Tag Archives: disease

Dude Review: HighView iPad Hangers

Written by: Richard E.D. Jones
Listed in: Charlotte Parent Stay-at-Home Dudes

Sofia Rodriguez was traveling on an airplane and barely made it through an appalling First-World Problem.But that’s not why I’m talking about her here. And it’s not what happened directly after. You see, Sofia decided to use the solution to her First-World Problem to work on solving a Real-World Problem. And that’s important. Read on to find out more.A First-World Problem, for those of you who don’t know, is something that could only go wrong for people who have more money than the vast majority of people throughout the world. Not being able to find the charging cord for my iPhone 6 Plus. . . That’s a First-World Problem. Not having enough to eat. . . That’s a Real-World problem.

So, Sofia was having a real First-World Problem.

“I was on a flight, watching a movie on my iPad when I realized how uncomfortable I was,” she told me in an exclusive e-mail question and answer. “There was no way to watch my movie, be comfortable, and have space on my tray table for food or drinks.”

Yeah. A real First-World Problem. The thing of it is, though, instead of whining about it and complaining on Twitter or Facebook, Sofia decided to do something about it.

“I decided to create a solution. After several months of sketching, designing, and trying out different options, the HighView iPad hanger was born!”

Following a successful Kickstarter campaign that was funded in October, Sofia started up her own company selling the HighView iPad hangers to whoever would buy one.

Which, you know, good and all.

Before we get much further, I do want to say that I’ve spent some time with the HighView iPad hanger and thought it was a really nice solution to the problem of how to use an iPad and still have use of your hands and feet. (Feet, because I’m sure some of my readers more closely resemble chimpanzees than to the rest of you.) The hanger comes in all different sizes, one for every type of iPad. You slip it into the hanger and then, using the straps that come with it, you (hang on, this is the brilliant part) hang it on something.

That way, you get to watch whatever is on the iPad while also filing your nails, or eating or, and this is the case of the young Spawn on whom I tested my HighView, doing unspeakable things with a broken pencil and nasal excreta. While I can’t say I approved overmuch about the activities themselves, we both thought the HighView did an admirable job of making sure the iPad stayed watchable. It stayed snugly attached and out of the way. Really, it was all you could ask for in something like this.

I’d highly recommend this to dudes who do a lot of driving in the family mini-van with young spawn in the backseat, screaming for entertainment that just isn’t coming unless you pull over to the side of the road, stop, hop out of the car and suffer a complete nervous breakdown from all the screaming, with a breakdown consisting of break dancing, twitching like St. Vitus and spewing ball lightning from your ears. Well, come one. No doubt about it: That’s entertainment.

I’m going to suggest, however, that having a HighView iPad hanger on hand to hold the all-knowing source of Spawn-ish entertainment might be better for your long-term electability prospects. I do highly recommend it. I also need to point out that Sofia sent me one for my iPad Mini for free in return for a review. This isn’t that review. That review is going up on Amazon.

This — what you’re reading right now — is because of what I found out while talking to Sofia about the product.

Sofia, being a native of Guatemala, knew first hand the grinding poverty experienced by many living there. Things that we here in America take for granted — access to food that won’t kill us as well as access to water that also has no designs on our lives — isn’t available to large numbers of rural Guatemalans.

“I believe education is very important to end poverty, and, unfortunately, one of the main reasons why Guatemalan children miss school is due to drinking unclean water,” she said. “These water-borne diseases can also create a strain on a family’s finances. By providing clean water to children, we are able to help them stay healthy and in school.”

The question remained, though: How to address the issue of providing clean water to children in need? Which was when Sofia had her epiphany. She decided throw money from her solution to the First-World iPad problem at it.

HighView partnered with Ecofiltro, a Guatemalan company with designs on providing safe drinking water to more than 1 million rural Guatemalans by 2020, to give a month’s free water to a class of school children with the purchase of every HighView iPad hanger.
Ecofiltro’s business model consists of selling water filters to rural villages and then having the new owners charging a small amount to receive the safe, filtered drinking water. It’s basically the same as the city pumping water into your home, for which you’re charged, only it’s out in rural Guatemala, it isn’t pumped into your home (yet) and means the difference between life and death.

