By now you know I love to fish! Up early in the morning, casting while the sun is rising there is just something about the peacefulness right before a large mouth bass pops onto your line. Well even though it’s 5:30am I am still looking damn good with the Guideline Swell Sunglasses. These are polarized, UV Ray protective polycarbonate lenses that not only give you a great view of the lake they are designed to last. Not only are these glasses great in the sun, but also for low light and overcast days. I will be honest and say I am not easy on glasses, so it’s nice to have a good durable pair of sunglasses to keep on the boat. The are easy to store in a soft durable case that comes with the Swell sunglasses. Guideline has a history of providing boating and fishing sunglasses that perform and the Swell live up to their name! Check them out on-line or find the right style for you at www.glpolarized.com!
I often comment every time I am watching a movie or TV show about how bright the flashlights are that are being used. I have said to my wife, “Wow where can I get a flashlight like that?” There was one point that I have a million candle light rechargeable flash light that was not only bulky, it only lasted a few minutes before it needed to be recharged. You have all seen these small LED flashlights that put out a pretty good beam so I was a little skeptical when the F1 Flashlight by LED Lenser showed up at my door. However, once I put in the Lithium 3-volt battery, I couldn’t believe the power of this light! I was actually excited to take it outside that night to test it in the complete dark. I was amazed how it lit up the woods behind my house! I could not believe there was that much power in such a small flashlight! This is about the size of one of my fingers, its waterproof and puts out a beam of 400 Lumens. This is the perfect flashlight to keep in your car, next to your bed, in your boat, wherever you might need a flashlight you won’t go wrong having the F1 ready to go. I will challenge anyone out there to find a smaller, more powerful flashlight! Check them out at www.ledlenser.com.
The futures so bright, I have to wear shades! If you haven’t jumped on the LED light bulb bandwagon, the time is now! 46 percent of the US Commercial lamp market will be made up of LED lights by the year 2020.
I first made the switch to my outdoor driveway lights as I was tired of replacing them in a few months because they were on so much. I don’t think I have touched those in years.
Samsung has introduced their line of LED lights which includes the new Candle LED bulb. I installed this bulb in my ceiling fan as it is a 5.2 watt 300 Lumen bulb (equivalent to 40 watt bulb) that gives off more light and saves more energy than a standard bulb.
The Omnidirectional A19 LED light bulb (pictured here) is an equivalent to a 60 watt bulb. HOWEVER, the Samsung LED light has a lifetime of 25,000 hours or approximate 22.8 YEARS! That is 25 times longer than incandescent models!
Stop climbing up on ladders changing light bulbs every few months. The Samsung LED light bulbs look great, gives off more light and out perform anything that is in your house today! Find out what LED bulb is right for you by visiting http://www.samsung.com/us/appliances/led-lighting just have your shades ready!
I have several different golf GPS apps on my iPhone, and I can’t tell you how many times I leave my phone in the cart. I’ll get out to the fairway, reach for my phone and see it sitting in the cart. Izzo Golf makers of the SWAMI GPS have solved my dilemma! The SWAMI Golf GPS Watch is a stylist wrist watch with 25,000+ pre-loaded worldwide courses that gives you accurate data to the front, center and back of the green. The rechargeable Li-polymer holds a 6-8 hour charge in golf mode to last even the longest round. This watch goes where you go, so you will always know the distance to the pin! Check it out on-line at http://www.izzo.com/products/swami-watch-golf-gps.
This time of year, I can’t get rid of the snow fast enough! In New England we always have at least one snow storm in April to push off the golf season a few more weeks. I was never a big fan of electric powered anything until now. For years I have been dragging my big heavy snow blower up 10 stairs to clear my deck. I recently found the Snow Joe Ultra 18-IN 13 AMP Electric Snow Thrower.
This baby has the power I need to clear my deck and throw the snow far so one pass does the trick. So much easier than dragging a 100lbs gas snow blower up the stairs! I’ve tried other “electric shovels” and for the price, the Snow Joe FAR outweighs and out performs anything else I have tested. I also LOVE the Snow Joe broom with ice scraper. The other day I glance over and watched as my son tried to “shovel” off the snow on my car. As I slipped and slid toward the car to stop him, he finally figured out this wasn’t a good idea. I gave him the Snow Joe broom and the snow was off the car in an instant. This “broom” pushes the snow off your car without damaging the paint! It is strong, extends to 49 inches and makes cleaning your car a breeze. Check out the some great products at www.snowjoe.com.
