Christmas loot report for 2007.

Christmas has come and gone for another year and true to form it was a pretty good holiday full of laughter, love, and presents. Personally this was a Doctor Who Christmas as no less than three of the gifts I received were DW themed. First I got a pair of Sonic Screwdrivers, one from my mother and one from my mother-in-law, which made for a cool bit of synchronicity.  The first was a Sonic Screwdriver pen that is a full-scale model of the Doctor’s favorite tool. The bottom cap can be removed to reveal an ink pen and the top end extends and lights up making the well-known buzzing noise when a button is pressed on the side. The ink tip on the bottom can be replaced with a different one that contains “invisible ink” which glows under UV light, which is exactly the sort of light that the top end produces, so you can write secret messages. This kit also came with my own sheet of psychic paper which you can write on and then wipe clean. The second Sonic Screwdriver is much less fancy and smaller in scale, but is a bit more practical because it’s actually an LED torch (flashlight). It doesn’t make any sound and it doesn’t extend and it’s about 70% of the size of first one, but it lights up with a blue light that’ll at least let you walk through a dark room without tripping over the cat. I’ve found it’s helpful when peering into darkened computer cases.

The third DW item I got from my wife and it made me squeal like a small child once again. It’s an official Doctor Who Radio Controlled Dalek Robot. Melvin is less impressed with it than I am. Probably because I’ve been chasing him around the house with it. You have full control over its movement and as it trundles along the dome head swivels around and it randomly says one of 7 different typical Dalek phrases.

I got a cool camera tripod called the “Gorillapod” because the legs are made up of little ball joints that allow you to bend the legs so your camera can grip onto surfaces. Straighten the legs out and it’s a traditional style tripod or you can wrap them around a tree branch or latch them onto a fence making the number of places you can set up your camera almost unlimited. It gives me the option of using the timer on my camera to allow me to get into some of the shots, or just for vainly taking pictures of myself without one arm stretching out of the frame holding the camera.

I got three new books to read including one on the making of A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever, and The Night Before Christmas in Michigan. I got The Bourne Ultimatum on DVD and the Die Hard Collection on Blu-Ray making that my official first high-def movies which look great even though we don’t have an HDTV to view them on. My only complaint about the Die Hard movies is that it doesn’t include the unrated cut of Live Free or Die Hard so I’ll still have to pick that up separately. The games I received were The Orange Box (Half-Life 2, HL2: Ep. 1, HL2: Ep. 2, Portal, and Team Fortress 2), Gears of War for the PC, and Assassin’s Creed for the PS3. My mother-in-law also knitted me a new pair of slippers and bought me some pajama bottoms. The last time I wore pajama bottoms I was thirteen years old so it was a somewhat nostalgic experience to put these new ones on. One of my sisters-in-law made me a custom t-shirt and I got some Christmas cookies. Lastly I got The Barenaked Ladies are Men on CD.

I think that pretty much covers everything, though I have a nagging feeling I’m leaving something out. Oh yes, my wife bought me some cologne because I said that if she told me what kind she preferred then I’d wear it on occasion. I’m not much for cologne myself, but anything that makes me smell a little better for my sweetie is worth it. Finally, here’s a pic of me with some of my goodies taken early Christmas morning. Note the bed-hair is in full effect.


Click to embiggen!

So what did you guys get?

26 thoughts on “Christmas loot report for 2007.

  1. I also got a GorillaPod, and a Marc Cohn CD, and best of all, had two of my sons here to share the holiday.  A wonderful Christmas. 

    Funny thing is, I gave one of my sons a retro-60’s West German tripod.  If he’d given the other son any kind of tripod, it would have been a gift-tripod!

    The Gorillapod also fit snugly on top of my bald head.  Sometime I should show up for a meeting with a digital camera on my noggin, and trigger it with a remote control when someone makes a stupid point.

    Merry Christmas to the SEB Household!!!  cool smile

  2. The second Sonic Screwdriver is … but is a bit more practical because it’s actually an LED torch (flashlight).  I’ve found it’s helpful when peering into darkened computer cases.

    So absolutely nothing with you being at work, and wanting to be seen with a Sonic Screwdriver while fixing stuff then? No, Leslie is FAR too sensible to do that.

  3. As if an LED would really brighten anything up much anyway… it’s a more concentrated beam, which is why they tend not to require much power to achieve the brightness they have end-on. Torches and lightbulbs intended to brighten a room work in a broad range of directions

  4. I got a 4gb iPod Nano (my first ipod!), up till now I’ve been using an original portable Rio CD-MP3 player that is about 7 years old, it took 4xAA batteries that I had to charge daily the nano is so small that it just boggles my mind. 

