November 29, 2006

More holiday discounts

Banana RepublicQDBHCZD797C430% off12/1-12/3
CrayolaHAPPYHOLIDAY20% off entire orderexpires 12/15
GapD1QTCW77L8KP30% off "select merchandise"11/30-12/3
LeapFrogFF25625% off full-price and sale items12/1-12/3
Old NavyD1ZLF9QBRSDX20% off full-price and sale items11/27-12/3
Ralpha LaurenHOL200630% off full-price and sale items11/21-12/4

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November 28, 2006

Leap Frog Promo Code - 25% off!

It's beginning to look like Christmas. From Friday, December 1st, 2006, 7:00 AM (CST) through Sunday, December 3rd, 2006 (11:59 PM) take 25% off on all merchandise, including sale and promotinally priced items, on Woo hooo! The promotional code is FF256 (all caps). Ribbit.

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November 26, 2006

2006 Cool Christmas Gifts

  1. Journey to the West (4-Volume Boxed Set) by Cheng'en Wu and W.J.F. Jenner - Exceedingly entertaining must-read ancient Chinese classic. I'm halfway through volume IV and still chuckling. Thanks Sweetie! Tolkien and Lewis, kowtow to your grandpa.
  2. A subscription to a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program for local organic produce, e.g., Eat with the Seasons and Two Small Farms. Your giftee will be healthier for it, and, if all goes well, you may even benefit! Visit the USDA or Local Harvest for more information.
  3. For that special someone (ahem), consider the 15" Macbook Pro 2.33 GHz. A fan of Mr. Gates? No worries, (possibly biased) tests show that with Boot Camp, the Intel-based Macbook Pro runs Windows XP as fast or faster than the typical sources. Make sure to get the $200 educational discount if you qualify. (AMD, where are you?)
  4. Prep, wash, scrub and dry hard wood floors in one pass. The iRobot 5800 Scooba achieves that which is otherwise not reasonable using conventional methods. Will it deal with macaroni and cheese?
  5. Burt's Bees stuff. Even the most humble concoction is guaranteed to be appreciated. Assemble your order to total $75 or more through Vitamin Shoppe to get free shipping.
  6. Dance Dance Revolution (DDR). There are a number of ways to put this together, here is one:
  7. The humble toothpaste squeezer will be a blessing to the recipient at least twice a day (hopefully).
  8. If you have any kids (or parents with kids) on your list, check out the StartWrite Handwriting software. It churns out traceable worksheets for kids to learn how to write from manuscript to cursive. We have been really pleased with our copy. The cursive is particularly popular (for some reason) with girls.
  9. Find a (closing) Tower Records near you, and purchase CDs and DVD at 40-60% off. There's no better local source for World music - and, at least while supplies last, the pricing will most certainly beat online.
  10. Donate money, food, time and energy to those in need. Here are some ideas to get you started...
What's your top 10?
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December 8, 2005

Cool Christmas gifts

  1. You already know #1, it's iRobot's fabulous Roomba. Been waiting for this since the Jetsons first came out. I recommend the Discovery model. I was not exactly sure why the Electrolux Trilobite (a related product) is so expensive ($1,590.00 v. $249.99). Fortunately, Brian Summers has a answer: bump and IR sensors v. radar/sonar mapping.
  2. The History Channel's presentation (DVD) of the Crusades - The Crusades: Crescent & The Cross ($20.99). Slightly overdramatic, definitely educational and not boring. The story is told from the perspective of historians from both sides. Well done.
  3. Portable storage. Yes, you could use your iPod, but what if you don't have one and don't care for one? I recommend the Sandisk 2 gb Cruzer ($127.29).
  4. How about a massage cushion? HoMedics has one for $98.75. It is excellent - a light-year improvement over the massage chairs 5-10 years ago. I know because a co-worker of mine just got one - and kindly left it on the company couch.
  5. Glow-in-the-dark stars ($8.99 and up). Always a nice touch.
  6. We recently purchased a set of 4-quart chafing dishes ($25) from Costco for a party. It works really well. I'm not really sure why we didn't think of it earlier. Food stays piping hot. The only thing I would be careful of is the fuel - a methyl alcohol gel. Don't breathe it and keep it off your skin - definitely far away from kids. A stellar gift for folk that entertain.
  7. For the writer, gel pens in extra-fancy metallic colors ($7.99). The sort of thing that most could probably never justify buying, but would be glad to receive.
  8. A real koto ($2100). Ok, ok, maybe a CD is more reasonable. How about Nanae Yoshimura's 2-volume Art of the Koto ($15.95 x2)?
  9. Legos of any quantity. Good for kids and grown-ups too.
  10. Last but not least, a lint remover. Something electronic is probably not necessary - I would go with the classic magic lint remover ($6.75).
Update: Visit my list of cool christmas gifts for 2006!

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December 4, 2005


The kids and I went hunting for a Scooba at Fry's today. No go - not even close. Here's the deal. First, you have to pre-order it (at $399.99). According to Niall Kennedy, it isn't even going to be released before January. However, if you order before December 15, you will get a "special gift" along with an announcement for the recipient.

They have a hilarious entry in the FAQs on the topic:

Will Scooba ship in time for 2005 holiday delivery?
We anticipate that Scooba will be available to ship at the end of December 2005. [emphasis mine]
Why can't they just say "I'm sorry, we blew it - we are going to completely miss Christmas!" This is doubly bad. I've been holding out for the Scooba since June - the chance of spending money on a Roomba knowing that the Scooba is around the corner is pretty slim. The chance of purchasing the Scooba immediately following release is also pretty slim, since Christmas pressure will have come and gone. This last little factoid means it is probably a good time to start tracking IRBT stock*. The technology seems pretty solid, led by good pedigree - if only they had been able to capture the holidays. That will come with experience.

*No, I don't own any... at the time of this post.

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December 5, 2004

PNC's 2004 Christmas Price Index

True love costs - this year the Christmas index, based on “The Twelve Days of Christmas” has risen to $17,297. Make sure to check the out the flash presentation. Interestingly, because of the cost of shipping, the Internet turns out to be substantially more expensive, $27,736.

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