*****UPDATE MARCH 9, 2013****
From what you might have seen, New Hampshire had another HUGE snow storm. Let me tell you, I have a BIG ASS…….Deck! The Snow Joe SJ620 just cleared off 18 inches of heavy wet snow! I know it says 10 inch snow depth, but taking it slow and attacking the snow, the Snow Joe SJ620 just saved my back, a whole lot of time and may have just help cut a few inches of my big ass! If you have a deck, go to www.snowjoe.com and save yourself a lot of time and back breaking work!
This first Gotta Have Gadget is not just for a cruise but for any trip. The Briggs & Riley BU125X is a 25” expandable piece of luggage. My father-in-law learned the hard way of purchasing less expensive luggage. As soon as we picked the bags up at Tampa International Airport, his wheels were broken meaning I had to carry his bag. I packed the BU125X to the brim which weighed in at 48.6 pounds. Being just less than 50 pounds, my luggage was tagged as “heavy” but I didn’t need to pay any additional fees. I thought being that heavy, I would have trouble with the wheels, but even at just under 50 lbs the Briggs & Riley BU125X stood up to the test. Internal and external pockets and compartments made it easy to pack my flip flops, and Vans to keep them away from my clothes. Not only did this luggage exceed my expectations, the “lava” color had me walking with style! To see all the features of the Briggs & Riley BU125X visit them on-line at www.briggs-riley.com.
As you may have read in my trip report (http://www.thewdwdads.com/carnival/) I went snorkeling in the Grand Caymans. Although snorkeling gear is provided, I like to bring my own set. There is just something about using a mask and snorkel that was used by someone else. I turned to U.S. Divers after some research and tested the Regal LX Mask, Tuscan Snorkel and Tuluam Fin Set. I was amazed at how many people brought their own gear and how many of those were U.S. Diver kits. The two key features here were the Mask with a hypoallergenic Silicone face skirt which was extremely comfortable and the Snorkel that could go under water and with a quick exhale would clear any water from the valve. This was ideal as we had good 3-5 foot waves that from time to time would crash over my snorkel. As I saw others taking in water, I blew out the water and continued to swim. All three pieces of snorkel gear fit perfectly in the supplied travel bag which made it easy to pack and easy to carry off the cruise. U.S. Divers has gear for beginners and expert snorkeling with custom sizes to fit your needs. Check them out at www.usdivers.com to find the right set for you.
Whether you are swimming, fishing, parasailing or snorkeling, I recommend a good pair of water shoes. The Adam™ by Altra is my choice. I wore them through a season of fishing in various ponds; I take them for swimming in public pools like at Disney and on the cruise, and wear them generally anytime I am around water. What I love about the Adam™ is they are extremely comfortable and the soles provide a grip on any underwater surface. Believe me when I say I have tested these on every surface at various boat launches. The Velcro straps make it easy to put them on or take them off and provide a tight fit. These were easy to pack and extreme comfort makes Altra’s The Adam™ a must have for any trip involving water. You can see all the benefits on-line at www.altrazerodrop.com
The Creative Sound BlasterAxx SBX 20 is just loaded with technology! Built not only for great sound, but there are several features that I really like when I am searching for a bluetooth audio speaker. First of all, I love the iPod app that allows me to control this speaker right from my iPod. Actually, I use this from my iPhone so if I get a phone call while listening to music, I can answer the call and use the SBX 20 to hear and talk. The built in microphone can pick up my voice from across the room without yelling. Another cool feature is the “in focus” setting so the microphone only picks up audio from a specific area. That is a key feature when you have a dog like mine (Ricky Bobby) who barks at everything. If Ricky Bobby is not in the “in focus” zone, no one would ever know he is barking! When it comes to audio, the SBX 20 is as outstanding as you would expect from Creative Technology. The audio is crystal clear no matter if you are listening to music, playing a game or watching a movie. The design allows you to place this in a room without it standing out like a sore thumb. For all the technical specs, check it out on-line at http://us.creative.com/.
OK I will admit it, I suck at starting fires! This is coming from a guy that has a great fire pit and has between 10-15 bonfires a year. I have fires in the summer, winter and all sorts of weather. On a few occasions, I have had to call my neighbor the engineer to get the fire going! When I am able to get a small fire going, I dance around like Tom Hanks in “Castaway” and shout, “I have created FIRE!”
Well this all changed during my last bonfire! I simply opened a bag of StumpChunks poured them into my fire pit, then built up some firewood on top. With a few strategically placed matches, I had a beautiful base fire going in a matter of minutes!
I couldn’t believe how fast the fire started and what a great base it gave me to pile on the wood! StumpChunks are all natural made from New England hardwood and softwood. The creators of StumpChunks say this creates a “blast-furnace effect” which I have no idea what it means, I just now it started my fire faster than ever before!