    I also got some XNA books (C# coding for 360 games woohoo!).  One of those green laser pointers, and some small DIY electronics kits to go with it.  One for bouncing a laser off a window to hear the conversation inside, and another one to make a USB trip (laser) wire surveillance system with a camera.  Fun stuff although the two DIY electronics projects don’t seem that useful, but I do always have fun putting them together as they often feel like really cool mini Electrical Engineering puzzles even if most the difficult work dealing with the programming of the IC’s has been done for you.

    Les: I’ve looked at those remote control Daleks and could never justify to myself the need to buy one, although they do look pretty nifty. 

    Does it move at a fast enough clip to keep the pets terrorized… I mean amused.

  5. I got 6 months car tax…. and a small £12 toy helicopter that I’ve been trying to fly, strangely enjoyable

  6. LH, I absolutely plan to be carrying at least one of these Sonic Screwdrivers with me at all times so I can horrify people with just how big of a geek I am. Oh, and my name is spelled “Lesley.”

    Bahamat, the end of the torch has a dome cap on it that spreads the beam out quite a bit. You’d probably be surprised at how good of a flashlight it makes. I also have a full size LED flashlight that uses four lights in a mirror to produce its light. It’s incredibly bright.

    LA, the RC Dalek is completely impractical which is part of what makes it such an excellent Christmas gift in my mind. The cats can outrun it if they wish, but their curiosity usually means they don’t run far and the Dalek is able to track them down before too long. Muhwhahahahahahaha!

  7. Oh, and my name is spelled “Lesley.”

    My wife’s middle name is Lesley.  I originally typed -ey, then sat and tried to remember which way round the two endings go, as it annoys her to get the masculine -ie ending written.  So I took the opposite to hers, not realising that the distinction wasn’t made on your side of the pond.

  8. It would’ve been neat if you’d gotten a Laser Screwdriver to compliment the Sonic Screwdrivers you got, but that’s just me.

    I got nothing for X-mas.  Good times.

  9. For the last few weeks, every time we were at a store and I had something a bit personal, such as a new monthly planner or yarn of an unusual shade, my husband would tell me to put my ‘set-aside for extras money’ away, and then he would pay for my items along with the family groceries.
    A gift unto itself, his kind and generous nature….

    This leaves me with cash on hand for whims, such as a Ginger Spice latte at the locally owned cafe.

    A neighbor brought over a nice homemade loaf of fruitcake.  She knows I like fruitcake, and this is her grandmother’s recipe.  I wish I could find my own grandma’s card, but none of the cousins knows anything about it.

    Another friend gave a hand-knitted dishcloth in holiday colors….so soft and nice that I doubt it will ever be used for the mundane task of wiping off a countertop.

    And then there’s the chalkboard to be used for messages.  It’s nice enough to look at, but we already have a sort of system in place where we leave notes.
    As if cell phones answered promptly aren’t enough.
    So I dunno why we got a chalkboard.  But it is already hanging on display, jokes laughed at, and some doodles are drawn.

    We’ve received about 50 cards/newsletters so far, with 6 of those coming the day after Christmas.  Pretty impressive, since I never got around to sending any out last year, and ours are still in progress to become mid-winter greetings.

    My 3 guys tell me that I am really, really difficult to buy for.
    Besides, they are not the ones who can give me what I truly want any day, any time, and that is for our oldest son to begin communications with his family again.
    Five years away is long enough.

  10. I got a severe cold with a horrible cough, sore throat and runny nose. Sleepless nights as I tend to wake up every 10-20 minutes.  Plus, I’ve gotten my girlfriend sick.  And to top it off, I fractured my right hand…  Which severly hinders my ability to use my computer at work.  Programmer + bum hand = bad combination…

    But, I’m glad to hear others had a much better Christmas.

    P.S. As for gifts, I came out pretty well.  Too hard to type and list them off currently.

  11. I got some clothes, and an ipod nano (4 gig) that I bought with a healthy dose of my own cash and some that was given me by relatives.

    And now to totally ruin the spirit of the thread –

    Bahamat said:

    As if an LED would really brighten anything up much anyway… it’s a more concentrated beam, which is why they tend not to require much power to achieve the brightness they have end-on. Torches and lightbulbs intended to brighten a room work in a broad range of directions

    Sorry boss, but I gotta bust ya on this.  I’m pretty sure an LED “bulb” works the same as a regular bulb as far as output.  You may be confusing the cohesive light beam of a laser (which is not actually visible from the side of beam and would be useless for actual illumination) with an LED.  LED outputs light in all directions just like a CFL or regular old incandescent.  Putting a mirror behind it only reflects the light that is going in all directions into one specific direction, but this is the same concept as the halogen lamps in your car headlights. 

    I used to have a keychain LED that had no reflector, and it was bright as hell in all directions.  The problem was it was a blue/white light, and it really just made a good simulation of moonlight, it was only useful for real illumination within 5 feet.  Probably very similiar to what DOF has.