When someone buys a hanger from HighView, the company donates enough money to Ecofiltro to pay for one month’s free water at schools in the rural areas of the country.

“I’ve always admired companies that are able to be profitable and also give back to individuals or communities that are less fortunate,” Sofia said. “An example of such a company is Toms. We decided to follow their model which is One for One. In our case, it’s One HighView for One month of clean water to Guatemalan children in need.”

So, yeah, I’m a big fan of Sofia and HighView. I love the idea of socially responsible corporations making money for themselves, but also making sure to spread some of the wealth around to those less fortunate.

If you’re looking for something to keep the Backseat Spawn busy and — oh, please, FSM — quiet, give the HighView iPad hanger a try. Of course, you’ll need to have your own iPad, but that shouldn’t be a problem.

Unless you’re suffering from out-of-date-iPad blues, which is, really, sort of a definition of a First-World Problem.


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ALS Ice-Bucket Challenge: An Imperfect Place

The devil hides down amongst the cubes*.

You’d have to have not paid your Internet bill over the last couple of months to miss out on knowing about the ALS Ice-Bucket Challenge thing.

It started with some professional athletes, not — as myth would have it — an ALS patient. The challenge was to either be filmed dumping a bucket of ice over your head or give money to a charity of your choice. It morphed from there.

And promptly went viral.

Which led to thousands of people filming themselves while having a bucket of ice dumped on their heads while challenging others to do the same. In fact, my dad and I even watched one of those happen poolside at Chabil Mar, a resort in the Central American country of Belize. It was a few weeks ago, before this really hit big so we had no idea what it was about.

Those last four words there. . . That’s what this is about.

So far this post, I’ve written a lot of words about the Ice-Bucket Challenge and mentioned ALS only twice. And never said what ALS really is.

Better known as Lou Gherig’s Disease, named for the New York Yankees baseball player who contracted the disease and thereby showed the bits of the country that liked baseball and were paying attention that the disease existed, ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a progressive, degenerative disease that gradually destroy neurons (nerve cells) in the brain and spinal column. Over time, the disease annihilates voluntary control over the body’s muscles, robbing the person with the disease of the ability to move, to speak, to breathe. For some patients, the end point of the disease is total paralysis of the body. And the worst part is that their mind still is active and aware and trapped in a decayed body incapable of responding to anything.

ALS is, to put it mildly, a horrifying disease. Donating money to help fund research into a cure or a way to slow the progression of the disease is definitely a worthy cause. (Those who want to donate without resorting to dumping ice water on their heads can do so at the ALSA gift page.)

So, given all that, I should be all for the ALS Ice-Bucket Challenge, right, dudes?. After all, as of Friday, the challenges have resulted in the ALS Association receiving more than $41 million in donations.

My issue is with all the challengers who do nothing but dump ice on their own heads, laugh, record it and then post it to some social media site, daring others to follow suit. They don’t know what ALS is. They don’t donate to any sort of charitable institution, including the ALS Association, and only do it because everyone else is doing it. 

After all, the challenge is donate to the ALSA OR dump a bucket of ice on their heads.

I talked about this on Facebook and was called out by several of my friends there (actual friends who I actually know) for dumping (no pun intended) on the whole idea. They focused on the positives, on the donations that were raised, which are substantial.

I thought about it and talked it over with Zippy the Travelin’ Boy, who has some similar issues with the challenge. While Zippy the Travelin’ Boy still takes issue with it (mostly, I think, because it’s popular and he likes to be a contrarian) and, to be honest, so do I, it all led to the realization that I was focusing too much on the negative.

I’ll pause now for your shocked intake of breath.

This was brought home to me — literally — when Hyper Lad walked up to me with a hang-dog look, holding a bucket of ice and a video camera.

Before I would participate, he and I had a long talk about what amyotrophic lateral sclerosis actually does and agreed that he would donate money to the ALS Association.

Only then could I laugh at him when his oldest brother, Sarcasmo, poured cube-filled, ice-cold water over the young dude’s head.