Available at select stores and on-line the cost is roughly that of a pre-packaged fire log that never seemed to work for me. Those “fire logs” always took too long to start as they are designed for a slow burn. For now on, StumpChunks will be a permanent fixture at a Conrad bonfire. Check them out on-line at www.stumpchunks.com!
I have been a big fan of the Dyson Vacuum (going way back to before I had my blog http://voices.yahoo.com/dyson-vacuum-gotta-gadget-really-sucks-476996.html and Dyson Handheld Vacuums (http://gottahavegadget.com/dyson-dc31-handheld-vac/). Just when I think they can’t get any better, Dyson comes out with something new and creative. I very rarely write about accessories, but this is one that I have too. Not only is it a great gadget, but my wife LOVES when I have to test vacuum products. I honestly believe Dyson read my mind not only with this gadget, but they also have a new vacuum that sensors what surface you are trying to clean. When I was testing this, I actually said, “with technology the way it is, I shouldn’t have to push a button to when I go from a rug to my hardwood floors.” Then “BAM” I see a commercial for their new product. With the Tangle-free Turbine, this accessory makes it extremely easy to pick up pet fur, clean area rugs without getting all clogged up! In addition, with the design you will not ruin an area rug when a single string of the rug gets caught up in the vacuum head! This actually happened to me in an area rug where a string became tangled and I watched as it tore up the rug. What I really like about this accessory is that it fits on all the Dyson products. So not only do I use it on my Dyson Ball Vacuum, but the DC31 handheld too. I love that I can do a quick vacuum of the dog fur on the couch with the handheld before guests arrive. So if you have a Dyson product, check out http://www.dyson.com/tools/t/tangle-free-turbine-tool/tangle-free-turbine-tool.aspx as the Tangle-free Turbine is definitely a Gotta Have Gadget!
Do you own an iPad? Sure there are plenty of protective cases out there, but you will be hard pressed to find a better sounding protective case than the iMainGo XP. To call the iMainGo XP a protective case does it no justice at all, in fact I would call it the best sounding audio you can get in an instant. You see the iMainGo XP is a case that opens up to a portable audio system. With 4 superior high output stereo speakers you can get the most from your iTunes library without losing the portability of the iPad. The iMainGo XP is rechargeable and the batteries last for hours. Great sound system or protective case, you make the call! Check them out on-line at here.
Orange whip? Orange whip? Three orange whips! That is one of my favorite lines from the movie “The Blues Brothers”. Well after swinging the Orange Whip Trainer, you may want one too!
I view the Orange Whip as not only a trainer, but a great warm up piece to my golf game. One thing I see in golfers who struggle with their game is the lack of balance. The Orange Whip Trainer will not only train your core muscles for a proper swing, if your swing is out of sync you will lose your balance or the swing will feel awkward. Most new golfers have no idea how bad their swing is, because the only feedback you get is a poor shot. Once you start swinging the Orange Whip, you will feel where your swing is off. In addition to balance, the weighted orange ball at the end of the club will help you build a smooth tempo which is key to a good golf swing.
When used regularly, the Orange Whip can help golfers improve strength, flexibility, coordination and tempo. The cool thing is with this trainer, you never hit a golf ball. I can’t tell you how many golf training aides I have seen on the driving range which does nothing but frustrate the person as they are not hitting the ideal shot. The Orange Whip trainer forces you to work on your swing. Once you find your ideal tempo and groove, you will be amazed when you hit the range or course.
After I trained with the Orange Whip for a few weeks, I put it in my trunk so it will be there before every round I play. I take it out and warm up with it before I tee off. I find this helps me concentrate on my swing. The last thought I have before I tee up is, “trust your swing”. Once you can have that trust in your swing, you will find you’re not thinking about hitting bad shots, so you don’t hit them!
If you want to see the Orange Whip Trainer in action, check out their website at www.orangewhiptrainer.com. Now is the perfect time to buy as winter is coming and you can work on your swing for a few months before next season!
When I tell people I go to Disney World in August, one of the first questions is, “Why do you go to Florida when it is so hot?” Number 1, the heat doesn’t bother me, number 2 I go prepared to stay cool! As a “Gadget Guy” I am always asked what I pack to keep cool, well here you go! These items will be in my luggage when I travel to Disney in late August!
The Chill Skinz is a towel designed to keep you cool! Not only is it great for golfers, runners, tennis players or any summer sport, it is also great for Disney! Simply wet the Chill Skinz with cold water, squeeze out the excess water before you leave for a park, and slip in your bag. When needed, take the Chill Skinz out, shake to activate the towel and apply to the back of your neck (or other heated areas). When activated the towel will drop about 20 degrees cooler than the outside temperature which will certainly keep you cool! Check it out on-line at www.chillskinz.com.
