Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Shameless Self-promotion

Just a few of this year's Christmas Gift suggestions - A Blipshift shirt, Harveys Seatbelt purse (or wallet), and Mechanix gloves

It's getting more and more difficult to link to the Toronto Star's Wheels Section's website - wheels.ca - to share my articles with you, as not everything that sees print finds its way onto the web. So to share my work with you when that occurs, I'm going to publish the whole thing on my blog instead.

Do bear in mind that what you're seeing below is essentially the raw article as submitted (tidied up slightly for www presentation), not the final article as professionally edited and published in the Star. Note that the price points were specified ahead of time, and all Wheels' contributors had the same criteria to work with.

Too late for Christmas perhaps, but these would also be great birthday presents too.

Please leave me a comment if you have a preference between my doing it this way or photos of the printed article as I've done once before.

Brian’s Christmas Gift List – 2013

Gift for Someone else, $(unlimited)

I’m not shy about my lack of interest in NASCAR racing. Sure, it takes real skill and has exciting moments, but it’s just not my thing. My Mom, on the other hand, is a road racing fan and loves NASCAR.

Last year she attended her first ever NASCAR race in Las Vegas. Her sister and brother in-law vacation there, so they met up and went together - she enjoyed it so much she’s going again this year. Mom would really love to go to Bristol, Tennessee to watch a night race at Bristol Speedway, her favourite track, but she’d never go by herself.

My cost-no-object gift this year would be tickets for the three of them to attend the Night Race, plus the airfare, transportation and accommodations necessary to bring Mom from Toronto and them from Edmonton.

Savannah, Georgia-based “There and Back Again Adventures” offers packages that include hotel, coach transfers, guides, and track tickets to numerous NASCAR races, including Bristol. A package featuring a classy historic hotel in nearby Greeneville starts at $599US per person (www.thereandbackagain.com). A quick look at Air Canada’s website (www.aircanada.com) suggests their flights will cost approximately $7000, and I’d factor another $1000 for ground transportation to and from Knoxville airport.

Gift for up to $50 (1)

Got a real gearhead on your list? A T-shirt (or hoodie) wearing someone who’s immersed in car culture and loves in-joke references? Check out the latest offering on Blipshift – a website that offers a continually changing, limited-time-only, selection of quality shirts and hoodies featuring graphics relevant to fans of the automobile. Shirts start at just $15US. (www.blipshift.com)

Gift for up to $50 (2)

As the weather turns cold, you (like me) will probably be tempted to wear gloves, at least for the first little while, on those chilly days. Unfortunately, most winter gloves are bulky and ill-suited for safely holding the wheel or operating controls.
While not insulated, I’ve found Mechanix work gloves keep my hands comfy enough in a cold car, and their synthetic leather palms provide a positive grip while retaining dexterity. Widely available; $29.99 per pair at Canadian Tire (www.canadiantire.ca).

Gift for up to $100 (1)

Look at almost any car with plastic headlights that’s older than five or six years and you’ll likely find discoloured, cloudy lenses. It’s partly pitting, but mostly degradation of the plastic from UV. It’s often possible to repair it, but I’d rather prevent it. Lamin-X sells pre-cut stick-on plastic film light covers for a large selection of popular vehicles, available in clear (street legal) and various tints and shades (take your chances), as well as other protection items. A 4-piece set for my RX-8’s head and fog lights is $49.95US plus shipping. (www.lamin-x.com)

Gift for up to $100 (2)

A while ago my wife received a Harveys purse as a gift. Made almost entirely out of seatbelt webbing, we both thought it was really cool. Of course, being a deep red-coloured purse, it's not something most males (myself included) would want to tote around. Turns out that Harveys also makes men’s stuff, including the Treecycle Wallet, made of salvaged seatbelts. I quite like the two-tone C-2200 style; $58US plus shipping, www.seatbeltbags.com.

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