You know, it feels like almost yesterday that I “celebrated” turning a quarter century. In a blink of an eye, we find ourselves a full three years later with my birthday coming up early next week. I’d like to think that I’m a little smarter and a little wiser… and I know I have the grey hairs to prove it!

Now, I’m not really expecting any Beyond the Rhetoric readers to bestow me with any physical gifts, since you guys give me something so much more valuable each and every day, but it’s not like I’m going to turn down any offers either. Some of the items listed below can be found on my Amazon Wish List, but others may be a little more challenging to acquire. Think of this list more as me thinking out loud than anything else.

A New Notebook Computer

Believe it or not, I’ve been using the same old Dell Inspiron laptop for the last few years. For the most part, it has served me well, since I don’t do much heavy lifting on my computer, but it’s about time I get an upgrade. The Dell is fine for web browsing and light photo editing, but I want a machine that can better handle HD video processing.

I don’t plan on going too deep into this realm, so perhaps something like the Asus U43JC-X1 could be a suitable solution. I’d still very much prefer a notebook over a desktop, since I value my portability. The Asus U43JC-X1 is a 14-inch laptop with an Intel Core i5-450M processor, NVIDIA G310M (1GB) GPU, 500GB HDD, and a 10-hour battery. And it’s got bamboo to boot.

A New Digital Camera

Just as I have been using the same computer for a few years, the same can be said about my camera. I very much like my Canon S3 IS, since it has a good macro mode and 12x optical zoom, but it would be nice to have something new to use too. I’m undecided whether I should get something more compact (for portability reasons) or move up into the SLR or Micro Four-Thirds format.

If I go for the former, I could consider something like the Canon PowerShot SX120IS. Its lens doesn’t stick out as much as the S3, but it still offers 10x optical zoom and optical image stabilization. Both of these features come in really handy for press coverages, trade shows, and community events.

Canucks and/or Seahawks Tickets

I like sports. I like watching sports in person even more. Unfortunately, attending these games can be a very expensive endeavor, which is why I don’t do it nearly as often as I would have liked. I did go to one Canucks game this year and I intend on seeing (at least) one this year.

My first and only live NFL experience was three years ago, so it’s about time I head back to Qwest Field in Seattle to watch the Seahawks. For my part, I think I’d enjoy a Saints, Colts, or Ravens game a little more (I like those teams a lot more than the Sea-Pigeons), but I’ll take a ‘Hawks game since it’s so much closer to Vancouver.

A Stronger US Dollar

One of the biggest factors affecting my freelance writing income is the currency exchange rate. It wasn’t that long ago that I was able to get $1.20 Canadian for every American dollar. Today, it’s pretty much on par. While I do what I can to work harder, work smarter, and earn more, I have next to no control over the exchange rate.

So, by far, my biggest birthday wish is for a stronger American dollar. I think my readers south of the 49th parallel will agree with me on that front too, but there’s not much we can do personally to shift it in the right direction. I guess I’ll just settle for some free birthday food in the meantime.