Genius Stocking Stuffer Ideas

12.18.2008 | 2:43 pm

I sometimes wonder if Superman forgets that he has all the superpowers he has: flight, strength, speed, half a dozen kinds of “vision,” freeze breath, heat breath, really really good hearing, invulnerability, and great lung capacity.

Seriously, it must be confusing sometimes to know which superpower to use when he’s fighting crime? The X-Ray Vision and flight? Or maybe super speed, heat breath, and just a skosh of super strength?

And then, later, in the privacy of the Fortress of Solitude, I wonder if he smacks his super palm against his super forehead and exclaims, “heat vision! I forgot all about the heat vision! I could have solved the whole thing in half the time if I hadn’t forgotten about my heat vision!

The reason I wonder this about Superman is because I am subject to exactly this malady. I have so many superpowers that I sometimes forget about them. Recently, for example, I have completely forgotten about one of my most obscure — but still exceptionally awesome — powers: the ability to select ridiculously good gifts.

But yesterday my gift-discernment superpower (an obscure but well-regarded power) manifested itself in a big way. I thought of two incredibly great gift ideas. And now I’m going to tell you about them, so you can take appropriate action.

Gift Idea 1: Something Every Cyclist Needs

I spent a big chunk of yesterday afternoon shopping for gifts for my kids. After a couple hours of this, I realized that I had arrived at an important point: I either needed to take a break from shopping or gouge my eyes out.

So I went to Home Depot. You know, just to hang out for a few minutes, browse the aisles. For fun. C’mon, you know you do the same thing sometimes.

Anyway, as soon as I went in, I saw something I immediately knew every cyclist in the world would want, and that — likely — very few would have. And it was only $8.00, making it an even better gift.



Yep, 650 zipties, in 3 different sizes. When combined with a six-pack set of duct tape rolls, you are effectively giving the gift of the ability to fasten anything to anything in a more-or-less permanent fashion.

And that’s close to a superpower itself, when you think about it.

I know, I know. It’s not exactly the most aesthetically pleasing gift in the history of gifts. But I guarantee it’s one they’ll use. And the first time they need it, they will have a Class 3 Epiphany that you are the best gift-giver they have ever met.

Gift Idea 2: The Gift Every Computer Owner Wishes For But Can’t Afford

The fact that you’re reading this blog entry leads me to conclude that you have access to a computer. And the fact that you have access to a computer makes me suspect that you probably use a digital camera for your photos. And the fact that you have a computer and take digital pictures leads me to suspect that you probably wish you had some really awesome photo editing software.

You know, like Photoshop.

The thing is, though, Photoshop’s expensive. Like $699 expensive, which is very nearly $700 (but not quite, thanks to very clever marketing folks at Adobe). So you probably don’t have it.

But — starting right now and going through Tuesday — you have a chance to win a brand new copy of Photoshop CS4 (retail box, never opened, your choice of Windows or Mac), while at the same time donating money to the Lance Armstrong Foundation via my friend Bob’s Fundraising Page.

Check it out:


Yup, donate $5.00 on Bob’s page and you get a virtual raffle ticket toward the drawing Tuesday. And if you win and want the Windows version, I’ll ship it to you overnight so you get it by Christmas (if you want the Mac version or prefer Photoshop Extended you’ll have to wait a bit longer). The more you donate, the better your chances of winning. So click here and go donate at Bob’s page now.

Oh, and also it’s a good chance to do something good — you’re fighting cancer, even as you acquire the means to digitally remove your love handles (which I would never do). And Photoshop would make an awesome Christmas gift.

Though I wouldn’t blame you if you kept it for yourself.


  1. Comment by aussie kev | 12.18.2008 | 2:50 pm

    I can usually “aquire” cable ties from work – on the odd occasion i have had to buy them i can never get over how expensive they are ( good ones anyway ) that pack at the current exchange rate (1 Aussie dollar = 2 USA cents) must have cost a fortune.

    merry christmas fatty and family.


  2. Comment by Clydesteve | 12.18.2008 | 2:51 pm

    so many contests – so few dollars.

    whats a few more to a good cause?

  3. Comment by Jeff | 12.18.2008 | 2:57 pm

    Chicks dig the gift-discernment super power :)

  4. Comment by rich | 12.18.2008 | 3:00 pm

    How funny – I bought myself that exact tub of zip-ties this past weekend thinking, I’m always wishing I had different sizes of these…

  5. Comment by bikemike | 12.18.2008 | 3:08 pm

    i can belch, fart and cough at the same time. this is a superpower according to my twelve-year old.

    also with the zip ties and duct tape is the two-sided 3M tape. the two sided tape holds my helmet on and i just cut off the straps.

  6. Comment by Woody | 12.18.2008 | 3:17 pm

    What’s with all this worry over shopping? We’ve got a whole WEEK left!!

  7. Comment by MikeonhisBike | 12.18.2008 | 3:26 pm

    My superpower is the ability to take a nap anytime anywhere. Speaking of duct tape, I made duct tape wallets and tote bags (not purses that would be wimpy) for my kids this year for Christmas. The only thing lacking from these gifts are zip ties. I should have thought of that earlier.


