I feel bad criticizing Matt Groening’s work, the man who gave us such wonderful shows like The Simpsons and Futurama really made the last two decades. I have a theory that eventually artists lose their creative streak, or at least go into some kind of downward slide. I mean, just compare Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark with Ready Player One. The former is a game-changing action film that has withstood the test of time (for the most part), but the other is just kind of a movie with a lot of special effects.
Perhaps the way to combat this downward slope of creativity is to constantly evolve. After all, most people in the eighties knew Clint Eastwood as a successful actor, but in his twilight years, he has become quite the director. If one looks at Seth MacFarlene, you can see that Family Guy has declined in quality, but The Orville brought back the Star Trek fun to TV again (mostly by imitating).
So it is interesting to see Groening, with The Simpsons also in constant quality decline, attempt something new with Disenchantment. This Netflix show promised Groening’s subversive humor, but in an epic fantasy setting. Before I get into the show, I will say that The Simpsons already did a high fantasy episode on their Season 29 pilot called “The Serfsons”. Generally, The Simpsons has one good gem every season, but even the giant medieval look did not make this particular episode stand out. Any show that is near its 3rd decade will probably not produce something decent, even by accident. I get the feeling that “The Serfsons” was some sort of test by the animation department to get the visuals right on Disenchantment. By the way, the visuals of this show look fantastic.
Unfortunately, Disenchantment is not good with its story and characters, and this is 10 reasons why Disenchantment fails to enchant. There are spoilers ahead.
Sometimes having a disability can cost lots of money. Therapies and doctors costs, adaptive equipment costs, and not working so you can take care of your loved one- well, it can be quite costly. So here’s some good news for a way to save money while seeing the beauty in our national parks if you or a loved one has a lifelong disability. We’ll be talking about the free National Parks Access Pass.
I think we’ve mentioned a few times here that our son, Jayden, has Autism. Although he’s not as severely affected as others, he has some limitations that impedes with his ability to do certain activities. I’m glad that he can have this opportunity to enjoy any national park for free now. It will open up more opportunities for us as a family, as well.
Who qualifies for a National Parks Access Pass?
Anyone who is a US citizen or permanent resident who has a lifelong, permanent disability. In order to get this pass, you need to prove citizenship/residency. You’ll also need to have a way to confirm the disability.
What documentation is needed to obtain a pass?
You will need documents proving citizenship or residency. This can be a US State or Territory issued Drivers License, ID, birth certificate, U.S. passport, or a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card). Also needed is proof of disability. For this, you can use a note from a licensed physician. A document issued by a Federal Agency would also work- for example, the Veteran’s Administration, SSDI (Social Security Disability Income), or SSI (Supplemental Security Income).
How do you obtain the pass?
I was unsure of what to expect when we arrived at Yellowstone National Park a few weeks ago. When I asked how to get the pass on their Facebook page, they simply said to bring the documents needed to any entrance of the park. We got to the park early because I was anxious about getting a campsite without having a reservation. I tried to hand my documents for Jayden to the lady at the gate, but she told us to go to any visitor center, and they would issue the pass card. When I did get to the visitor center at Mammoth Hot Springs, they issued the card quickly and easily. This is all done for free.
If you don’t want to show up to a National Park and wonder if they have a pass available, as some do not, you can order one using this application. This does require a $10 processing fee.
Other bonuses of the Access Pass
Not only will Jayden (and his carload) be able to get into national parks for free for the rest of his life, other amenities are provided at a discount. Camping in the park, for example is discounted. We camped at Mammoth campground, which normally runs at $20 per night. For us, it was only $10. Get your pass before you get to your campsite, though. We did not pick up the pass before heading to our campsite. Since we didn’t have a reserved site, and it was first come/first served, I wanted to make sure we had a site. Unfortunately, there was no reimbursement of our fees. At least we got our 2nd night discounted.
This National Parks Access Pass is going to be a great benefit to those who have a lifelong disability. A beautiful creation available for access to many who qualify. Maybe someday state parks will follow in the footsteps. If you have any questions that I haven’t touched on here, let me know in the comments. Stay tuned for more articles on our trip to Yellowstone.
I think it is going to be very clear that all cars will be complete with a camera as a standard feature. It just makes a lot of sense if you think about it, because why wouldn’t you take advantage of this technology? For those that don’t have the camera now, you might be interested in the DriveHD Dash Camera with Dual View System from Cobra.
Yes, this is dual views, as there is one camera for the front (1080p) and one for the rear (720p). Both of these are on a loop for recording continuously, and there is a G-Sensor for detecting impacts and there is even a parking mode for recording when motion is detected.
Speaking of detection, this product has lane departure and forward collision warnings to let the driver know if you are drifting out of your lane and even if there is an object coming.
