camcorders.  Not only is the price right but along with Kodak Playsport, it offers up a wide variety of video options as well.
($79 at Amazon.com)

Note: If you are looking for some inexpensive video editing software, check out this list from PC World.

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

Christmas Gift Guide: Gift Ideas for your 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 GalacticaBattlestar 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 cabinIt’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.

2010 Christmas Gift Guide for the Outdoorsman

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

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

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

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

$114 from Amazon.

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

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

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

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

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

All three seasons of Survivorman on DVD.  You can order them from the Les Stroud Productions storeSeason 1 | Season 2 | Season 3.  We have all three DVDs and they are a lot of fun to watch.  You can also order them from Amazon as well.  Season 1 |Season 2 | Season 3.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Les Stroud’s Beyond Survival

Les Stroud's Beyond Survival - Sri Lanka

As long time readers of this blog know we as a family are big fans of Survivorman as well as Les Stroud’s other projects so it should come as no surprise that we sat around and watched Beyond Survival tonight.  We hadn’t even gone by the opening credits before I said, “we may as well pre-order season one on DVD right now”. 

The point of the show is that Stroud is revisiting and exploring some of the ancient survival forms that he showed in Survivorman as well as showing ancient survival forms that are in danger of disappearing in an age of globalization and modern technology.

Like Survivorman, there is a lot of first person shot that Stroud made popular but unlike Stroud, there is a second camera person which ads a lot of the production.  Of course there are dangerous bugs, poisoness tree sap, and predatorial mammals.

The show is a good one and I was right, I will be purchasing the series on DVD as soon as it comes out.

Man dies in northern Ontario

From the Globe and Mail

Police have found the body of a Toronto man who wanted to test his survival skills in the woods north of Huntsville, Ont.

Richard Code was an avid follower of the television show Survivorman and had taken few supplies on what was to be a weekend trip.

His brother, Stephen Code, said provincial police told him that his brother died of hypothermia.

It dropped to minus 12 at night in the area and snowstorms hit much of southern Ontario during the weekend.

It’s not clear if Mr. Code had formal wilderness training but relatives said much of his knowledge came from watching the television show which features Les Stroud living in the wilderness without food, shelter or equipment.

Mr. Code’s landlady Barbara Ellis said he frequently read books about wilderness survival and would regale her with tales of his adventures.

Wow, I don’t really know what to say.  Having watched all of the Survivorman episodes with Mark, the one thing that you come away with is that this is really, really hard and also there is an emergency team standing by in case things do go bad.  You also get how important it is to have the right supplies with you if you do get sick, hurt, or just plan unlucky.

According to CTV

She said Code would use what he learned in the books to make shelters in the summer using branches and bark.

"He would strip tree bark off the tree in the backyard, and he’d weave them and braid them like rope," she said.

Ellis said Code went on four previous trips without a tent or food, but she was especially nervous about what would turn out to be his final trip to the Huntsville area.

"He’s come back from all these other survival trips but I knew this time he was going up into a snowstorm and I wasn’t very happy about that," she said.

Surviving a weekend in the summer is a lot different than going into the Canadian winter at –25 and a snowstorm.  It’s too bad it ended this way.

2009 in Review

This is late but we all need to deal with disappointment in our lives.

Memorable events for 2009:

Favorite books I read in 2009:

Favorite TV Shows I watched in 2009:

Favorite movies I watched in 2009:

  • Cue tumbleweed.  I never watched a single movie in 2009.  I bought a lot of movies but just never watched any of them. 

Favorite food for 2009:

  • I rediscovered my love of Shreddies.

Best Sporting Moments of 2009:

  • Denver starts the season 6-0.

Worst Sporting Moments of 2009:

  • Toronto Blue Jays stunk, Calgary Flames lost in the playoffs again, Saskatchewan Roughriders can’t count to 12 without going over, Denver firing Mike Shanahan and then alienated most of their talented players.

Christmas Gift Guide: Gift Ideas for the Outdoorsman | 2009 Edition

In case you are shopping for the great outdoorsman, here are a list of suggestions for those who often prefer to outdoors rather than inside.   Check out the Christmas gift ideas category if you are looking for other Christmas Gift Guides.

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

Topeak Alien III Mini Folding Bicycle Tool :: 25 function folding tool with bag will keep you biking all day long, even if your body won’t want you to.

Pelican 1050 waterproof case :: These are great camera/GPS/iPod cases.  They are water proof, padded, floatable, and strong enough to take a lot of abuse in the back of your trunk or any backpack.  They are pretty much indestructible which means that of all of the things you have to worry about, this isn’t one of them.

While this cycling computer/GPS by Garmin may be out of your price range, the Cateye Wireless Bicycle Computer displays speed, max speed, average speed, trip distance, 2nd trip distance, total distance, elapsed time, and a clock for a very affordable price with a big screen for easy viewing.

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

Outdoor Coffee Press :: Now there is no reason to bring that horrible tasting Starbucks Via coffee with you when you go camping or hiking.  Instead bring some fresh ground coffee or loose leaf tea with you and make some excellent coffee when ever you want with this outdoor coffee press.  In case you have never made coffee with a coffee press, check out the definitive guide to making good coffee by Derek Powazek.  Of course you won’t bring a bean grinder with you on most trips but it gives you an idea of what it takes to make a good cup of coffee while on the road.  Of course you need something to drink it from.  You may want to check out some excellent stainless steel coffee mugs/beer mugs to drink from.

