It would be so easy to rack up a large balance on my credit card, to buy the toys and essentials that a geeky dad might like to have. On the other hand, I'm relatively frugal, perhaps a miser when it comes to spending money. With Father's day this weekend and my birthday coming up in July, I figured I would list a few of the things I've been eyeing and restraining myself from buying!
Guitar Lessons, JamPlay Style
About 10 years ago, I bought a Mitchel acoustic guitar from Guitar Center with the intent of being proficient enough to play a song or two. You would think that in 10 years, I would have picked up some substantial skills. Alas, the opposite is true, I know barely enough to strum a few chords and pick a few measly licks. JamPlay is an online guitar lesson site that I've been very impressed with. At $19.95/month or $139.95/year, it is quite affordable and offers a lot more flexibility than in-person lessons. (Visit the Store for a gift card!)
ASUS Andriod Eee Transformer Tablet!
This tablet is by far the coolest thing I've seen in quite some time. It's a 10" multi-touch tablet with Wifi, GPS, accelerometer, 32GB of memory, and touts the Andriod 3.0 operating system, the same one that runs on my hacked MyTouch 4G phone. Why not an iPad2, you ask? Apple just isn't my thing, I guess. I've been a Linux geek for too long to look back now.
What sets this tablet apart from other devices out there? There's a detachable keyboard and battery (purchased separately) that converts the tablet into a laptop! There are times when I like to have a keyboard, and times when I don't. This manages to do both! Trust me. So cool! It's a bit expensive, though... I may end up just having to save for a while to buy this one.
Learning Chinese from a Pod
Really, you ask? Chinese? Yes! I don't know how to really explain it other than that general desire to continue learning, exploring, and connecting with other people. What better way to do this than to learn the language and eventually travel there!
I have fortunately found a very good website for this very task: ChinesePod! My free trial account (which I encourage you to do as well) has long since expired, but I learned what I needed to know: it is a quality program that offers downloadable content, interactive on-line lessons, a supportive community, and access to teachers!
The Basic package costs about $14/month, but the Premium package at $29/month includes a cool Andriod application! I haven't found a way to purchase these as Gift Cards, but it's still a cool site that I would love to subscribe to.
What kind of runner wish list would this be without some running gear?! First up, the "Ultimate Direction FastDraw Plus Handheld Bottle", now on sale for $13.95 at Zombierunner.com. I'm enjoying my Nathan waist pack, but as with all waist packs, they get a bit annoying, bouncing all around. It isn't until after about 30 minutes of running does it seem to settle in, or perhaps I don't find it as annoying by that time. Regardless, I'm starting to dig the idea of running with less around the waist and having the bottles in my hands. A pair of these would allow me to try that out! You would be enabling scientific experimentation! O.K. Perhaps it would be more subjective observation.
The next item on my running gear wishlist is this cool adaption from Hydrapak called the GelBot. Yeah, I know, how many water bottles can a man have? Just check it out:
I have to admit, I grabbed this idea from trail runner Scott Dunlap's blog about this very product. I'm not a big fan of the litter you create by using gel packs, so if there's a way I can be more "green", I'll do it! Combine the FastDraw bottle holders with the GelBot bottles, and you have a fast exchange at aid stations and no trash!
Now, I haven't put on enough miles to think about using this next product for unsupported runs just yet, but I do run as a mode of commuting to work, and I'll be ramping up this effort this summer. However, it often means I have to carry my clothes or rain gear with me. I can leave certain items at work or the YMCA locker room, but I can't always plan ahead for these things. I would love a flyweight or midweight fast-pack. I did find this useful review article from Running Times that's more to the point. The Osprey Talon 33 looks more to my liking!
Another item by Nathan Sports would help me out quite a bit, actually, a smart-phone armband called Frequency. I use my Andriod phone for its GPS, music playlist, and periodically a picture here and there. The GPS isn't all that accurate when taken from my waist pack, though.
The Wallet That Beats All
I did buy myself an early gift, a new wallet from ALL-ETT. It's a simpler than most, with only four pockets for credit cards, and two sleeves. One is larger for receipts, and one for cash. Made out of nylon spinnaker cloth, the same material they make sails out of, it is extremely lightweight, durable, and water resistant. This is my third one in about seven or eight years. Don't tell my dad yet, but I bought him one too!
Happy Father's Day!
I'd say that's a pretty good list for now. I'm hungry and tired, and it's time for bed! Enjoy your Father's Day weekend, running dads. I hope you spotted something useful in this list and can give a big hint to your loved ones!