Another way to stay cool is with Cool Off. Cool Off is a handy little wipe that you can easily store in your backpack, purse or even keep a couple in your pocket. 17 natural herbs helps the cool feeling last after the initial application. Whenever you need a quick chill, simply open the Cool Off pack wipe and feel the relief! With the small package you can easily fit several of these in your pocket to last the entire day. You will be amazed at the coolness of this tiny package. Now would be a good time to mention none of these products are a replacement for good hydration, you should make sure you drink plenty of water while at the parks. These products are a quick way to get some relief from the heat. For more information on Cool Off, visit them on the web at http://thequickchill.com!
Now it’s one thing being cool, but Oakley can not only help you stay cool but look cool as well! Oakley polo shirts are stylish (and believe me I need all the help I can get with style), but are also designed with a fabric to help keep you cool. Three things I really like about Oakley polo shirts would be they are designed with golf in mind, so they don’t hamper your swing. Second the have UV protection built into the fabric to help protect you from the sun. Take it from a guy who gets a sunburn under a 100-watt light bulb that comes in handy! The third thing I like about Oakley polo shirts is the patented “O Hydrolix” moisture management technology. Let’s face it, you don’t want to be the dad who looks like you just went on Kali River Rapids when you are in Epcot! Keeping cool is one thing, but looking cool is a essential.
The Oakley Fast Jacket XL Sunglasses are simply cool! I love these glasses. What is cool about these sunglasses is they come with two pairs of lenses for extreme sunlight as well as lower light. The lenses are easy to change so you will be ready for early morning, mid day and late evening all while looking cool! For all that Oakley has to offer, head to www.oakley.com and be the coolest dad in Disney!
At the end of the day, or sometimes just after noon, I like to wind down and have a little time to myself. That maybe by the pool, walking along the Boardwalk or even just hanging out in the air conditioning in the room. This is where I need some cool sounds! Let’s face it, there are very few places you can go and have piece and quiet, so that is why you need to manufacture some! The AblePlanet Clear Harmony sound isolation earphones can help you unwind. I’m going to be honest here, I have small ears. Although there are no support groups for guys like me, simple iPod headphones are uncomfortable. AblePlanet earphones are made for guys like me! They come with THREE comfortfit tips; small, medium and large. Comfort is important, but sound is the ultimate test for earphones. Most manufacturers of audio devices don’t put a lot of thought into their headphones. That is truly a shame! If you want the best sound for your music collection, AblePlanet has a earphone for you. I also like the fact the AblePlanet Clear Harmony sport earphones have a microphone and controls which work perfectly with the iPhone, iPad or Android phones. They come with a travel case which is perfect for a Disney trip! To find the best earphones for your use, go to www.ableplanet.com.
This is simply one of those “Gotta Have Gadgets” that you look at and instantly think, “Why didn’t I come up with that idea?” In the simplest of terms, the Newer Technology Power2U is a standard outlet with two built in USB charger plugs. How many of your outlets are taken up by your iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry or even your GPS? With a wife and two kids in the house we have more USB devices plugged in than we do any other power outlets. No more fumbling around to find that USB power outlet, simply plug your USB device right into the Power2U plug and you are up and charging in no time. Newer Technology makes it easy for businesses with 10 packs, 20 packs and even 100 packs. How many times during the day does one of your co-workers ask to borrow a charger because their smartphone is running out of battery power? This is as simple to install as a standard outlet, and has an internal fuse to protect from a power surge. The USB plug is designed to handle USB 3.0, 2.0 and older 1.1 plugs. All four power outlets can be used at one time. Such a simple design with a powerful space saver idea. Being a “Gadget guy” I need at lease two or three of these house in my kitchen alone! Perhaps this will help my wife as well, as she will certainly have to yell, “Can you clean up your mess” far less thanks to the Power2U outlet. For all the technical specs, check them out online at www.newertechnology.com.
I call her “Old Reliable”! Why, because every time I need to catch a fish, I pull out the Rapala Countdown CD-5 and BAM! I have a fish! Fishing in a pond near weeds, I have caught some nice Bass, and a few Pickerel! I love the motion of this lure as it truly looks like a minnow swimming. I kid you not, if I am in a slump, I reach for the CD-5 and it always delivers. Heck, even if it is just a little sun fish, it seems to get me back into the groove and before you know it a large mouth bass is sure to follow! My neighbor Don saw me pull out “Old Reliable” time and time again and have great success that he went out and bought one! I would like to say it was me and not the lure, but he started pulling out bass and pickerel as well! So if you are looking for that “go to” lure, I would say the Rapala Countdown CD-5 is certainly a Gotta Have Gadget fishing lure! Check them out on-line at http://www.rapala.com!
