Game Review: Catching the Solo Spirit of the Board Game “Distilled”

Fermentation is probably one of the most important chemical reactions known to humankind. Since the dawn of civilization, people have been taking advantage of how sugars change into alcohol, the process that underlies every alcoholic beverage, from the lowliest moonshine to the fanciest aged cognac. Fundamentally, though, it’s straightforward: water + yeast + sugars = alcohol. Want to make a specific spirit like vodka, gin, or brandy? You’ll need specific sugar sources (grains versus fruits,…Read More

Film Review: Ultra-Cool, Stylish Actioner “Hydra”

The open scene of the new Japanese martial arts action film Hydra tells you everything you need to know about the movie; stylized florescent lighting, spontaneous and shockingly violent action, an 80’s electronica soundtrack and almost no dialog. Director Kensuke Sonomura and cinematographer Yasuyuki Suzuki have created a beautiful homage to 80’s action films, even with the typeface chosen for the opening credits. Like waking up to a slap on the face, the opening scene…Read More

Does Watching TV Together Really Help Families Bond?

CenturyLinkQuote hit me up with an email announcement about some research the company performed about families and television viewing. Since CLQ is a CenturyLink reseller and sells Internet and TV services to homes, it’s hard to imagine that the firm would find a negative correlation between families, TV, and happiness, but it’s still interesting reading… CLQ quotes Nielsen’s estimate that 121 million US homes have televisions. But I dug a bit further, finding that’s out…Read More

Game Review: Engaging Roll & Write Puzzler “Torpedo Dice”

Ever since their introduction, there’s something about submarines that fascinates people. Maybe it’s the unimaginable experience of being in a metal tube thousands of feet under the ocean’s surface, skulking along, waiting for a chance to surface and BLAM! attack with a well-placed torpedo. Or maybe it’s the fact that submarines are the wild card of modern warfare, able to sneak up on ships without warning in a way that no other craft or vessel…Read More

A Week Of Driving the Terrific 2021 Kia Sorento X-Line AWD

Go to the Kia Motors Web site, check out the Sorento lineup and you’ll find that there are a lot of trim levels, ranging from LX, to S, EX, SX and SX Prestige, but the one trim level that isn’t listed is the “X-Line”. It’s the top of the line for every component on the vehicle, from bumpers to mirrors, pedals to roof rails. It’s also semi-mythical at this point because of how incredibly popular this…Read More

Game Review: The Goofy Fun “Chez Cthulhu” Card Game

As if having roommates isn’t enough hassle, now you have to worry about whether Cthulhu is encroaching on your living space. Man, what a hassle. And are the Old Ones going to pay rent and do their share of the chores? In the wacky card game Chez Cthulhu you and up to four of your friends are drinking and harassing each other, I mean, living together, worshiping Cthulhu, and being massive slackers. The most slack…Read More

Upping my Laundry Game with Tru Earth Detergent Sheets

I like doing dishes, I don’t even mind vacuuming or cleaning windows and mirrors. But laundry? That’s the real chore if you ask me, and it’s endless; our clothes are in a slow death spiral from the first time you bring them home, a cycle of wear and get dirty, wash and break down the fibers, repeat. Eventually, they end up threadbare, tear or just look awful, so it’s time to replace them, a sometimes…Read More

Luxury, but Little Personality: The 2021 Lexus ES 250 AWD

If you’re buying a premium luxury vehicle, you’re likely looking for more than just a good drive experience, you also seek a vehicle with a strong brand identity. BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Maserati, Alfa-Romeo, even Tesla have established a certain reputation. Drivers who seek a car with that particular personality head to the car-maker’s lots to check out the offerings. Lexus, the premium upmarket Toyota brand, is also in this category and for the most part, the…Read More

Film Review: Amusing, Forgettable “The Boss Baby: Family Business”

Like a story out of a late-night drinking session with long-suffering preschool staff, the 2017 animated feature The Boss Baby was silly fun, with lots of laughs due to the improbable juxtaposition of babies and corporate business. The film featured the voice talents of Alec Baldwin as the baby and Tobey Maguire as older brother Tim. Rounding out the family were Jimmy Kimmel as Dad and Lisa Kudrow as Mom. The film was a surprise…Read More