  8. Comment by Mal | 12.18.2008 | 3:40 pm

    Thank a higher power for the simple joy of realising that all us middle of the pack fathers/husbands/lovers that what we really would like for christmas is that pack of cable ties.
    Thanks fatty for being a role model with everything you and Susan are going thru, in this a season of joy for us all.
    London UK

  9. Comment by Don | 12.18.2008 | 3:56 pm

    WHOA! That’s awesome.
    It sucks that use of P2P sites is, well, illegal. So, I guess this is the next best thing.

  10. Comment by GenghisKhan | 12.18.2008 | 4:05 pm

    Ahhh, zip ties–can’t go wrong with zip ties. As to CS4, is that better than MS Paint?

  11. Comment by Marla | 12.18.2008 | 5:25 pm

    Oh, zip ties are the best. I’m always looking for some, even though I know that I’ve bought many packages of them.I know I’ll open the door to the vortex of lost bike stuff and find them one day. Along with that old Deore rear thumb shifter I haven’t been able to find since 1993!

  12. Comment by Charisa | 12.18.2008 | 5:54 pm

    Do you have a raffle for the zip ties?! :) You’re right – every cyclists needs those!!!

  13. Comment by deedubya | 12.18.2008 | 6:00 pm

    Nerd Note: get black zip ties, not white. black are UV resistant and won’t rot as quickly

  14. Comment by Dobovedo | 12.18.2008 | 6:36 pm

    Too ironic! I was just dipping into my dwindling supply of zip-ties to put four strings of battery powered X-mas lights on my bike! Blinky taillights? Yawn. How boring! Be visible and festive at the same time!

  15. Comment by Roo | 12.18.2008 | 11:11 pm

    Or better yet get hot pink zip ties and then you’ll always be able to find them. My superpower is (obviously) the ability to lose anything, anywhere, anytime.

  16. Comment by william | 12.19.2008 | 2:20 am

    I have a similar tub of zip ties that I received as a gift, but, now get this, they are multi coloured so I can match them to whatever I am attaching them to (so long is it is red, white, black, blue, green or yellow)
    Now that WAS an awsome gift.

  17. Comment by buckythedonkey | 12.19.2008 | 4:08 am

    I’m delighted that my limited Spanish vocabulary has been extended to include that so-useful-on-holiday phrase, “assorted cable ties”.

  18. Comment by Mike Roadie | 12.19.2008 | 6:05 am


    Need it, need it, got it, got it, need it, got it, need it.

  19. Comment by dino | 12.19.2008 | 7:40 am

    Deedub is right. The clear ones will crack within a week if their outside in the sun. Go with the black UV resistant ties.

  20. Comment by Jenni Laurita | 12.19.2008 | 8:38 am

    I like to buy the packages of colorful zip ties- they come in pink, yellow, orange. Not only are they functional, but in a pinch can be used a flair for events- zip tie through the holes of your helmet and let the ends stand straight up. It’s a classy yet understated look.

  21. Comment by GenghisKhan | 12.19.2008 | 9:03 am

    Uh, let’s stick to the clear zip ties, folks. The economy is already precarious enough as it is. If we buy UV resistant ZTs and they last forever, then the ZT industry dries up and like dominoes, it’s all over from there. Clear, people, CLEAR! If you want to have peace in the upcoming year and stability in the economy, please for the love of all that is good, buy clear zip ties!!! ;o)

  22. Comment by Steiner | 12.19.2008 | 9:13 am

    I don’t have a Super Power but I do have a magic basket! I put my stinky cycle clothes in it and they magically appear clean in the drawer! My wife is convinced this is magic since I make it look so easy.

  23. Comment by M2 | 12.19.2008 | 10:07 am

    “So I went to Home Depot. You know, just to hang out…”

    You must be my long lost twin.

  24. Comment by jwbikes | 12.19.2008 | 10:11 am

    I loves me some hot pink zip ties, but then I have a hot pink bike. They camo right in on that one. The other bikes, well let’s just say they can be found easily.

  25. Comment by runrevolt | 12.19.2008 | 2:33 pm

    Hate to break this to you Fatty…but every computer owner who wishes to own photoshop (or the entire CS4 design premium suite) actually can…if they go to Indiana University or one of it’s related schools. Adobe released it ONLY to them as a promo. Yup, for free. My GF already downloaded her copy. Can you believe that?

  26. Comment by Dobovedo | 12.20.2008 | 10:53 am


    Just curious.. is “going to Indiana University or one of it’s related schools” also free? Sign me up!

  27. Comment by Kathleen | 12.20.2008 | 12:03 pm

    I am proud to associate with such a bright group of clever and insightful people…who knew there were so many choices of color with regards to zip-ties? My eyes have been opened.

  28. Comment by Uncle Bob | 12.22.2008 | 12:17 am

    In Australia, Photoshop costs $1200! Since I’m not a graphic arts pro, I just use Gimp.

  29. Comment by Sara | 12.22.2008 | 6:10 am

    Some people’s bikes are held together with zip-ties! Slip a roll of (colored is a nice touch for gift-giving)duct-tape in with the pack of zip-ties and your biking buddies will thank you to no end!

  30. Comment by Big Boned | 12.22.2008 | 12:44 pm

    Thanks! My wife has started reading your blog. She saw this post and now I have 7 cyndrical packages under the tree. When I shake them, they sound very much like Zip Ties…
    Anyone need one?

  31. Comment by piano tuning problems | 01.27.2009 | 4:31 pm

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