So is it easy to install? Well, there is an adhesive windshield mount and the front camera goes, and the back one can mount as easily. It includes a 16 GB SD made for the footage, and the product comes with some video editing software as well. It might not be Movavi, but hey.
If you want to purchase the DriveHD (Dash 2216D), you can purchase from the Cobra website for about $209.95.
I review a lot of great products here, but this would be the very first time that I have reviewed an umbrella. I’m guessing that umbrella technology hasn’t changed much in the past…however long umbrellas have been around. This UnbelievaBrella is a step in the right direction.
You can see in the image how this umbrella looks like it has been blown away by the wind. I’ve had some umbrellas turn inside-out before, but the UnbelievaBrella opens in reverse on purpose. So what sort of purpose could a reverse-opening umbrella serve?
Well, the website says that the water will stay away from you by funneling into the umbrella when it is closed. It does create a very beautiful blooming effect when you open it.
Too bad it doesn’t have that push the button and it opens feature. It has that button that you have to push to keep it open, and sometimes, it takes a moment before it catches. That’s so far is the only drawback, and I haven’t the chance to try it in the rain.
In addition to its unique opening feature, it also has a handle that is not a U-shape, but a C-shape. In case you are wondering it has this for a reason, and that is because it allows for hands-free usability. Basically, you need to put your hand in the C shape and let the umbrella pole rest on your shoulder. Heck, that is a feature to sell the UnbelievaBrella, and it is available on the ShedRain site for $20.00 in many different colors.
I’m going to say that when I first saw the LuDeLa Perfect, I thought I had it all figured out. I said: “I get it. It’s a smart candle.” Now, considering that candles are technology from at least the medieval times, that’s like saying you have a “smart rock” or something. The truth is that the LuDeLa Perfect is a smarter candle, but it is not necessarily a candle that you can pair with your smartphone. I will explain more of what I mean later, but let me explain why the LuDeLa Perfect is the candle for you.
First of all, let’s talk candles. If you are like me, you grew up with them, and you know how good they are at setting the atmosphere, but occasionally not working correctly. You know how you get those ones that great that tunnel effect, or ones where the wick gets so buried by wax that it won’t work anymore? Well, the LuDeLa doesn’t work that way, as it always keeps the wick on top.
Yes, the LuDeLa changes technology that probably hasn’t changed for a millennium, or however long candles have been around. The flame always stays on top, so the lighting is consistent, thanks to its Everbrite Flame feature.
You can see from the image here how different these are from regular candles, and these Caring Candle Refills will keep the candle burning as good as new.
Oh, and you know how candles melt, drip, and can make everything so messy? A special feature known as the Forever-New Decor (TM) will keep it so the candle always looks brand new. And if you don’t like the way it looks, and decide to change the color of the outside, or the design, you can apply the Flex-Decor (TM) feature and do it.
Also, you know how buying a scented candle results in having that scent as long as you have it? Perhaps you should consider switching out the scents, and yes, you can do that with the Scent-On Demand (TM) feature.
Now I have already described many features of the LuDeLa Perfect, but I haven’t even discussed the highlights of being able to light it at the touch of a remote button. No more looking for matches or an Aim n’ Flame, and that is just awesome. Check out the video for more:
Oh, you can also set a timer for your candle, so if you want it to go off at a certain time, that can happen. It’s called the Timer Extinguish (TM). If you look closely at the main image above, you can see buttons for a certain number of hours. Pretty cool, right?
I’ll get more into safety later, but thanks to the Tilt Extinguish (TM) feature, the candle will automatically go out if it is knocked over. I’m guessing that will save quite a few lives every year, as there are 25 candle fires in the United States every day.
Believe it or not, it is candle safety that is the inspiration of how this Kickstarter project started out. LuDeLa founder Jamie Bianchini was on a tour of the world on a bike, and stayed at a place in Africa. He had a candle fire that he was able to put out, but it had a profound effect on him. Oh, in case you were wondering if Jamie’s story about riding around the world on a bike is worth reading about, the answer is yes, and you can find out more info here at A Bicycle Built for Two Billion.
I might do a story on that tangent someday, but Jamie envisioned the idea of a smart candle, but figured out after he received funding that a candle that lights itself using Bluetooth is actually dangerous. It is safer to create a candle with sensors all about it, as well as a remote that uses IR frequency or line of sight for extra safety.
Jamie then asked his donors if they wanted their money back, or they would be willing to wait for a safer model. As it turns out, 95 percent of the donors wanted to wait. I have a video you can watch below that is outdated (made in 2016), but I found it worth posting here because it has the creator, Jamie, and his cute two kids with him. In a recent interview that I did with him, Jamie told me that he might take the video down, so if it isn’t there, don’t blame me.
Now, I’m sure you are wondering where and when you can buy these LuDeLa Perfect candles. You can check them out with the exclusive Kickstarter campaign that started just last week. If you need more motivation to purchase, then you should know this: for every LuDela candle product sold, a book will be donated to bring libraries to under served communities.