I have a new “mistress” and her name is Fishing! Now being as competitive as I am, I will be testing new gear so I can find much larger fish than my neighbor Don (pictured here). This is your chance as a manufacture of fishing line, lures, tackle boxes, fish finders and more to be featured here on “Gotta Have Gadget”! In addition, I will be adding fishing gear to my columns in Hooters Restaurant Magazine, www.thewdwdads.com and Beyond the Badge!
My neighbor just picked up a small fishing boat, so we have been out every weekend since. Although a new bass fishing boat is not on my radar, it may soon be on my Christmas list!!
If you are a manufacturer of fishing equipment, or fishing related products and would like to be featured here, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!
It was interesting for me to test the Magellan RV 9165T because I do not have a camper or RV, so the 7” diagonal touch screen took up most of my windshield! I knew right away this would be perfect for my Disney friends who are taking a camper or RV to Ft. Wilderness or any other campground.
This is the honest truth! The last time I was at Ft. Wilderness, my father backed our rental car into the little driveway and actually HIT the cabin we were staying in. How he did it I have no idea, but it actually shook the entire cabin! If he had the optional wireless back-up camera and the Magellan GPS, he would have seen he was much closer than he actually was and not hit the cabin! I couldn’t imagine him trying to back up an RV without the wireless back-up camera!
Anyways, back to the RV 9165T and some of its features. First of all there are 6 million points of interest. I cannot verify that “South of the Border” is one of those, but anyone driving down from the Northeast certainly cannot miss the 100 miles of billboards. The nice feature is you can pick and chose what points of interest you want displayed to make it easy for a quick detour or perhaps you don’t want to see the second largest ball of twine on the face of the earth, which is only four short hours away!
Another great feature is the lifetime of free traffic! This is a terrific feature that will help suggest alternate routes should there be a major traffic jam. An alert will pop on the screen letting you know the time delay and what the alternate route would be, you have the choice to accept the alternate route or continue on your current route. In addition to free lifetime traffic, Magellan offers free lifetime map upgrades! With most of their competitors, you can spend over $50 a year updating your maps! You can also set speed limit warnings. The speed limit of each road is displayed on the screen which can help on the highway where speed limits can change in an instant.
If you are making an extended trip, you can plan multiple destinations and map your route accordingly. If you are driving a larger RV, the Magellan RV 9165T can plan routes according to your own vehicle’s length, width, weight and height! With windshields being so large on an RV, the spoken street names allows you to focus on the road instead of the GPS.
There are so many features and custom features for RV and camper users, you have to check them out on-line. Take it from someone who made the trip in a station wagon (almost like the family truckster) you will be lucky if you are driving to be in an RV. For all the great features, check it out on-line at http://www.magellangps.com/Products/RoadMate-RV/Magellan-RoadMate-RV9165T-LM! For other great Gotta Have Gadgets check out my blog at www.gottahavegadget.com.
Three months ago, I was riding in my car to work and heard a commercial that just touched my heart. The commercial was for the One Mission Kid’s Cancer Buzz-Off and will be held on Sunday, June 3, at Gillette Stadium. All proceeds will benefit Children’s Hospital Boston and the vital programs and services they provide to help kids beat cancer. The commercial was looking for people to sign up to have their heads shaved for a great cause.
I have chosen to buzz off my hair because the toll pediatric cancer takes on patients and their families is profound. I do not personally know any children who are affected, and that is a good thing. However, several friends and family have had to deal with Cancer and I can not imagine what it would be like to go through this as a child or have one of my children go through this!
Donating through this website is simple, fast, and totally secure. It is also the most efficient way to support my fundraising efforts. My personal goal is to raise $1000 and to date I have raised $1,410 but I’m not done yet! I have not cut my hair since I first heard the commercial until the official buzz off day (it is still growing very slowly!)
If you would like to donate to this great cause, please click here: http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/mike_conrad/kidscancerbuzz-off
Thank you to all who donated, I raised $1,860 for the Kid’s Cancer Buzz Off!!
With the summer approaching soon, I always get the same question, “How can you go to Disney in August?” The heat never bothers me, yet the sun does! Being Irish, I can get a sunburn under a 100 watt light bulb! I could use SPF 1,000,000 and probably still get some sort of burn. Heck, when I went to Disney’s Private Island Castaway Cay, I found a nice tree and hammock and stayed in the shade most of the day!
We all know we should use sun block and typically spray on gobs and gobs before you leave the room. The key here is what you do later in the day. I found a product called “Brush on Block”. This isn’t your normal, glob on sunscreen! As a matter of fact it looks more like a make-up brush than sun block. However, the design is one of the keys of its success. I’m sure at one point or another you have had sun screen in your eye, you know that sting and burn. Brush on Block brushes on like you are applying make-up (well that is what I am told about brushing on make-up). With the easy apply brush, you avoid getting sun block in your eyes and it doesn’t run when you sweat.
