Tag Archives: presents

Christmas Unboxing Geek Style

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Merry Christmas to all and to all a good haul! This happens to be my favorite holiday, even when I happen to be celebrating it alone. I’m very glad to know you’re here with me (even virtually, in homes of your own).

I bought myself a very cool Boba Fett hoodie this year. I’ve been wanting one forever, so I decided to go ahead and splurge!

I received several really cool gifts from various friends, including some great new LEGO and Star Wars stuff! Thank you to all of you.

I also bought myself a Panasonic DMP-B500 Portable DVD Player. Gosh, how did I ever figure out what it was I really wanted?

YouTube sent a gift to some of the producers, as well. We were asked to go to B&H Photo and Video and choose a few things we knew we could need/use. I chose wisely, knowing I will be broadcasting live soon from CES 2011. I’ll be in the Grand Lobby, and uploading all of the resulting videos to my YouTube account. Thanks so much to the folks at YouTube for these goodies.

ThinkGeek also sent me a nice care package. It was sitting downstairs for at least a week, and I’ve been dying to open it. They sent me the new Bluetooth Keyboard and iPad Case that I’ve had my eyes on for a while now. I also recieved the USB Classic Atari Joystick, the Star Wars Dark Side Coffee, an Otamatone, a Not Here to Make Friends shirt (which I WILL wear in public frequently!), the FML shirt (which again – I WILL wear often!!) and a few other assorted goodies.

What’d you get for Christmas this year?

Gifts for Geeks

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‘Tis better to give than to receive, so they say. It’s true, though. I like to give more than I receive. When it comes to Christmas, I love stocking stuffers the most! How much fun is it to stuff a bunch of things into a big sock and then give it to someone?! They get a whole bunch of presents all at once this way! I’m going to share some stocking stuffer ideas with all of you. All of the following products (other than the LEGO) were sent to me by the manufacturers for review purposes.

  • Mathmos Color Changing Decorative Lighting – This cool little gadget stays lit up, letting you use it for mood lighting – or even a night light! It’s beautiful, and fades in between different colors. It soothes me! Geeks love glowing objects!
  • Griffin Simplifi 3-in-1 – The Simplifi is a great way to save space on your desk. It serves as a dock/charger for your iPod or iPhone. It works as a USB hub. And, best of all.. it’s also a media card reader! It also charges itself via mini-USB!
  • SmartSwipe Card Reader – If you’re worried about security (as you should be these days!), then using the SmartSwipe when ordering something online is a good idea. It’s only available for Windows right now. If you are going to use your credit card online, run it through the SmartSwipe, and let the software transmit your information directly to the website. This eliminates the worry of something like a keylogger capturing your information, because there are no keystrokes entered in conjunction with your card!
  • RetroLink Game Controller – This cool Nintendo NES game controller works on either Mac or Windows systems. Plug it in, and play your favorite games! It works really well, and takes me back to the days of games that I totally miss! I LOVE this!!!
  • IPEVO Point 2 View USB Camera – This is another gadget that I really like. It’s a webcam that works on both OS X and Windows. The cool thing about this particular camera is that it pivots in nearly every direction you can think of! No more messing around for hours on end, attempting to get the perfect angle. This baby makes it easy for you to get it right the first time.
  • SoundClip iPhone Audio Booster – For the iPhone holders in your family who may watch movies or videos on their iPhone, you may want to consider one of these! It plugs in to the bottom of the iPhone, and gives you a much better sound experience. It focuses the sound towards you, instead of away… and amplifies the sound with no batteries needed.
  • MeteorLight LED K9 Ball – This little toy works well for Geeks who like bouncing things with lights… or for the dog in your life! There are little LED lights inside this hard rubber ball, and they’ll change to all the colors in the spectrum when bounced! They’re also waterproof – and float!
  • Superlooper Crossover Adapter – You know that a regular ethernet patch cable will connect your computer to a router, hub or modem. However, you may one day need a crossover cable in order to connect two computers together in order to transfer data. You cannot connect them using a regular old ethernet patch cable. To turn one of these patch cables into a crossover cable, you only need to clip the Superlooper onto one end of the patch cable! Voila! You now have a crossover cable!
  • AC to DC Power Converter – Let’s say you have something powered by DC – say something that would plug in in your car. You likely don’t have a DC plug in your home… you probably only have AC outets! Just plug this nice little adapter in in your home outlets, and you can convert the DC to AC with ease!
  • EvilTron – This diabolical little toy is so much fun – and so annoying to others! It’s easy to hide, and comes pre-loaded with six creepy sounds, including a “gasping last breath”, a door creaking, and even a sinister child’s laugh!
  • LEGO Mini-Figs – I collect them! I love them! I WANT MORE OF THEM!!! If you have any that you aren’t using, I’ll be happy to take them off of your hands!
  • Throwboy Lockergnome Pirillow! – My income percentage of these pillows is 20%… however, I am not keeping any of that! ALL of my proceeds for the sales of these pillows are going to the Seattle Humane Society. These are handmade by Roberto and his team over at Throwboy. They’re fun, they’re cool – and they’re helping out a very worthwhile cause!