  12. This is what I carry:

    $6 at Wal-Mart, it uses 1 aaa battery and is good out to about ten feet (it has a lens to direct the beam).  Handy as hell and only slightly larger than the aaa battery itself.

    The headlight on my bike uses 3 aaa batteries and one very strong LED, produces a good beam out to about forty feet.  As in, you can actually see stuff with it. 

    I also have one that has eight smaller LED bulbs that I sometimes use for macrophotography.  I want to construct an LED ringlight as a future project.

  13. The one I had was really tiny, had one LED, no lens or reflector or anything.  Unfortunately, I paid a little more the $6 for it, and I would hazard yours works better than mine ever did.

  14. Ohh, sorry,“PEERING into darkened computer cases.” I misread that the first time and almost called for an intervention.

    Carry on Les, carry on.

  15. I admit I was assuming a little – I was going by the LED’s I’ve seen seeming to look quite intense compared to a torch but making only themselves visible, I could only put that down to how intense over a range the light was, and I could only increase intensity without increasing power by reasoning it was confined in a narrower angle, so more concentrated. Admittedly, all the LED’s I commonly see are somewhat in-laid into the plastic, so perhaps that restricts their angle, either way it doesn’t seem as bright from any angles other than end-on. Also all the LED’s I tend to see are small, and it was my impression they didn’t consume much compared to the devices they were with, it was also my impression that filament bulbs are more power hungry, seen as the apparant need for more batteries and considering the high conversion to heat, which an LED, as far as I know, doesn’t do as much.

  16. I carry a tiny aluminum white-bulb LED flashlight in my pocket all the time.  It runs on one AAA battery and I probably use it 5 times in an average day.

    Okay, DOF, it’s gonna drive me nuts until I know how you manage to use a flashlight five times in a day.  (Even my husband’s bladder is small enough to last at least half the night…) 

    [ducks and runs, grinning evilly the whole while]

    Okay, maybe not so much ducking. 

    Or running.

    Odd coincidence:  Mom gave Dearest and me wind-up flashlights for Christmas.  Dearest pointed out that mine looks like a phaser.  His looks more light-sabreish.  So we meet in the middle:  Fire ‘em both up and…“I see—your Schwartz is as big as mine.”

  17. Okay, DOF, it’s gonna drive me nuts until I know how you manage to use a flashlight five times in a day.  (Even my husband’s bladder is small enough to last at least half the night…)

    Since it’s tiny and always in my pocket, it’s kind of a reflex to use it.  My vision could be better, so it helps a lot.  A typical day:  1) I get dressed in the dark, but use it to pick a color of shirt.  2) Leave house in the dark, use it to find key to garage on ring with many keys, to get bike.  3) Service call comes in, a keyboard has stopped working.  Computer is under desk and I can’t see a damn thing without it.  4) Looking for a spare jump drive in the drawer in our main lab where the lighting probably meets some standard but not mine.  5) Looking for Dell motherboard diagnostic device in a cluttered drawer in my own office.  6) Service call comes in: finding the tiny-tiny channel-set switch hole in the wireless mouse receiver in the dark recesses of one of our classroom multimedia consoles.  7) Arriving home after dark, use it to find keys to garage to put bike away.  8) Looking for a videotape in the cabinet at home.

    Another pocket tool is a magnifying glass, which I use twice on an average day – read the service tag on a Dell computer (about 4 point type for some damn reason) and the serial number on a hard drive to see if it is still under warranty.

  18. Okay, I’ll bless my vision that still needs glasses but is still serviceable enough for most things.  Then again, it’s been over two years since I’ve had to support any computer other than my own, so things may have gone drastically downhill since then…

    Sweet of you, though, to not wake Mrs. DOF in the morning.  Kudos for that, sir.  And for biking to work.

  19. Some days she gets up before I do but I’m grumpy and don’t like to turn on bright room lights before I’m awake.  Other days she’s sleeping and yeah, I’d just as soon let her sleep.

    Biking to and from work is the high point of my day cool smile

  20. Enough cash to pay rent; lots of socks, undies, and shirts (I did not need any – I have a closet of shirts); a gym attire for my weekday workout; an infrared massager; an electric rotisserie, plus cooking sheets and pans, and a double-fist-sized crockpot; a couple pairs of cargoes, including a pair of EMT pants from a second-hand store.

    End of report.

  21. Also all the LED’s I tend to see are small, and it was my impression they didn’t consume much compared to the devices they were with, it was also my impression that filament bulbs are more power hungry, seen as the apparant need for more batteries and considering the high conversion to heat, which an LED, as far as I know, doesn’t do as much.

    Wikipedia article on What LEDs are

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