Since it is made with minerals, you don’t even know that you are wearing sun screen. This is perfect for around your face and neck, and for guys with thinning hair like me, it’s easy to cover that bald spot! Women can easily place Brush on Block in their handbag, men can slide it in their satchel (Indiana Jones wears one) and keep one in your golf bag as well. With the convenient size, you can apply throughout the day to the key areas that you need to protect.
There are very few gadgets out there that become an instant classic, The Man Table as soon as I saw it went into the Gotta Have Gadget Hall of Fame?
So, what is a “Man Table”? Perhaps you have seen one, but never knew the true secret of the man table. The man table is a beautifully hand crafted end table that would look great in any living room or man cave. I know what you are saying, what makes this an instant hall of fame gadget is that within this beauty, is a built in refrigerator!
I knew this was an instant classic as soon as it arrived. My wife said, “That will look wonderful in our living room!” Of course she didn’t realize it was a refrigerator! That is what makes this such a great item. I actually have fun when guests come over and I send them into the living room to get a beer out of the fridge. They stand in the middle of the room looking around helpless as they search for the beer. When I go over to the Man Table, they cannot believe it! When their wife or girlfriend tells them the man table would look great in their living room, they all rush to the internet to visit www.mantables.com.
These end tables are Armish made and you can truly see the craftsmanship the day it arrives. Available in tobacco, espresso and black, there is a man table for even the most decorative living room. The debate will begin between men and women if the man table is an elegant end table or a classic refrigerator. Honestly, who cares, it functions perfectly as both.
The Man Table eliminates the sprint to your kitchen or basement during commercials of the big game as it easily holds a 30-pack of your favorite beverage. You will find the most popular seat on game day is next to the man table!
2012 Ultimate Guys weekend sponsored by Lexus!
One of the coolest things about being a freelance writer is, from time to time I get invited to some pretty cool events. I will honestly say I was a little shocked when I received an invitation from Lexus to join them in Las Vegas for Super Bowl weekend.
If you happened to catch the big game, you might have noticed the all new 2013 Lexus GS and the very first Lexus Super Bowl commercial. So you are probably asking, “Why a gadget guy?” That is exactly what I asked myself, so stay tuned for the answer to that question! I am extremely thankful that they extended an invitation for me and a guest to join them!
The weekend started out on a good note for us, but a bad note for other Patriots fans. When I was asked how I wanted to fly out to Las Vegas, I told the travel agent if there were no direct flights so send me South first! So our flight went from Manchester, NH to Tampa, FL and then onto Las Vegas. While my brother and I were enjoying a beverage at the airport we learned the other flight through Denver was cancelled due to snow! It actually looked like I knew what I was doing as they had to wait another day, and then drive to Boston to catch a flight on Saturday. Our flight departed on time which was about 9:00am EST. I like flying on Southwest airlines, however it appears my brother and I might have been a little too loud on the plane. The sleeping baby next to us didn’t seem to mind our laughing and joking, however someone with a “C” boarding pass apparently felt they were in first class, when indeed they were closer to last class or some others around us joked, “NO” class. Here’s a tip, if you are flying Southwest and want to enjoy a beverage, hit up e-bay and buy some drink coupons. You can usually get 10 coupons worth about $50 for $10 or $20 depending on how lucky you are! Here’s hoping the young lady who drew the short straw and sat between my brother and I made her cruise in Tampa with her boy friend and we didn’t get her in too much trouble. The second leg of the trip was just as fun as we were lucky to have an older gentleman named Paul sitting with us, and he was just as willing to have fun on the way to Vegas!
We arrived in Vegas around 4:00pm and met the people from Lexus at the Palazzo hotel. Attention Palazzo hotel, if you leave the mini-bar open you give the impression we can help ourselves. It was like a scene from the Blues Brothers; well they didn’t charge us for the first round so we thought the drinks were free! No, no, no you boys owe us a lot of money! Note to Las Vegas, you may want to do a little research before you leave booze with the Conrad boys! Lexus picked the right hotel as all the rooms in the Palazzo are suites. I thought the hotel matched the Lexus reputation perfectly. The first night there was a welcome reception at the Venetian Hotel (which is connected to the Palazzo) at the Taqueria Cononita. I was a little surprised to see all the other gadget bloggers and their guests there; my theory of Lexus messing up and sending me an invitation went right out the windows. It was a nice way to start the weekend, meet other bloggers and people from Lexus. As we were enjoying some great food and margaritas, I was watching the gondola boats inside the hotel thinking this is pretty cool. If you have never been to Vegas, the Venetian is designed to give a classic Italian feel, complete with singing gondoliers. After a few beverages it was off to lose some money at the casinos! Heck Vegas was built on guys like me!