Film Review: The Surprisingly Unengaging “Black Widow”

Russian assassin Natasha Romanoff has always seemed like a minor character in the pantheon of Marvel Cinematic Universe characters and no wonder; she’s competing with gods and other mythic characters. A left-over Cold War cliché of a character, she was trained by the Soviets to be a beautiful killer, ready to dispatch anyone at a moment’s notice. You’ve seen her type time and again in Le Carré novels, the TV series The Americans, and more….Read More

Lawnbright Update: Late June and the Lawn Looks Great

I live in suburbia. In fact, I’m so deep in suburbia that I’m not only on my local Homeowners Association board, I’m the President of the HOA. Turns out it’s not much work and as an HOA we’re more focused on building community and helping out our neighbors, but everyone on the ‘hood still has that great symbol of suburban life: Grass. Should we all xeriscape? Probably. Have any of us taken that step? No….Read More

A Week Behind the Wheel of the 2021 BMW 430i xDrive Coupe

Let’s just get this out of the way first, as it’s going to be a big theme of this writeup: The 2021 BMW 430i xDrive Coupe is a beautiful car with sleek, gorgeous lines and a nicely appointed interior, marred by a ghastly front grill. It’s hard to understand what the BMW design engineers were thinking when they added the “beaver teeth” chrome-edged grill to the front of a vehicle that has literally zero chrome…Read More

Film Review: Daft, Fast, but Not So Furious “F9”

As long as we’ve had cars, we’ve had people pushing the limits, going as fast as they possibly can, even at the risk of life and limb. Car racing movies are almost as old as cinema itself, with 1913’s The Speed Kings one of the first. Street racing is another level of thrill and excitement, mythically a chance for downtrodden members of society to pull one over on The Man and simultaneously prove their machismo…Read More

2021 Buick Envision Essence FWD: Gradually Embracing the Future

Car manufacturers spend billions creating a brand identity. Think of Ferarri and it’s a sexy sports car. Think of BMW and it’s a sleek “driving machine”. Think about VW and it’s the people’s car. Subaru? Outdoors fanatics. Toyota? Reliability, perhaps at the cost of being less design-oriented than other manufacturers. But think of Buick and, well, the company knows the uphill journey it’s on with its old “It’s not your father’s automobile” slogan. No question,…Read More

Film Review: The Cute & Innocuous “Luca”

The journey through adolescence is one of the most popular themes in cinema. From Harry Potter to The Iron Giant, Harold and Maude to Fast Times at Ridgemont High, it sometimes seems like everyone in the movies is just trying to grow up. Even Pixar’s Toy Story franchise is about Andy’s gradual coming-of-age journey across the four films of the phenomenally successful series. The theme’s no stranger to Pixar’s other films either, from Finding Nemo…Read More

GoFatherhood Father’s Day Gift Guide 2021 (for Cool & Geeky Dads)

I’ll admit that in the early days of my parenting adventure, father’s day was typified by cliché gifts like ties and cologne. Odd, really, since I wear a tie about once every decade and cologne? Really? I don’t even know if I own any at this point. Even when I worked in an office, a dress shirt and jeans was very much my uniform de jour. Still, as any adult learns early on, being able…Read More

Game Review: Protect the Merchant Fleet in “The Shores of Tripoli”

When America declared its independence from Britain in the late 1700s, there were a lot of subtle consequences around the world, most undoubtedly unanticipated by the new nation. One area particularly hard hit was the Mediterranean Sea, where merchants endlessly picked up exotic goods to sell throughout Europe and the new citizens of the United States of America. Prior to the Revolution, pirates were cowed by the presence and might of the British Navy, but…Read More

The Terrific, Underrated 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid EX

Kia is one of those carmakers that keeps improving its product year over year, without the car buying public necessarily realizing it’s happening. One of my buddies is a big fan of both Kia and Hyundai, both Korean-based car manufacturers, so I hear all about the latest improvements and model releases. As a result, I was definitely interested when Kia offered me the chance to drive the 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid EX and was appreciative…Read More