Some swag

Dec. 27th, 2010 12:50 am
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
I don't want to post all the stuff I received for Christmas, as that would be too much to digest.

The highlights then:
  • The Thin Man boxed set, which includes all six movies and a documentary each on William Powel and Mirna Loy
  • Some British snack called Hula Hoops (these are BBQ Beef flavoured)
  • A bunch of Sudoku, Kakuro, and "Sum Doku" books (I like number puzzles)
  • A ticket to the Royal Canadian Theatre Company's production of Alice in Wonderland
  • Some chocolate (not as much as last year, thankfully)

On the whole, and aside from some morning excitement, a fairly relaxing and fun Christmas.

Oh, and the excitement was our turkey.
Apparently, it was over 4 kg and we didn't use a big enough baking dish, nor did we manage to keep it basted.
(due to a misunderstanding of how large the turkey was, we started cooking it the night before, cooking it for about four hours at 400°F, then cooking it slowly on 200°F overnight until dinner time)
The resulting spill managed to hit the lower heating element in the oven (ours is electric) and caught fire for a bit, before going out on its own.

The only "damage" was the puddle of turkey juice in the bottom of the oven and the spill-over into the drawer beneath the oven.


For those of you who are unaware, up here in Canada, our retailers have a Boxing Day tradition of having "Boxing Day" sales and some prefer to have the event last the week (a "Boxing Week" sale).
Typically, these sales knock quite a bit off prices, and sometimes they're even below cost.

Only problem is, I can't take full advantage of much of it.
The problem?

My birthday is on January 2nd, so I have to wait for another week until after my birthday (and have received all the gift from my relatives) before I can go back to stores and buy things I'm interested in again.

For instance, I had posted a while ago about the ProMini Wireless Keyboard with Trackpad from ThinkGeek.
This is one of the things I'm planning on ordering once I'm finished getting gifts.
(unless, of course, I receive it as a present. Possible, but not terribly likely, given the family I have. Plus I don't have any friends close enough that would know about or give me gifts)
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
 Christmas Day in our household usually starts with a procession from oldest to youngest into the living room, where Dad turns the tree and some lights on so we can open our stockings.

After all the stockings are open, we have breakfast, which is typically a Strata, a recipe we got from one of James Barber's cookbooks.
(probably A Flare in the Kitchen)

Our strata is a little different from his, though you'll want to check on his cooking instructions.

Christmas Strata... )

Unfortunately, due to how large our turkey is this year (4.15 kg) we don't have enough oven for strata also, so we've been reduced to grilled ham and cheese sandwiches...

And now to bed, as it's already 1:30am and we get to wake our parents after 9am, so I don't have much time for sleep tonight.
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
So, the current weather forecast for Christmas states that the majority of Canada will have a white one, save for the Maritime provinces and southern BC.

Too bad I live in southern BC.

According to statistics, since around 1930, only around 10% of Vancouver's Christmases have been white, with the remainder typically being wet.

While I'm glad I won't have to lug my newspapers around in the snow, it is a bit of a let down that it won't be white.


On the subject of Christmas, I'm almost done my shopping, with only a couple of things left to buy and only a couple days left to buy them in.
(all it took was one trip to London Drugs, and trips to Save-On-Foods and Chapters that didn't turn up anything)

I should be able to get some time to have another shopping trip on Thursday.
Today we're going to my grandmother's house to have tea and cookies, and Friday I do apparently have some papers to deliver, so those days are kind of out...
(I've got to find a new internal video cable for my laptop, the screen's getting difficult to keep steady)
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
There are a number of movies my family likes watching every year around Christmas time.

The two we watch almost every year are Holiday Inn and White Christmas, both with Bing Crosby, and both have fairly similar storylines, as White Christmas is actually a remake of Holiday Inn.

So here, in no particular order, is my list of movies I'd like to watch this Christmas season:Read more... )
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
Contrary to previous years, I've already started my Christmas shopping.

So far, I have gifts for at least three, maybe four people on my list.
Which means I'm already about a quarter to a third done my shopping!

Though I should double check on the inventories of several online shops that I visit to see if there's anything online I want to buy for people so I can order it in plenty of time for Christmas...