I want to hear what YOU think. What do you hope to find stuffed in your stocking this holiday season?

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Are You Ready for the Holidays?

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and Christmas is but a few weeks away? I was aghast yesterday when I walked into a store that was playing Christmas carols… until I realized what the date was. Holy crap where did the year go? I haven’t even started to think about holiday shopping yet, never mind actually DOING any shopping.

After I had my little panic attack, I sat down to check out what was going on around out community. Low and behold… people are talking about the upcoming festivities. They’re figuring out what to cook with their turkeys, and what the hottest new gifts are for this year. Geez I’m way behind, aren’t I?

I was happy as hell to see that the holidays aren’t the only thing that people are chattering about. Thankfully, I found many interesting and informative blogs and threads on a huge variety of topics to keep me busy… and to get my mind back OFF of the holiday season. I’m just not ready quite yet!

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Receiving the Gift of Giving

As a young teen, one Holiday season, my parents decided to spread the cheer to an underprivileged family in our area. We were to take a few kids out shopping with us, each of them was given a small stipend (with which to spend on gifts for their siblings). I remember that day vividly – never feeling more grateful for the things I had been given in seeing what others did not have.

So, when Sears offered to sponsor a $500 shopping spree under their ‘Don’t Just Give a Gift, Grant a Wish‘ effort, I didn’t think twice about what I wanted to do with the gift card. It’s all about the toys at Christmas – and even though we don’t have kids of our own, Ponzi and I both thoroughly enjoyed taking a trip across town and down memory lane as we tore through the “Toy Shop.” The goal: to find $500 worth of toys to give to a local donation center.

Now, before I continue, I must again point out that Sears gave me this opportunity. I received the $500 gift card from IZEA, but these experiences are 100% my own. What would *YOU* do with this $500 – spend it on yourself or on somebody else? I chose the latter.

We filled a shopping cart and a half with new toys and remakes of yesteryear. I remembered getting a set of magic tricks for Christmas one year, so I snagged a magic kit from the shelf. I also remembered getting lost with a Rubik’s Cube on Christmas morning, so that was another must-buy. Then there was a time I really wanted a microscope (I still remember my onion skin slide), so a little bit of science made its way into our “buggies” – that’s what Ponzi calls ’em. Oh, and I can’t remember a single childhood Christmas that didn’t have a Star Wars something in it, so I snagged a few figurines, too.

We circled the Sears Toy Shop a few times, making sure we saw everything. Hulk Boxing Gloves: you don’t wanna see me when I’m angry! Chatterphone: rotary dial! Lincoln Logs: time to build something! Operation: don’t touch the sides! Let’s grab some Play-Doh, too – and we can’t leave without taking a few NERF balls with us. They make a portable Lite Brite now?! Man, I wish I was a kid again. For an hour, I felt like one.

Ponzi saw some toddler toys she used to chew on. Well, not HER toys – but the same kind. There were a few other baby items we thought would make wonderful presents for some kid this Christmas season. The game Don’t Break the Ice (which I had received as a birthday gift one year), a tea set, a couple of Barbie dolls, a Hannah Montana UNO card game (another childhood birthday present), a Mr. Potato Head, and… oh, so many memories. We weren’t just buying toys, you know? We were buying future memories for children – who will hopefully carry those memories into their adult lives.

