I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m kind of a sucker for cool stuff. I like nifty gadgets, quirky decoration pieces, nice clothes (and shoes!), good books, and fun games.
In this series of weekly posts, I share whatever currently has my fancy. Maybe some of it will catch yours as well!
VIDEO OF THE WEEK:
HUMANS ARE AWESOME
There are a ton of these types of videos on the Internet but this one is particularly good. Great clips and great music. Enjoy.
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APPLE CAR PLAY
It was only a matter of time before Apple rolled this out: Apple CarPlay is a fully integrated car audio solution that takes the things you normally do on your iPhone and lets you use the car’s touchscreen and various knobs and controls to do them instead. Things like using Siri, getting directions, making and answering calls, receiving and dictating texts, and playing music.
NORELCO QT4070 BEARD TRIMMER
I’ve gone through several types of trimmers over the years and this is, by far, my favorite.
It’s light, easy to use, and rechargeable, and it has a good battery life. I don’t use the little attachment, but I’ve tried it and it worked well. The main attachment has several settings for closeness, and I like the closest shave (giving that stubble kind of look). The suction of the vacuum is strong and while it doesn’t catch every little hair, it catches the bulk, making for an easy clean up.
NEXUS 7 TABLET
The Nexus 7 is, hands down, the best bang for your buck when it comes to the smaller tablets. For just over $200, you get a light, thin tablet with 16 GB of storage, a gorgeous high-res display and extremely snappy performance (thanks to its quad-core processor and 2 GB of RAM).
If you’re looking to laugh your butt off with friends and family and have a jolly good time, then buy this game.
The game is simple:
Each player gets a marker, a board to write on, and two chips that are the color of their board. One player is the judge and picks a card, which lists 5 different questions. The judge chooses whichever he or she wants to read. The questions are very diverse.
Once the question is read, the players write their answers on their boards and place them face-up on the table. The judge secretly chooses the winner and locks it in with a little gadget provided, and the players wager their chips on what they think the judge will choose.
The winner is then revealed and the players that wagered chips on the winning answer win points–one for each chip wagered. The judge also wins points for each chip wagered on the right answer, and can win no more than three points.
The next player then becomes the judge and on it goes.
The real fun is in the answers, of course, and this depends on the group you’re playing with. G-rated people can have laughs as can R-rated people (but don’t mix them together!). If you have particularly creative, funny, or twisted friends, you’ll want to invite them to play this game.
This is a good ice breaker game at parties because it gets people to open up and laugh.
BOOK OF THE WEEK:
OGILVY ON ADVERTISING
I own a small business and I oversee our marketing and advertising campaigns, and I’ve read this book probably ten times. In fact, my copy got so beat up, highlighted, and written in, that I had to buy a new one.
Ogilvy casually shares many gems of priceless advertising wisdom in this book, and they all are centered around one premise: That advertising is salesmanship in print, and that ads must make money to make sense.
If that sounds like common sense to you, then congratulations–you’re in the minority of people who “get it.” Untold millions of dollars are spent every day on advertising by people that don’t–people that use advertising to fulfill many other desires–to be creative, to be funny, to be liked, to just be out there; all of which suck the coffers dry and leave executives to wonder why so much money is going out and so little is coming in.
Ogilvy not only understood this trap, but he made it his life’s ambition to avoid it and, unsurprisingly, his agency became the leader of the pantheon of advertising gods.
Read this book. The ideas and techniques taught in it worked decades ago when he wrote it. They work now. They will continue to work.
TV SHOW OF THE WEEK:
I was skeptical of Vikings when I first heard of it, but when I learned that it was a Michael Hirst project (the incredibly talented researcher and writer behind The Tudors and The Borgias), I had to check it out. And I’m glad I did.
The story introduces you to Ragnar Lothbrok, a legendary Norse ruler and hero, who starts as a family man with ambitions to be the first man to successfully sail to the lands in the West (England) to raid and plunder. He does it, of course, and this sets off the dominos of repercussions that begin his historical journey.
The first thing that struck me about Vikings is the production values. It was shot in Ireland, which is downright beautiful, and the wardrobes, sets, locations, and effects are truly top notch. You really feel immersed in the period.
The casting and acting are superb as well. Fimmel (Ragnar), Winnick (Ragnar’s wife), and Blagden (Ragnar’s slave) are the stand-out performances, with Fimmel shining above all. Fimmel’s Ragnar reminds me of Andy Whitfield’s Spartacus–the right blend of gravitas, masculinity, and flippancy that just makes you want to be him.
The narrative choices and dialogue are solid, but do feel a bit trite at times. This is no Game of Thrones, but it’s in the same league. The story starts out slow, but give it a chance–once it kicks into high gear, it’s enthralling.