(thought of the moment: Why is there no 'festive' mood icon?)
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
I did manage to score some neat stuff this Christmas:
  • A USB-connected tape deck. (I've been trying to record a bunch of tapes to my computer so I could put them on my MP3 player, but all four of my tape decks have something wrong or lacking with them, making them all but completely useless for my purposes)
  • Cats: The Commemorative Edition. (I've been looking forward to this for a while now and almost got the opportunity to buy it myself a few months ago, but didn't think I had the money)
  • Three Schlock Mercenary books, Under New Management, The Blackness Between, and The Scrapyard of Insufferable Arrogance.
  • A set of six Faber-Castell artist pens in landscape colours. (I hope to try drawing stuff, mostly landscapes. Yes, I'll try scanning them and posting them somewhere so you can see, eventually)
  • An LED penlight. (when I saw my brother's new penlight I thought it looked cool, but didn't get an answer out of him as to the price, so I knew I shouldn't get one myself)
  • The latests Sherman's Lagoon, Confessions of a Swinging Single Sea Turtle.
  • A small ceramic cutter with a blade extending a very tiny amount from the handle to cut layers of stuff without going through too many layers. (and also claims that you can't cut yourself on it)
  • Some other miscellaneous small things, including a tiny hand-cranked flashlight, a balsa wood glider, a small, posable Wall-e figure, a so-called "Rubik's Cube" game that has nothing to do with the real cube, and other bits and bobs that don't quite matter as much.
  • And to round things off, I also received a fair amount of chocolate, most of which, unfortunately, turned out to be mint (while mint is my favourite flavour, too much is very possible).

Interestingly enough, the USB tape deck doesn't need drivers (it acts like a USB sound card, which most modern OSes support), and the only software that came on the CD was Audacity, an open-source audio program.
(the packaging claimed support for Windows and Mac, but it's working beautifully with my new Linux box anyway. Oh how I love using Linux!)

I probably should have started with a typical music tape, as it was, I started with a classical music tape (J. S. Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, numbers 1, 5 and 6) and a tape I made off the radio back in 1999. Neither one was a good choice. With the first, I couldn't figure out how to name the tracks, and with the second, I'm having a hard time trying to cut it up into tracks.
Next time I'll try something by the Acapella group like The Book of James, or Heros of The Faith or something like that.
(you know, stuff I don't have MP3s of, has lots of silence between the tracks, and has easy to figure out track names)

Oh, and apparently I might have had too much chocolate or something, as I have another sore throat again... =>.<=
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
This year, due to the digital copy I've started of my wish list, I've separated stuff into several categories:

Music: Anything by the following artists:
  • Bing Crosby
  • Dean Martin
  • Michael Kaeshammer
  • Roger Whittaker
  • Fred Astaire
  • Ennio Morricone
  • Henry Mancini
  • Duvall's Volume and Density

DVDs:
  • The Incredibles
  • Wall-E
  • Cats, the musical
  • Kung-Fu panda
  • Flushed Away
  • Hunt for Red October
  • Clue
  • The Shrek Trilogy
  • Skycaptain and the World of Tomorrow
  • Despicable Me (I know, I know, it's not out on DVD. But I can always hope...)
  • Robin and the Seven Hoods

Chocolate and candy:
  • Kit-Kat
  • Coffee Crisp
  • Caramilk Dark (apparently, this is a Canadian chocolate that isn't really available anywhere else. It also had a long string of Canadian commercials, including one that won an award)
  • Dark chocolate orange (as opposed to milk, and even mint, one of my other favourite chocolate flavours)
  • Bridge mix (lots, I hope)

Lee Valley stuff:
Other:
  • Lilliput USB monitor (a 7" LCD monitor that plugs into a USB port)
  • Small woodworking lathe (I can always hope)
  • Mini doughnut maker

More stuff will be added later, when it's not 2am in the morning and I don't have a final exam breathing down my neck.
(My two finals are on the 9th and the 13th, and yes, that's a Sunday)

UPDATE:
Yay! While I was out to the chiropractor, my Dad and I stopped by a store, and found a used copy of SkyCaptain and the World of Tomorrow! One thing to strike off the list!
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
But first, due to my last semester of fun and madness, I had to drop the newspaper route I'd been delivering, which put the crunch on my Christmas present spending this year. (so it was not related to the economy, however, I did benefit from it due to some dropped prices)

At my earliest convenience I called the newspaper back and told them I was available to deliver or substitute for any route in my area, and found out that there were no available routes in my area, but there was a substitute position available from Dec. 10-17 (a four-day stretch, the paper coming out on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays), which I accepted and delivered with my usual quality of service.