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

Coleman Aluminum Cookset :: It’s a four piece cookset for under $9 on Amazon.com.  They weigh almost nothing and have some good reviews.  While they won’t replace your cookware at home.  Coleman has a non-stick set as well.  If you want something stainless steel, Texsport makes a set for under $14.

I already mentioned 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.  Another great watch by Casio is quite a bit less expensive is the Casio Men’s Digital Compass Twin Sensor Sport Watch which goes for $50 and has a compass and thermometer.    I am still a fan of Timex Atlantis 100 watches which you can give with the stainless steel or the more traditional polyurethane strap.   For those of you who are Timex Ironman fans, don’t overlook their latest reincarnation.

All three seasons of Survivorman on DVD.  You can order them from the Les Stroud Productions storeSeason 1 | Season 2 | Season 3.  We have all three DVDs and they are a lot of fun to watch.  You can also order them from Amazon as well.  Season 1 | Season 2 | Season 3.  In case you just want to see how Les Stroud survives in the American wilderness, you can order this DVD as well.

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

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

While we are talking about Les Stroud and Survivorman, you may want to consider his book, Survive!. While it isn’t on Amazon.com, there is another edition with full color photographs and the ultimate edition comes with a DVD as well but the paperback can be picked up at Amazon.com.

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

The Jetboil Personal Cooking System :: Everything you need is stacked and stored inside the 1.0 liter cooking cup. The system lights with the click of a button and within two minutes provides two cups of boiling water for cocoa, coffee, instant soup or a gourmet freeze-dried meal. The newly designed burner secures the igniter, protecting it from bumps along the road. Flash is designed to be one of the safest cooking solutions out there. The cooking cup clips onto the burner, preventing accidental spills, and the fuel canister tripod ensures overall stability. The insulating cozy has a color-changing heat indicator that signals when contents are hot.

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

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

Christmas Gift Guide: 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.

Survivorman

Survivorman Logo Well Mark went Halloweening as Survivorman tonight.  I am not sure where the idea came from (other than we watch the show around here every night on OLN but then again, he didn’t ask to go as Jason Hawes or Grant Wilson from Ghost Hunters). 

We went over the Dollarama and got him an appropriate bandana and a walking stick (he had a multi-tool already).  Wendy put some makeup on him and he looked like he was ready to go out and survive for 7 days without food or water.  The main difference between Mark and Les Stroud is that Mark started went out Halloweening to get his food supplies while Survivorman has to eat grasshoppers, scorpions, and the occasional snake.

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Speaking of eating grasshoppers; Mark and I were watching Survivorman the other night and he was in the desert of Arizona where he was dining on a couple of them.  This is the dialogue that started afterwards.

Mark: I could do that next summer at the cabin.

Jordon: Do what?

Mark: Eat a grasshopper.  They are everywhere.

Jordon: You are going to eat a grasshopper?!

Mark: Yeah, you just take the head off it and the stomach comes out.

Jordon: I was just watching that with you.

Mark: It will be cool.

Jordon: If you go through with it, I will give you $10.

Mark: Awesome, I can eat a grasshopper and get $10.

Silence for a while as Survivorman comes back on television.

Mark: Don’t tell Mom that I am going to eat a grasshopper.

Jordon: I am so telling Wendy that you are going to eat a grasshopper and if you do, it will go on YouTube.

Mark: YouTube, this is going to be awesome.

Jordon: I had a dog that used to eat grasshoppers. 

Mark: Did it sick from tapeworms?

Jordon: I think survival rules are different for dogs.  They eat everything.

As for how Halloween went… it was too cold and miserable to take Oliver out in it and I doubt if we had 30 kids all night come to the door.  Oliver spent his entire night trying to get into the candy and then get away fast enough to a place where he could take the wrapper off of it.

Survivorman

I watched my first episode of Survivorman last night which had Les Stroud taking shelter in Taroka Arm, Alaska.  He was cold, hungry, and battled hypthermia.  He did manage to make a nice shelter but then almost killed himself by starting himself on fire.  The title refers to the host of the show, Canadian filmmaker and survival expert Les Stroud, who uses his vast survival skills to survive for up to seven days alone filming his adventures in remote locales where he brings with him little or no food, water, or equipment. The fact Stroud spends his time alone without a production crew is a major focus of the show (differentiating it from the similarly themed Man vs. Wild).  During the filming of each episode, Stroud is alone and operates all the cameras himself. He is equipped with only his clothes, camera equipment, his harmonica, a Leatherman multi-tool, and often "everyday items" relevant to the episode’s particular survival situation or locale.

I didn’t know what to expect but I really, really enjoyed the show.  I learned a bit, found it pretty entertaining but I found myself quite curious about the technology he uses to film the show (kayak camera mounts, batteries used and other stuff).  I also learned that if even rancid fish can be eaten if cooked properly.  I read that he stopped making Survivorman after season 3 because of the toll it was taking on his body and I can’t blame him.  He looked pretty close to be exhausted while filming the episode Mark and I watched.  Now I need to track down the DVDs.