Yes, in a perfect world, Hyper Lad’s fellow shiverers would be donating to worthy charitable causes on a regular basis and also donating their time, sweat and effort. They’d already know what ALS really is, why we should support research toward a cure, and be doing the ice thing only to help raise awareness and get more people to donate money to worthy charities.

But, as the estimable John Bender once said: “Screws fall out all the time, the world is an imperfect place.”

And it’s true.

Screws do fall out all the time.

I guess I’ll just have to live with the idea that people are dumping ice on their heads just because everybody else is doing it. And also some of them might actually understand that this is being used to help raise money to combat an appalling disease.

It’s not perfect, but that’ll do, pig. That’ll do.

As if the world were waiting for my approval anyway.

*Yes, this was an imperfect metaphor. I was trying to evoke the whole thing about the devil being in the detail and then conflating that with the ice-bucket challenge. Don’t judge me. I was . . . stretching.


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Crawling Away To Lick Our Wounds

In the middle of a heart attack, I wanted only one thing*– keep it a secret and don’t tell my mom, dad or sister.

So, naturally, as soon as I was under and getting the arteries of my heart scoped and scoured of clots, my wife, known to me as She Who Must Be Doing Things Her Own Way, immediately called all of my family and blabbed the whole thing.

In my case, I wanted to keep the heart attack a secret because I didn’t want to worry anyone and because I didn’t want to have to deal with the inevitable smothering care that would result from my family being worried for my health.**

I was taken to task for even contemplating the idea of possibly trying to keep what happened a secret from La Familia for even a moment. Worrying about other members and caring for them is what, I was told repeatedly while being beaten with a fluffed pillow that was supposed to be supporting my head, La Familia is supposed to do.

It turns out, though, that I’m not the only person who likes to keep an illness a secret.

I know two people around my age who have been fighting different sorts of cancer. Neither of them made any kind of announcement and, in fact, tried to strictly limit the number of people who knew about the disease and their fight against it.

Which meant, to me, that the urge to suffer in secret was a thing only dudes had to fight. And, yes, I was wrong again.

My dad’s wife recently beat a bout of cancer of her own. In talking to her, she said what she wanted most was for no one to have known so she could get better on her own and not have to keep talking about it to everyone who found out about it.

I think she pretty much hit it on the head. It’s not that I didn’t want people to care for me in my extremity, but I wanted them to do it on my terms. That is, allow me to say, “Enough. Stop talking about it and stop treating me like an invalid.” Instead, once people know, you have no ability to turn the course of this river of regret flowing through your life.

Or at least, you have no ability to do so without making folks feel bad and I didn’t want to do that because it would then have made me feel bad and that was sort of the opposite of what was supposed to be going on.

As far as I was concerned, the privacy I wanted was perfectly reasonable. However, having gone through something similar on the other side this time, I’m forced to admit that there is something to healthy-ish side of the argument.

When someone you love is hurting, the need to do something —

Helping others is ingrained in our genes, but so is the need to be left alone to lick our wounds. It's a conundrum, yeah?
The Dalai Lama is a nice dude.

anything — to help is very strong in most of us. There’s nothing most of us can do medically to help our loved one, so we do what we can.

We make meals. We clean the house. We walk the dog. We . . . get in the way. Because, if any of you dudes are like me, there’s only so much niceness directed at me that I can possibly stand.

When people are nice to me on a continuous basis, I start to get itchy and twitchy and wonder when the anvil is going to drop down out of the sky. And, yes I’m aware that speaks to some sort of deep-seated issue with my being able to be happy. Bite me.

So, I guess the takeaway from today is that, when you’re hurting, allow other people to help you, even if only for a little while. It will make your life a bit easier and it will make them feel better for doing what they can to ease your burden.

Just, you know, do it somewhere else.

Footnotes & Errata

* Other than live, of course. I mean, that was a clear number one with a bullet on my wish list.
** I did have reason to be worried. My mom once mailed me chicken soup when I was away at college and had a cold. Yes, seriously. Very loving. Only slightly psychotic. I also figured this would be the opportunity my sister would take to pay me back for all the years of torture help I gave her as a child.

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