It felt good. It felt really, really good.

Hours later, I walked into a local donation center and asked if they accepted toys. One guy asked: “Depends on what condition they’re in.” I told him they were brand new, and his eyes lit up like *HE* was a kid on Christmas morning. The whole place was buzzing with excitement. We unloaded the toys and I thought to myself: “I’ve gotta make this a new Christmas tradition.” So, thank you Sears, for giving *ME* the gift of happiness.

But Wait, There’s More…

Don’t Just Give a Gift, Grant a Wish - Receipt

It’s time to share some of that happiness with some of you. Another contest is upon us (Official Rules). I’ve created three separate Sears gift bundles worth ~$500 apiece: LEGO Wonderland, Star Wars Smiles, and Family Game Night. These, much like the aforementioned shopping spree, were inspired by my own childhood Christmases. If you’d like to receive one of them, it’s super simple to qualify:

  1. Leave a comment on this post with the bundle you desire (and why).
  2. Post to your twitter account if you have one, making sure you include – #Sears @chrispirillo http://bit.ly/giftwish – and whichever bundle you desire in your tweet.
  3. Make an entry in your own blog if you have one, making sure you link back to this particular post URL and mentioning which bundle you want (and why). I register most trackbacks after I’ve received at least one click from your permalink to mine.

You can enter once by commenting, once by twittering, AND once by posting in your own blog (that’s three chances to win what you want). The winner will be selected at random, mind you. So, which one of these gift bundles do you want most?

LEGO Wonderland

  • 10 Cool Lego Mindstorms by Astolfo, David
  • 10 Cool Lego Mindstorms Robotics Invention System 2 Projects by Ferrari, Mario
  • Adjustable links with Mini Kinght
  • Building Robots With Lego Mindstorms NXT by Astolfo, Dave
  • Creator Stegosaurus
  • Extreme NXT by Gasperi, Michael
  • Forbidden Lego by Pilegaard, Ulrik
  • Getting Started With Lego Trains by McKee, Jacob H.
  • Gold Hunt
  • Jetrax T6
  • Jin Sato’s Lego Mindstorms by Sato, Jin
  • Lego Mindstorms NXT-G Programming Guide by Kelly, James Floyd
  • LEGO Star Wars: Ultimate Collectors AT-ST
  • Police Headquarters
  • Programming Lego Mindstorms NXT by Bishop, Owen

Star Wars Smiles

  • Clone Wars Blaster Game
  • Clone Wars Galactic Heroes: Trooper
  • Han Solo Bobble-Head
  • Mad About Star Wars by Bresman, Jonathan
  • Millennium Falcon
  • Mr. Potato Head: Star Wars – Artoo-Potatoo with Princess Tater Figure
  • Robot Chicken: Star Wars
  • Star Wars – The Best Of
  • Star Wars Clone Trooper Helmet
  • Star Wars Clone Wars Plug N Play Game
  • The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia by Sansweet, Stephen J.
  • The Rise and Fall of Darth Vader by Windham, Ryder

Family Game Night

  • 1 vs. 100 DVD Game
  • Baffle Gab
  • Dance Maker Truth or Dare Mat and a Tote Bag
  • Disney Villains Combo: Checkers and Tic Tac Toe
  • Griddly Headz Racing Game
  • Harry Potter Scene It? Game
  • High School Musical 2 Deluxe Plug N Play TV Game
  • Karaoke Pop Culture Hip Hop/R&B Vol. 1
  • Monopoly Here and Now World
  • No Brainer Board Game
  • Rumis
  • Sea Monster Board Game
  • Tenjo Game
  • Trapture
  • Whac-A-Mole Tower
  • WordSpot – Bookshelf Edition
  • Yahtzee Free For All

For whatever it’s worth, I received the Millennium Falcon for Christmas when I was a kid – it was my very first Star Wars vehicle. I came close to buying it separately for myself, but couldn’t justify the expense (or figure out where to put it). My first LEGO kit was also a gift from Santa Claus.

I’ll also be using funds generated from this post to make further food bank deposits and donations to other charities. We’re all trying to make this a very Merry Christmas (Happy Holiday) for as many as possible.