Just to let you know, I am not reviewing an Apple Computer for this. I don’t think I could get the big Apple to send me one, but I was able to get this company known as Understands to send me the EVO 1. It is that wooden thing that you see there.
I have to admit, for an accessory that is made for Apple products, it certainly doesn’t have the usual sterile look of Apple accessories. One would think that a stand would have less wood and more white plastic, but Understands really…understands.
The wooden look of the EVO 1 really works well for Apple, and I am not certain why. Perhaps it is some kind of contrast thing going on. The only thing that could make it not match is your desk, but it will camouflage on any walnut wood desk.
So, besides being a great stand for some elevation, there are some great features. It has a drawer, and this drawer has some holes in back, just in case you want to run some wires through it.
As someone who has reviewed it, I was concerned about one thing: splinters. I found that the edges were smooth, and it is pretty good craftsmanship.
If you are anything like me, then you have subscribed to a lot of video channels which are nothing more than amateurs who know how to make video better than can. Chances are, all they do is point the camera and edit it, but the mystery of video editing may allude the beginning video user. Fortunately, the Movavi Multimedia Software has you covered.
In case you haven’t noticed, it was brought to my attention that this software existed, and so I did the 7-day trial. From the moment that the software downloaded, the window showed up with a very instinctive interface.
How instinctive is this? Well, I have always wanted to make videos, and back when I was at CES 2018, I wanted to do some kind of video spot on playing Pokemon Go while I was there. Of course, I wanted this to be “raw”, so I just did some footage of me walking down the strip, somewhere near the Palazzo/Venetian/Mirage area. I had seen other YouTubers do this, and I had about 8 or 9 small video clips that I filmed in the order that they are shown.
So the only problem I had was how I was going to stitch these clips together. Thanks to Movavi’s Video Suite, all I did was hit the “Add Video Files” button and upload the clips in a row. They were pretty much stitched together.
All I needed was just a Title Screen, and it was also very easy to make. I just needed to type the right words, and there it was. I probably could have done more work on this, but I was pretty impressed with what it could do in a very short time.
I didn’t really want to make an ending credits sequence, but I remembered that I had taken some video footage of the Bellagio fountain playing “Viva Las Vegas” from the King himself, and I might as well make good use of that. Just to let you know, it was very easy to crop video clips, and the minute and one half of video was down to ten seconds. Again, it was easy to drag and drop that vid in there.
Now, there was only one thing that I wanted if I could get it, and that was transitions. As it turns out, I just hit a button, and the transitions were put in automatically between my clips. What I finally got was something like this:
You can see way below that I was able to save my video project, and then upload it to YouTube. I can tell you that it was pretty easy, and I think it is incredible how easy it is to do this.
I haven’t even got into some of the features. I think it is strange that when I put in a DVD to watch, the first thing that Movavi did was ask me if I wanted to put it somewhere. I am definitely going to have to get into the particulars of transitions like stickers and the like. Hopefully, they won’t give the video a look that is amateurish, but I could probably say that about my current work:
Anyway, I really feel like Movavi is the video editor for me, and I hope to do it on more video endeavors. I might not be the next YouTube star, but hey, at least I have the tools to do so.
Now, if you want the Movavi Video Suite, it costs about $79.95 for a Personal License, and $169.95 for a Business License. I highly recommend heading over to Movavi’s site and looking over at what else is available to, while you are at it.
I’m going to tell you that The Path of Motus is a very different game, and at first, I thought different was bad. What attracted me to this work is that I suspected this game was made for people on the autism spectrum. After all, there is kind of a thing with Minecraft and people with autism, and if you don’t believe me, do some kind of Internet search. The game looks like Minecraft with its big tree and squares.
If nothing else, I thought the game was for younger players, so I had my youngest son play The Path of Motus. He is also on the autism spectrum, and though we only had a limited time to play, he seemed to enjoy it. What I told him was this was a game against bullying.
In case you don’t know, anti-bullying is like the “just say no” of this age. My oldest daughter has shared with me that she really hates how her school has constant anti-bullying messages. I went into The Path of Motus thinking that it would be a PSA game. After all, there are PSA shows like Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue, as well as lots of PSA comics like Captain America vs. the Asthma Monster (look those both up later). I’m pretty sure that you know the drill of these works, as the moral usually comes first and the story is just there servicing it. Its one of the worst way to write, and I was concerned that The Path of Motus was going to end up like that.
Let me just take a brief moment to say that good writing of film, TV, and books has the ability to tell a story and share a moral but not get preachy. For the most part, video games don’t really have morals to share like this. This does not mean that video games don’t make you think about life, as a friend of mine who played Bioshock can attest to. I mean, we should be inspired by what inspires us, like Star Wars or The Legend of Zelda.