Apparently, the carrier quit afterwards, and the circulation department asked if I would like to substitute for it again until they find another carrier for it. I, forgetting that I was interested in another route for myself, accepted it again, then called my zone supervisor back asking to have the route myself.
(I haven't heard from them yet, but I'm not worried, after all, I'd just been called on the 23rd about substituting again, and I'm sure that the office has been closed...

So, I might have a route again, and I might not, but one thing I know for certain is that when you haven't delivered a paper route for four months, then suddenly start delivering heavy holiday editions in two feet of white powder, you're bound to be sore for a couple of days afterwards.
(I've been sore for two or three days now, but am feeling much better now. It hurt even to laugh or get up from lying on the floor (something I like doing on occasion as it helps with posture and is usually a good resting spot). I also hadn't given myself much time to rest, what with all the snow needing to get shovelled off the driveways and pathways and vehicles and all... >.< )


Christmas Day:
There were only two things I found lacking on Christmas Day, the presents I gave (my budget was even smaller this year due to dropping the paper route I'd had because of my semester schedule) and my sister's impatience with my parents' lack of preparation.

As my Dad enjoys Wallace & Grommitt, I gave him a 2009 calendar (and some chocolate from the Art Knapps' Plantland display of candy imported from England).

To my Mom I gave a copy of "Dog Eat Doug" (a comic about a baby and a puppy with many of their antics and troublemaking).

My sister received the soundtrack for the recent musical "Mama Mia", some chocolate from the above-mentioned candy display, and a clip-on light for reading books or using a laptop by.

For the older of my two younger brothers (the one with the Nintendo DS), I found a copy of the "New Super Mario Brothers" game, and some licorice and chocolate, also from the above-mentioned candy display.

For my youngest brother (who is currently three years old), I found the Dinco helicopter, Sarge and a cammo McQueen from the movie Cars, along with a Cars-themed lunchbox that my sister didn't need to give to him.

It really makes me wish I could get a higher-paying job than a newspaper carrier so I can give better gifts to people...

Of all the gifts I received this year, the most notable are the ultra-bright LED flashlight my brother gave me (it even has a warning on it about looking into the lense when on!), a copy of the game Blokus (which I have yet to play a second time. The first was at a games night on campus, when I really enjoyed it), a five-button laser mouse (which I'll need to test more thoroughly, as I can't use the drivers on the disk that came with it, as it completely screwed up Windows' control of the mouse cursor, which included running the cursor off the screen and randomly opening context menus, meaning that I had to boot into safe mode to uninstall its drivers).

Add to the above the three different gift cards I was given (by different people) this year (one for London Drugs, another for Tim Hortons, and the last a pre-paid VISA card with $60CAN on it. Considering the fact that never before have I ever received more than one gift card per gift-event (Christmas, birthday) before, I've been rather blessed this year.

(I'm considering using the VISA card to buy an LCD display to connect to the Arduino that I'm going to buy so I can build a computer-controlled external display/input device to play around with, but I haven't decided yet. After all, no fees means no hurry...)

Overall a pretty good holiday this year, I think.


Boxing Day:
Unlike past Boxing Days (which we Canadians usually spend in the malls buying what we didn't get on our lists, though my family's usually better than buying things up that quickly afterwards) where I would visit almost a dozen stores to see what kind of bargains I could find, this year I knew of one thing in particular that I wanted to get, and which would not quite qualify as something someone would get me for Christmas or birthday (January 2nd, so I have to be very careful when shopping after Christmas).

Today I purchased only three items, the first was the above-mentioned item, a Black&Decker Pocket Power supply (with both a small inverter in it to power a simple device and a USB slot to plug a USB-charged device into.
As it was only ten dollars, I figure I should buy another one for the classmate I gave my other laptop to so he can use it without a wall outlet for an hour or so.

The other two items I bought today were the Battlefield 1942 collection (a total of two full games and two expansion packs) and a wireless presentation device with Wi-fi detector (it emulates a keyboard for full cross-platform compatibility and has an LED light as well as a red laser pointer. The other amazing thing about this one was the fact that it runs off only one AAA battery!)
(both of the above items were only ten dollars each, with the game collection usually costing about thirty when it first came out, and the second usually going for forty dollars at the regular price, so I'd like to think I'll get my money's worth out of them)

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Carl Foxmarten

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