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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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Keys To Happiness

We are not owed happiness.

It’s something we have to create for ourselves. Sometimes we even have to fight for it. Heck, even the Constitution of the United States only guarantees us the right to pursue happiness.

Which means that sometimes we have to go out of our way to create our own happiness. It’s not all that easy either.

It is, however, vitally important to each and every dude and dudette out there. The author, Robert Louis Stevenson, said, “There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy. By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world.”

Fortunately, I received a nice bit of promotion in the e-mail inbox just the other day, sent by publicity agents for Henry S. Miller, Author of The Serious Pursuit of Happiness.

Miller, also author of the author of  Inspiration for the Pursuit of Happiness:  Wisdom to Guide your Journey to a Better Life, sent along a month-by-month guide to increase your sense of happiness throughout the upcoming year. Here’s the first six.

 January:  A Month of Hope and Plans

The beginning of the year is traditionally about new years’ resolutions. This year, write one positive goal you have for the coming year down on your calendar each morning of each day of January. Also write your plan to make it a reality. Then, resolve that you will intentionally invest your time and energy to work on your resolutions during the year and to live a happier life by implementing these 12 happiness strategies – one each month.   

 February:  A Month of Gratitude

Gratitude is the antidote to greed, envy, and jealously. We feel much happier when we are being grateful for what we have, rather than envious of what we don’t. Remember, no one has everything! This month, each night before going to bed, take a daily gratitude inventory. Write down three things you are grateful for about your life – your relationships, your work, your character, your family, your country, the world around you, your life. 

 March:  A Month of Kindness

Plato said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” And, if you look around, it’s still true today. This month, find one opportunity each and every day to perform some kind act for someone else – even the simplest act of holding a door open for another will do. And, each day, after your act of kindness, enjoy the feeling that, for at least one shining moment, you are the personification of all that is good about the human race.

 April:  A Month of Optimism

Each day this month, be more conscious of your negative thoughts – if you have any. And every time you do, immediately “dispute” it by intentionally replacing the negative thought with a positive one. Do this each time you think a negative thought for a month, and notice how your thinking might change.

 May:  A Month of Friendship

Close relationships are one of the longest-lasting of happiness-increasing strategies. But, sometimes, we take our friends for granted – or are “too busy” to see them. This month, at least one time per week, reach out to a friend and arrange to spend time with them. This can be as simple as a walk, a meal, coffee, drinks – whatever you choose. But find the time to visit with your friends face-to-face this month.

 June:  A Month of Love

Traditionally, June is a month of weddings – and love is all around us. Each day this month, call, write, or email someone you love or care deeply about – one per day – and tell them how much they mean to you – and how happy you are that they are a part of your life – even if you haven’t been the best communicator up to now. Notice reactions – yours and theirs.  

Some pretty salient points, I thought. Definitely something I’m going to be considering as the new year draws closer.

We’ll be back with the second six months tomorrow.

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Science: In Which We Find The Astonishing. . . And Then Drink It

About a month ago, scientists in Canada found what they consider to be the oldest undisturbed cache of water on the planet. This water had been sitting under a huge rock for more than 1.5 BILLION years.

That, dudes, is a long time. A seriously long time. And it’s probably just the lower limit. More than likely this water is much older.

So these scientists, including one Dr. Barbara Sherwood Lollar, began investigating the water, looking for descendants of ancient microbes, testing all sorts of stuff. This was basically a cache of primordial soup, around long before anything remotely resembling human life was around.

Which is a good thing. Because, apparently, the water tastes horribly. So you know humans wouldn’t have wanted to–

Wait. It tastes horribly? How would we know that. The scientists were supposed to be subjecting the water to science. And stuff.

Well, we know because Dr. Barbara Sherwood Lollar got a bit curious.

As a lead researcher and newfound connoisseur of primordial soup, Lollar described the physical properties of the liquid during a recent interview with the LA Times. And what’s ancient water like? Salty, viscous, and turns kind of orangey when exposed to air. Refreshing!

I have to admit I have tasted it from time to time. It tastes terrible. It is much saltier than seawater. You would definitely not want to drink this stuff.

Yeah. She tasted it. From time to time. That means she tasted the primordial soup, bleched over the taste, went back to doing science-y stuff and then thought, “Maybe it tastes better now?” and tried it again. I wonder if she had oyster crackers for the second helping of primordial soup.

Admittedly, the first time was for science, for which we commend her bravery. But once you’re on the second and third rounds of primordial sauce, motive starts to get a little hazy. Especially when you consider that scientists are still waiting to find out if the liquid is hiding any number of ancient lifeforms. But once you’ve tasted that salty, syrupy nectar, putting down the beaker is a lot easier said than done. Apparently.

Thanks to the good folks at Gizmodo and writer Ashley Feinberg for letting this lovely little tidbit out into the internets.

This is the sort of stuff you just can’t make up. Or, well, I guess you could, but it would probably end up with Dr. Lollar contracting some sort of horrible disease that made her hunger for human flesh and stumble around looking all deadlike.

Now that I think about it, there may be something there. Thanks, science! And thanks, Dr. Lollar.

Science: We ingest unknown substances possibly harboring time-lost lifeforms that could be capable of killing us so you won’t have to. Not that you would have to, you understand. Okay, we just wanted to. That’s our motto and we’re sticking with it.

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