Okay, I went off on a long tangent there, so let’s talk about the game. The game centers around Motus, who is this goblin who lives in the middle of this forest. Apparently, this forest is surrounded by a bigger, darker forest, and no one has ever gone through it. Naturally, Motus wants to explore it, and this begins what looks to be a platformer game.
Now, in most platforming games, you face off with enemies, and The Path of Motus has no shortage of that, taking the form of other goblins. These goblins will literally shoot words at Motus, but they can be blocked if you shoot back. I played the PS4 version, and the rule was that you can block a green blast with another green blast, with the triangle button. The same goes for word blasts of other different colors, and these blasts are words like “Hey” or “Stop”.
In other words, you stop words with other words. Say, I think that is a way to stop bullies, right? Of course, the words can take out the bullying goblins, and they disintegrate into a swarm of words. I don’t know if that is a good thing to teach, but there it is.
The issue is that bullying is a very complicated product, and I have to say that The Path of Motus handles them very well. I admire that Motus is a character who likes to be alone and is very creative, and as someone who has been a victim of bullying, those attributes sadly paint a target on your head for bullies. In other words, there is a serious issue going on, but I think that the game is succeeding to teach something great.
One thing I know from McGruff the Crime Dog’s anti-bullying PSAs is that “friends trump bullies every time”. There is a part in the game where a friend helps you out, and you have to do that whole switch-off.
I’m going to spoil a part of the game where you can join the bullies, and end up on drugs. Yeah, I’m serious. You join up with these druggie goblins, and there is nothing you can do but restart the game just before you do this crossroads.
Some of you might remember my review of The Spectrum Retreat that the game is a lot of puzzles with great atmosphere, and The Path of Motus also has these interesting bridge building connect-the-dots puzzles. There are a lot of them, and they are pretty fun.
In short, The Path of Motus is a game that is fun for all ages, and it has a lot to say that is good. In fact, I would say that it is a very deep message that will get a lot of people thinking, without being really preachy.
Every once in a while, you discover a gadget that is so darn useful that you can’t help but wonder why it wasn’t already invented. I think I would like to say that the KeySmart Pro is the perfect gift and solution to something that everyone has: keys.
This KeySmart Pro has multiple selling points. The first is honestly the most useful, really, as it allows you to group your keys together in some kind of handy Swiss Army Knife formation. I have not other way to describe it than that, but these two screws at each end allow the KeySmart to come apart and store up to ten keys. Unfortunately, your thick car key fob will have to be coupled to the end of it. So much for the big jingle of keys and time to put them in an easy-to-use package.
Now the second selling point: you don’t lose your keys. Thanks to the Tile app, you can find your keys on a map thanks to your smart device. You can even make your keys ring so you can find them easier.
By the way (third selling point), the reverse is true. You can use the KeySmart Pro to find your phone, all at the touch of a button. By the way, if your phone is in silent mode, this cool “find your phone” feature will still work.
Oh, and did I mention the built-in flashlight? It has it, so that makes the fourth selling point, right? Just to let you know, there is a micro USB port for charging that light.
Oh, there is also a bottle opener, which make five selling points. Dang, you can also see on the KeySmart site that you can even get attachments like a 16 GB USB 3.0 drive ($25), a screwdriver, and a knife (both of these $12.49).
The KeySmart is available for $59.99 (and they get cheaper the more you buy). Oh, and I should mention that KeyCatch device in title, as it is a magnetic key hanger. While I don’t think it can hold a KeySmart, they are some stickable magnets capable of holding about 3 pounds.
Oh, this is going to be one of those “we haven’t reviewed one of these products in a while” reviews, isn’t it? Yes, for Weego, we go back three years for a review of Rechargeable Battery Pack. The Weego Jumpstarter 22 is definitely an upgrade of a simple mobile battery, as it can not only charge a phone or tablet, but jump start gas engines up to 5 liters or diesel engines up to 2.5 liters.
I’ve reviewed products like this in the past, such as the one from MyCharge. This Jump Starter 22 is good for jump starting boats, motorcycles, and 95 percent of all cars. I’ve also been told that it has 1700 peak amps and 300 true cranking amps, and I am not really certain what that means.
The Jump Start 22 comes with two Smarty Clamps that are capable of plugging in to the battery, and then the tapered pincers can go into all kinds of places. This Jump Start 22 is good for hot and cold temperatures, and it is also rated IP65 for water, dust, and dirt resistance.
Now, I couldn’t find any info about how many times you can charge your iPad, iPhone, or other USB device, but it takes 2.5 hours to fully recharge. It also has 1000 full charge cycles, and on charge can last over a year without use.
Oh, I should also mention that the Jump Starter 22 comes with a flashlight feature. That is going to come in handy should you need to jumpstart something, that is for sure.
All of this, and it comes in a strange lunchbox, available on the Weego website for $99.99.