Once again, it’s the day before the night before Christmas. History shows that Dad usually gets the short end of the Yule Log: ties, slippers, a subscription to The Jelly Of The Month Club. Dad works his ass off all year for you and the kiddies, so just because Christmas is a scant few hours away doesn’t mean you have to skimp on a nice present. If you still haven’t gotten anything for that special dad in your life, you suck here’s some nifty ideas from some of the DadCentric gang, guarantee to make Dad’s spirits bright. Since we’ve got a few things to share, we need to direct you past The Jump. And if nothing in this post jumps out at you, remember that Dad always loves his annual visit from Samichlaus. So, on with the gifts:
“CAMERA READY: Every now and then, I toy with the idea of buying a real digital SLR. Then I remember that I have no eye for composition, I’m too lazy to bother learning a tenth of what all those settings do and, just like with our dusty ol’ camcorder, I’m never going to want the burden of schlepping that big thing around.
Enter the Canon PowerShot S95 — a 10-megapixel point-and-shoot for the inept, shiftless non-schleppers among us. It’s awesome in auto mode and has just enough fancy-pants manual settings to, when the mood hits, let you channel your inner Felix Unger.
Yes, the $360+ price tag is well above that of the more common point-and-shoots you’ll find these days, but it’s been worth it in the two weeks I’ve owned it. Why? For starters, it has a super-sized sensor that helps you shoot without flash in very low light situations, such as as school concerts and strip clubs. It also comes with all the usual goodness that Canon cameras offer — excellent color, anti-shake feature, face-detect focus, etc.. Finally, the Canon S95 shoots 720p HD video, so you can leave your Flip home on the nightstand, you sly bastard.
WI-FI BLU-RAY: I’m still not sold on the need to have to watch something on Blu-ray, especially if it costs a few more bucks than a standard DVD, but I really wanted the option to do so plus the ability to stream Netflix to our mammoth LCD. Problem was I didn’t feel like snaking yet another Internet connection through the walls and most Wi-Fi enabled DVD players I read about either sucked or, even lamer, required you to buy a separate wireless adapter for them.
On a whim, I picked up the Sony BDP-BX57 (with actual built-in Wi-Fi) a few months back. So far, it has been the real deal for less than $180.
Wireless set-up was a breeze. Blu-ray discs load fairly quickly and the streaming Netflix feature has gotten me through several movies, the first two seasons of Psych and the first 50 hours of TV’s Friday Night Lights with only one major and one minor crash. You can also purchase streaming movies through Amazon, TV shows through Hulu Plus, access YouTube videos and more.
Only downside: the Sony BDP-BX57 menus for some of the streaming content are a chore to go through because the listings have little rhyme or reason (like alphabetically order) and often lack a search feature. In addition, you can only load the Netflix instant queue through a computer. Some find this to be a dealbreaker, but I just go on the Netflix website every few weeks, look for stuff I might want to watch in the future and add it to the queue.”
From The Didactic Pirate:
1. The 11th Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver
Sure, you have to be a true Doctor Who fan to know what the hell a Sonic Screwdriver is — and an even bigger überfan to have any clue how the 11th doctor’s magical tool of the future is any different from the one wielded by Doctors #8, 9, or 10. This apparently identical replica of the eleventh Doctor’s supertool is more than just a geeky conversation piece to be purchased at Comic-Con and kept beneath a glass display case. It’s an actual screwdriver, with detachable Phillips and flat-heads that can be stored in the base (works on most screw sizes). So not only can Dad use this indispensable tool to perform some DIY action on his TARDIS, open any door in the galaxy and shoot invisible lasers, he can tighten drawer pulls with it. And assemble most IKEA furniture.
Come on: how cool would Dad’s toolbox be with this bad boy inside?
P.S. Someone needs to buy this for The Holmes. That is, unless he already has one.
2. Atari Arcade Pint-4 Pack
When we were kids, we weren’t allowed to drink beer while playing Centipede in the arcade. Sure, it didn’t stop our older brother from sneaking a flask into Aladdin’s Castle… but, you know. He was trouble. We were better than that. And we got the High Scores to prove it. Decades after our awesome joystick skills have waned, we can bring our two loves – beer and classic arcade games — together legally with this 4-pack of radical pint glasses from ThinkGeek that pay homage to the games of our youth: Asteroids, Centipede, Tempest, and Missile Command.
1-Up! Er, I mean, bottoms up.
3. Ray-Ban Classic Wayfarer
Kids today. They think they know cool, just because they’re all young and sarcastic and stuff. But the truth is, they learned the Art of Awesome from us. If that weren’t true, Urban Outfitters wouldn’t be selling these original Ray-Ban Wayfarers, circa Risky Business. Somewhere, there’s a Dad who needs to wear these while dancing around the house wearing a pinstripe shirt and tidy whities. You may not want to be home to see it, but he still deserves to do it. It’s his right.
I had a few suggestions – there was the Philips Norelco 1250x SensoTouch 3D* shaver, with its GyroFlex 3D Contour-Following System. That’s a big two-dollar phrase for an electric razor that actually delivers on its promise, giving you a clean, close shave. And for those guys who prefer shaving the old fashioned way, I recommend anything from the good people at The Art of Shaving; their Starter Kits are a great place to, uh, start, and if there’s an actual Art of Shaving shop near you, a gift certificate for a luxury shave is a nice thought.
Then I thought, hmm, what about the gamers? I’m a Wii Man myself, and recently received a copy of Tony Hawk Shred* (with Skate Deck controller) for review. It features both skate- and snowboard modes, and for dads who tire of the games aimed at the young’uns, Shred is a lot of fun – easy to learn, and perfect for a few hours of regression. And although I’ve not played it, Call of Duty: Black Ops is also available for the Wii, is definitely not for kids, and looks pretty cool.
Then I thought, well, games and grooming stuff are all nice, but how about a little culture? I’m pretty sure that most dads didn’t see Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World when it was out in theaters, and while that’s a shame, it also means that you can give ’em the movie’s incredible Blu-ray treatment. For a more highbrow experience, there’s the Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 Blu-ray set* (which of course looks and sounds amazing). Or if Dad is a sports fan, you can dupe him into reading with the excellent Free Darko Presents: The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History, from the folks who bring you the awesome NBA blog Free Darko.
To be sure, those are all really good gift ideas. But if you REALLY want to wow Dad, get him the Most Awesome Hoody Ever. (And if you do, we want proof. No disintegrations.)