The real reason we were there came about on Saturday! After a breakfast buffet, our busses pulled up to take all the bloggers and their guests to Las Vegas Motor Speedway. We were there to test drive the new 2013 Lexus GS. I’m not sure if the Lexus GS is a car or a gadget on wheels! Where do I start? There were two very different courses set up for us, one was about a 1.9 mile road course, and the other was a short course set-up with cones for more controlled driving. The 2013 Lexus GS is truly a thing of beauty. There were four vehicles lined up all with unique features. There were two all wheel drive cars and two rear wheel drive cars there for us to put to the test. For a guy who lives in New Hampshire, an all wheel drive is a must. You could feel the difference going into a corner at higher speeds of the all wheel drive gripping the track. One of the features I absolutely loved was the driving dial. There are four different driving settings for you to choose base on the performance you are looking for. There is Eco for the best gas mileage, Normal of course for normal, Sport S which would give you more power and Sports S+ which I call the “crap I told my wife I would be home an hour ago” mode. Speaking of my wife, I have always told her that if I hit powerball I want to become a “professional driver on closed course”. You know those guys or girls that get to drive in commercials at top speed and do all kinds of cool driving. Well Lexus gave us the opportunity to do just that. To be able to truly open up this car and feel it react to tight turns and wide open straight a ways was something I wish everyone could try. You can actually feel the engineering when you first sit in the driver’s seat and adjust the seat to your liking. Something I think every car should have is a seat and mirror memory feature. There is nothing worse than getting everything set perfectly only for someone else to jump in and change the seat! The Lexus GS has 3 different memory locations to save your set-up.
What makes the Lexus GS a “gadget on wheels” is the application suite. The application suite gives the driver apps like Pandora®, OpenTable®, Facebook Places and Yelp. So with a touch of a button, you can make dinner reservations, purchase movie theatre tickets, or get a review on the restaurant you are driving to. Remote Touch allows the driver to control available navigation functions and allowed me to take advantage of the 17 speaker sound system as I put on a little Elvis Radio on the Sirius Satellite Radio. With Lexus Enform® you can get directions downloaded right to the navigation system, but more importantly if your airbag is deployed, the Enform® system will dial 911 and send your location to the emergency crew.
Just when you think it couldn’t get any better, Lexus rolls out their LFA model which is the cream of the crop of sports cars! No, I did not get to drive it (which was smart on their part) but we did get to take a “hot lap” with NASCAR driver and road course specialist Scott Pruett. Now I thought I was putting down some pretty good laps until a REAL driver got in to show us how it is done. Scott was a great guy, one hell of a driver and took all the heckling this crew of writers could give him, so for that, I am going to give his winery a plug. You want to check out www.pruettvineyard.com as Scott is more than happy to talk about his vineyard and wines.
I would LOVE to see either one of these vehicles in my driveway. Unless I hit powerball soon, I very much doubt I will have a chance to drive the LFA, however the Lexus GS could be a reality. One of the great things about the 2013 Lexus GS is there are plenty of upgrades from previous models, but the pricing is the same! The 2013 Lexus GS is also available in a hybrid model. You have to check out these cars at www.lexus.com, the combination of technology with style and performance is what makes the Lexus name stand above the rest.
Just when you think the weekend couldn’t get any better, Saturday night we ate at TAO restaurant, and then hung out for a little while in the nightclub. Apparently this is a pretty hip place to be as the Kardashians are rumored to hang out there. Honestly one of them could have been standing next to me and I would have never known it. Heck, I might have even ordered a drink from one of them. Sunday it was all about the Super Bowl. Being a New England Patriots fan, I will not be discussing the game at all, but I will say we watched it at Lagasse’s Stadium at the Palazzo. When the food came out, I went heavy on the buffalo wings and other Super Bowl food, only to be told they were truly appetizers. When the meal came out, my plate was full of steak, salmon and mashed potatoes. The food was everything I expected from a Lagasse restaurant. Oh, and there were a couple of beverages there too. Since the Pats didn’t win, the highlight of the game was Lexus’ first Super Bowl commercial. The tag line for the GS in their commercial is “this is just the beginning!” Well with all the great people I met from Lexus and Team One, I truly hope it is just the beginning of a great business relationship.
While at the track I made a reference to the movie “City Slickers”. During their journey they were talking about their “Best Day Ever” well not counting my wedding or kids being born, this entire weekend would rank right up there and have to get a mention! You can easily say this was an “Ultimate Guys Weekend!”
