Last-Minute Gift Guide

Been too busy watching the games to hit the malls? Waiting for divine inspiration to strike?  Perhaps we can help with these suggestions that will win smiles from your home team.


A Referee for the Temperature Wars

Most scrimmages in our house happen around the thermostat.  The battles are around personal comfort zones, global warming and the dollars and sense of home heating in Western New York.  If this sounds familiar take a look at the Nest digital thermostat.  The Nest sets it times and temperatures by keeping track of actual usage patterns in your home and turns itself down when you’re away.  Connect it to the WiFi in your home and you can control it from anywhere you’ve “got net.”  It promises to save you 20% on your energy bills and sends you a monthly report to put its mouth where your money went.  At $249 for version 2.0, it ain’t cheap to start with, but if it’ll win you points, Lowe’s is selling version 1.0 for $50 less for the next 30 days or until they’re gone.  Before you buy, make sure the Nest will work with your home system (it does with 95% of home heating and wiring)


Home Theater

Want a no fuss, no muss, almost wireless combination to bring the stadium into your living room?  Try combining the Epson Home Cinema 3020E 3LCD Projector with the Toshiba SBX4250 speaker bar system.  The $1899 projector does wireless HDMI, so no ugly cables to run across your ceiling , and with a projector you don’t need to sweat things like viewing angle, buying the right size screen for the size of your room, etc.  The Toshiba sound bar gives you all six speakers for your surround in one simple, easy to mount, unobtrusive unit, with a wireless subwoofer to easily tuck away in the best place in the room.  It’ll also do double duty as a speaker set-up from your Bluetooth enabled digital music devices.


If you want a new console in your living room for Christmas, there’s only one choice, but if you’re willing to roll the dice and give the gamer(s) in your house a envelope with a “coming soon” certificate, there are actually two.

If you can get one by hanging out at your favorite big box store waiting for UPS to arrive, you might snag a Wii U, a new system with a new paradigm, a second controller that’s also a second screen that offers new types of gameplay, or lets the gamers keep going when you want the big screen switched to the Superbowl.  It’s offered in two flavors, Deluxe (black, $349) and Basic (white, $299).  Deluxe comes with 4 times the hard drive capacity, a game and some other bells and whistles, but the basic can be upgraded over time with external devices if it’s the only one you can find and you gotta have one NOW.  There’s over 30 games available now for the console and it’s compatible with all previous Wii titles and controllers.

For those who want to live on the cutting edge, there’s the OUYA.  This $99 pre-order console was a Kickstarter sweet heart, generating over $8.5 million in contributions to fund the start-up that wants to build this low-cost, Android powered game system.  All the games for the OUYA will be offered on the free-to-play model, like the bulk of on-line games are today.  These games, such as League of Legends and Team Fortress 2 earn their $ through players purchasing in-game power-ups, items, etc and/or via in-game advertising.  OUYA is designed to get PC and Mobile games up on the TV so that families and friends can more easily play them together. OUYA’s pre-order page currently says they’ll ship in April 2013.

Tail Gate Twins

If it’s still warm enough where you are to tail gate, or you want to get ready for next year, take a look at the Line of Kelty Folding Coolers ($45.95-75.95) and the Bodum Fyrkat line of charcoal and propane grills ($40 on sale for the older smaller charcoal, $49.95 for the newer, larger charcoal and $120 for the propane model).

The coolers all collapse when empty but still have rigid tops and bottoms and the ever crucial cup-holding indentations in the lids. With three sizes to choose from you can pick one for an afternoon’s game or a weekend’s worth of camping.

The Fyrkats all sport lockable lids for one-handed carrying and no mess transportation.  The older model, on sale has a cooking grill just under 12” around while the newer charcoal and gas models are 15” around

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