What’s on Your Holiday Toy Wish List for Gifts?

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The holidays are fast approaching, as we all know. Have you been naughty… or nice? Have you sent Santa your wish list yet? If you haven’t, you may want to check out the hottest must-have items of the season.

Growing up, us boys had awesome holidays. We had many traditions that were sacred to us. I remember going through the catalogs on Thanksgiving Day each year, marking the things that we wanted under the tree on Christmas morning.

What Amazon has done this year is to come up with a very simple and fun way to browse anything and everything you can think of buying (or asking for!) for Christmas. You can search by category or keyword. They have products of all shapes and sizes, for all ages.

No matter what you’re looking for, you’ll get a great idea of what’s new and what’s out there. Heck, I’m already making my list! Are you?


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What do Girls Want as Gifts from Geeks?

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Laura writes: “Some men are great at picking out that special gift to give to their partner. Men that are “geeks” seem to be the worst gift givers. Let me rephrase that… they are bad at giving “girl” gifts. Every girl now and again loves to receive that Techie gift from her guy: like an ipod, iphone or Blu-Ray player. However, there are times when we need to feel special – that our guy cares enough to know about what makes us a girl.”

  • Gift Certificates There is nothing like the gift to shop. I love this gift, but it is so important where the gift certificate comes from. Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, or Sephora equals good. Walmart, Radio Shack and Game Stop – bad!
  • Flowers Now I know what you’re thinking. But wait… don’t send flowers on her birthday. Send them after you’ve stayed up all night working on your computer and didn’t spend any time with her. Send them because you just started to think about her and wanted to let her know. Gifts are to be given from the heart, not just on Holidays. Does everyone hear that? “…NOT JUST HOLIDAYS”. Stopping on the way home from work and buying roses for $5 out of a van, and saying “here, don’t say I never get you anything” is not the way to go. Splurge and buy her flowers for no particular reason at all, with a little note to say “I’m thinking about you”.
  • Spa packages Awwww… nothing says “I appreciate you” more than a day at the spa being pampered. This gift says, “honey I know you work hard at your job, that you keep our home clean, that the meals you cook are incredible and because you are awesome at everything, I want you to have a day for yourself”. Bad idea – giving her massage oil and saying “we can test this out later (wink, wink)”.
  • Jewelry Ok men, this is important. If you are giving jewelry, try to pay attention to what she wears before buying something expensive that she will never wear. Diamonds are forever, so usually you can’t go too wrong with that. My favorite gifts include anything from Tiffany’s. There is just something about that blue box wrapped in a white ribbon that makes me melt. Bad idea – a key chain from the drugstore that says “I [heart] NY”.
  • Designer handbags Now this is my personal favorite. Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermes. OMG, this is one gift she would never expect from her guy, yet if he gives you this you feel special, sophisticated and beautiful. Make sure your handbag comes in a gift box. Most of the time the box is just as important as the bag inside (don’t ask). If you think you would never have any idea what style bag to buy, don’t fret my hairy friends. Most of these upscale stores have very talented sales associates working there – they know the latest trends and what is popular. Bad idea – any handbag that is purchased from a Box Store, or has the words “impostor”, or “replica”.


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The Best Christmas Present?

Christmas, this year, will be a non-event. I’m disappointed, but realistically prepared. We don’t have a Christmas tree, we haven’t set out many decorations, and our shopping schedule has been extremely cramped as of late (fiscally and physically). Santa Claus didn’t forget us, though; Ponzi’s been picking up items from my wish list, and I’ve been planning a stocking to end all stockings for her. It’s almost three in the morning here, and I’m wondering if I’ll even have time to pick up a screw for my glasses tomorrow (it fell out at some point this evening). That would be a wonderful gift: time.

Ponzi says she only wants one thing this year for Christmas: a completely new wardrobe. Apparently, clothes go out of style after you wear them twice – and it’s only fashionable to wear 1/10th of the outfits 90% of the time? Well, that kind of gift is unrealistic. She thinks I’ve already seen my presents (as they’ve been coming in all sorts of boxes, mixed in with wedding registry gifts). In my mind, the best Christmas present for her at this point is to match the amount she spent on me – letting her spend the same amount on her wardrobe, “guilt free.”