Gadgets, Personal, Technology

Geeky Christmas Loot, Part Two

December 30th, 2008 by Jeff | 1 Core Dump

Sorry again for the long dry spell. As hinted at in the latest GPF News post, things have been hectic in the Darlington household these past few months, with tons of minute issues slowly chipping away at the overall allotment of free time. The good news for GPF fans, though, is that I should have a good month’s worth of comics in the buffer when the comic restarts on January 5th, and with the holidays behind us I should be able to concentrate more on getting things done and on time.

In the tradition of last year’s “Christmas loot” post, I thought I’d post some of the awesome things I received as gifts this year. I know some people might look at this as a bit of bragging—and I can see how it can be read that way—but it’s really not. It’s an honest, geeky desire to share some of the exciting things my friends and family blessed me with out of love and happiness. If you want to read bragging into this, well, that’s your choice and you’re free to ignore this post. Otherwise, let me squeal with geeky glee as I delineate some of the cool things I was blessed to receive from people I love.

I’ll start off with a note to the folks: I know some of my family reads this blog, so don’t be offended if I didn’t mention something in particular that you got me. It’s not that it wasn’t memorable or that I didn’t like it; it’s because you know I have the memory of a sieve and I didn’t take copious notes after each present was opened. Since I’m composing this away from where the presents are stashed, I’m doing everything from memory. I also spent most of my time during the present opening ceremonies assembling and subsequently helping Ben play with his new toys, so there were lots of interruptions. So here’s my apologies in advance and don’t forget that blog posts can thankfully be edited.

My favorite gift, by far, is the one given to me by my wife. (Well, she signed Ben’s name on the tag, but I know he has neither the budget nor expertise to have picked it out himself. Just remember that if you read this years later, my son.) She got me a Nikon D60 digital SLR camera. As I previously Tweeted, “It’s like giving a 16-year-old with a beat-up ’85 Civic the keys to a sports car.” 10.2 megapixels, “real” lenses, tons of preset and manual options… it may technically be a “prosumer” or low-end professional camera, but it’s definitely the best I’ve ever had.

I’ve always wanted to learn more about photography, but have had neither the time nor capital to really invest in more than casual picture taking. We’ve had a succession of digital cameras over the years, all of which have served us very well (the Shows & Cons subsite is loaded with the results). However, they’ve all been relatively cheap, low-end models geared for amateur consumers. Our previous family camera was a nice little Olympus that only topped out at three megapixels and still used SmartMedia cards. Do you have any idea how hard those things are to find these days? While still functional, it was definitely showing its age. However, like many consumer cameras, it did all the automagic focus and lighting settings, making it a simple point-and-shoot device. This new Nikon can do point-and-shoot well, but it has enough manual options to make it a good learning platform for a curious amateur to graduate to a serious hobbyist. Now my biggest problem is finding time to actually play with it…. 😀

As an ironic side note, as I mentioned in the previous “Christmas loot” post, my wife’s birthday is also in December, and guess what I got her? That’s right, a new camera. Her’s is admittedly not as nice, but it is exactly what she wanted: a small little point-and-shooter that she can tuck away in her purse for those spur-of-the-moment photo ops where lugging the old Olympus around (and, for that matter, my new Nikon) would be inconvenient. As she so succinctly put it, “Who knew we were going to have such a photogenic holiday?”

Other items of note:

  • My sister made me a wonderful GPF quilt/wall-hanging with members of the cast. It’s technically incomplete because I’m supposed to sign my name to the old GPF logo in the center with a white paint pen, and I haven’t gotten around to doing that yet. Here’s a picture:
My sister's GPF quilt/wall-hanging

My sister's GPF quilt/wall-hanging

  • A nice commemorative Star Trek watch from my parents.
  • Several classic Tom Baker Doctor Who episodes on DVD. Surprisingly, nobody got me the fourth series of the Russell T. Davies/David Tennant series. That’s nothing that a quick trip to Amazon can’t fix, of course.
  • Several other movies on DVD. (I knew I should have kept notes.)
  • A pair of new Wii remotes and Wii Wheels from my parents and in-laws, respectively. Now we no longer have to borrow my nephew’s “Wiimotes” whenever friends come over to visit. (Not to self: Make new friends. Appendium to previous note: That means “befriend more geographically convenient humans” rather than “construct new ‘friends’ from random inanimate objects”.)
  • Several new Wii games. (Again… must… take… notes….)
  • The DC Vault: A Museum in a Box and a hardcover copy of The Watchmen from my sister-in-law and her husband.
  • The prerequisite jeans, sweaters, after shave, etc. They may not be as exciting, of course, but they’re always appreciated.

So, what did Santa leave in your stocking this year? 😉

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