Speaking of relaxing, after mowing the lawn, I like to lay back in the hammock and listen to some tunes. To fully engulf myself into the sound, I reach for the Aerial7 Chopper2 headphones. These headphones are designed to give you optimal sound from your iPod™, BlackBerry™ or any other MP3 player or phone. What’s cool about the Aerial7 Headphones is most of them are compatible with the iPhone™ and Skype™. With a 3.5mm adapter and built in slim profile microphone you can listen to your favorite music and not have to worry about missing a phone call. If you are more of an “in ear” person, check out the Aerial7 SUMO line of headphones. They offer the same great sound, and also feature the slim line microphone. If you go to www.aerial7.com, you can certainly find the style and design that fits your style. GET TO THE CHOPPER!!! Sorry, had to do that, please read in your best Arnold Schwarzenegger voice!!
This holiday season, one of the questions I get asked the most is, “What is a good reliable phone I can get without breaking the bank?” The LG Revolution is a great deal right now! At $199 (with a two year Verizon contract) the LG Revolution gives you the quickness of 4G LTE, a 4.3 inch screen, high res camera and Android marketplace.
Some features I really like are micro-HDMI port for quick connections to a TV or computer to transfer your 720p HD videos, and the 5 megapixel camera. I know what you are going to say, there are much higher resolution camera phones out there, yes there is, but the LG Revolution gives you options which takes far better pictures than you would expect with a 5 megapixel camera.
Something that is over looked now a days with cellular phones is audio quality. With the backing of the Verizon Wireless network, I didn’t lose a single call and the audio was just fine. The battery life is what you will find in most data phones, of course the more you use it, the less the battery will last. If you are a heavy data user, a back-up battery is always recommended.
If you don’t need the latest and greatest phone the LG Revolution is a great alternative at a reasonable price that will give you everything you need and with the power of Verizon’s 4G LTE service, it will give you it quickly.
For all the latest LG phones, you can check them out at http://www.lg.com/us/mobile-phones/view-all-phones/view-all-phones.jsp.
Here is your chance to win TWO one-year Pandora One Premium Subscriptions, 4 Movie Tickets a month for a year from MovieTickets.com and a $250 Open Table Dining Card!!
Over the next couple of weeks, I will release a series of clues. If you can correctly guess what the clues are YOU WIN! The first person with the correct guess wins all of the above mentioned Prizes!!
Each week two clues will be added to the contest page, until the correct answer is received.
I found a really cool gadget from Crosley Radio. The Crosley Revolution™ turntable will truly rock your world. Yes, that is right the Crosley Revolution™ plays record albums! You remember those right? The cool thing is the Crosley Revolution™ can play your 45s or full albums through your FM Stereo, through the built in speaker, or my favorite option you can connect it to your computer and record them into audio files which can be converted to MP3 files. I know what you are saying, you can download the MP3 files on-line, guess what not every record is on iTunes! Find those records in the basement you haven’t heard in years, convert them for your iPhone and rock out to your favorite tunes. Another cool thing about the Crosley Revotution™ is it is portable. It takes up very little space, and can run on AC or batteries making it easy for you to move all around your house. It was fun to find records I have not downloaded, or couldn’t download and hear them again. Check out the Crosley Revolution™ at www.crosleyradio.com.
With technology changing every day, there is a new computer, laptop, or tablet on almost everyone’s list. However, when was the last time you changed your wireless router? If it’s been a few years since you upgraded your router, you maybe slowing down your new device. I recently upgraded to the Cisco Linksys E4200 Maximum Performance Wireless-N Router. The key here is the simultaneous Dual-Band signal. If you use new computers and old computers on a single band router, your new computer’s internet speed will slow down. With TVs, Xbox, Computers, Laptops, Cell Phones and Tablets connected to your router, you need to upgrade. Do you have “dead spots” in your house? You know, the room that no matter where you put your router, you still can’t get a signal. Try the Linksys RE1000! What does RE stand for you ask? Range Extender! Just sync up the range extender to your router, then plug it into any outlet in your home or office, and BAM better signal! I have the E4200 in my basement and an RE1000 on the third floor, and there isn’t a spot in the house that I don’t get a great wi-fi signal! If you are a heavy multimedia user or gamer, you will be interested in the Linksys WES610N. The WES610N is a 4-Port Dual-Band N Entertainment Bridge. With so many TVs, DVRs and game systems that require internet access, if you were to hook them all up via network cables, you would need a hole in your wall the size of Rhode Island! The WES610N picks up your wireless signal from the E4200 and allows you to plug in up to four devices. With push button set-up, it couldn’t be easier to be wireless throughout your entire house! Find the best router and accessories for your home at www.linksys.com.