Category Archives: Reviews

Review: Fitbit Charger 2


I got a hand-me-down; from my daughter. I thought it was the other way around, especially since dad is supposed to be the fitness nut in the family.

In the early 80’s I used a Polar HRM (Heart Rate Monitor) in my fitness training as I am always researching and testing health and fitness products, fads, trends, etc. The Polar HRM was a good tool, however I moved onto the next thing and ever since then I have just continued researching and reviewing the evolution of these technologies without actually using one.

My first week with this unit was vanilla, I put it on and barely paid attention to it. My goal was to look at this wearable from both a novice and experienced fitness enthusiast’s perspective.

To get started, I needed to sync with my iPhone; that was fast and easy. Next, I downloaded the app; that was fast and easy. Check, check for those considering investing in this health/fitness tool.

My daughter changed from one of the rubber straps to a leather one. I liked the leather one, but I knew that my activity level would require my getting an athletic (rubber) band. First note, accessories on Fitbit website are more expensive than other sources e.g. Fitbit Sportsband $29.95, I purchased one for $5.99 through an Amazon reseller. After several weeks my band is doing quite fine.

Being far-sighted I was concerned that I would not be able to see the small display, however I am pleased to report (to the older generation) that the white text on black background presents a clear visual.

Not sure if it is the age of this hand-me-down piece, or the actual sensitivity, but the tap navigation on the unit is not as responsive as that on my other touch electronics; so, no judgment here.

Online dashboard provides plenty of information for a novice to a seasoned health and fitness buff. However, for the experienced individual you may be looking for more info, for example, in addition to seeing average heart rate I would like to see average low and highs.

Things I like and you will to:

  • Clear readable display.
  • Easy setup.
  • Good mobile app.
  • Good web dashboard.
  • Plenty of configurations to help both the novice and seasoned individuals.

Features I would like:

  • Edit workouts for those times when you forget to hit stop
  • HRM Zones notifications. When moving from ‘Fat Burn’ to ‘Cardio’ to ‘Peak’ zones, I would like to be notified. The notifications should be user configurable and offer visual, audible and/ vibration.
  • HRM Analysis. At present, the dashboard shows average for workout and total minutes in the zones, however, I would like to see the totals divided into periods, for example; if total in the cardio zone was 20 minutes, I would like to see how many times and for what lengths led to this total.

My conclusion; anything that helps people pursue, or maintain, their health and fitness is good and the Fitbit Charge 2 does this and more.


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Review: “Ultra High”

60 hours in 1 hour 10 minutes!

Compliments to directors and film teams that can take epic, many hour, or many days event and deliver a compelling and engaging story within 1-2 hours. In this case, I recently watched a feature length documentary film, “Ultra High“, about a 137-mile mountain marathon in the Himalayas of India and it delivered a 60+ hours in 1 hour 10 minutes!

As an adrenaline junkie, pain purveyor and event director/manager, I was engaged from the first scene to the next and the time flew by, for me, that is. Watching the film I pondered how these athletes, during this competition, had competed for hours, many, many, many hours (they had to finish under 60 hours!). And! They were crossing mountain passes and  peaks up to 18,300 feet! C’mon!

UltraHigh3Six runners toed the starting line for the challenge. Supported by their crews, they put one foot in front of the other and faced HAPE (high altitude pulmonary edema), hypothermia, exhaustion and ‘traffic’, (yes, there were vehicles on the crazy rock-strewn, partially paved roads).

I thought this would be a film about survival, which it was, but the director, Barry Walton, also delivers a race film story. From the starting line, Ray Sanchez looking to breakUltraHigh the course record, moves out well ahead of the other competitors. As the story develops, trailing behind is Sharon Gayner, an asthmatic,who has sites on first place. I will leave the finish for your viewing pleasure.

Being someone who has managed and been a race director, each event presents many details to be prepared for, or respond to. “Ultra High” captured the logistical challenges that all managers/directors face, such as communications, safety, and traffic.; all above 10,000 feet. Barry Walton does not place the spotlight or emphasize these challenges however to those who have managed events they will recognize selective scenes.

If you like watching epic events like the Tour de France, or Hawaiian World Championship Ironman Triathlon, then you will enjoy this film.


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Review: “7 reasons to see Furious 7”


I really enjoy going to the movies with my son, Max. After movies we will get into a back-and-forth review of the pluses and minuses; and, usually the next day I will see his critique online. Well, dad decided to jump in on this critique stuff and as a result, here are my reasons (seven of them) to see “Furious 7”.

#7 – Its not real; nothing is real in this movie! Don’t for a moment think that anything portrayed in this movie is possible. Get over it people. If you want to believe the stunts are possible, don’t go see this movie. I think the producers knew this, went with it, and stayed with it throughout the entire movie. Check your reality senses at the door as soon as you buy your ticket.

#6 – Speaking of not real… We see the aftermath of how one man gets through an army (let’s say 10, 20; no, let’s say a 100 or so) of guards in a hospital to let his dying brother (you need to have seen #6 to know why the brother is dying) know that vengeance will be had. Followed by a very large, muscular man, after fighting the vengeful brother, falls out of a tall building while hugging a woman, lands on a car and survives. And, there are many, many other examples. The 2-plus hours will go by quickly.

#5 – The cast stays true to their characters. They deliver on their bad-ass, over-confident personas. They have good one-liners; “…his momma should have kept her legs closed…” and “…woman, I am the cavalry…”. And, once again, there are more of these, so you can plan to gasp and laugh.

#4 – Timely and well placed T & A. To quote Jeff Foxworthy, “I am a guy!”

#3 – Vehicles, not just cars, but all kinds of ‘Hot Wheels’ cars through out the film. How about 5 cars getting dropped, or should I say drive out of a plane, parachutes open, they land on rural mountain road and drive off. Ambulances kill drones. Racing through the forests (obviously, no trees in this part of the world; oh yea, I was suppose to check my reality senses at the door). Cars drive off cliffs – on purpose!

#2 – Remember, no reality here, just plain testosterone level pain between big guys, and women. The fight scenes pitting one of the master big-screen tough guys Jason Statham going against the Rock, then later Vin Diesel are Boom! Pow! Kapow! Crash! Zonk! You get it…

#1 – Tribute to Paul Walker. Very nicely done. It’s all about family!

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Review: “Make Yourself Ageless”

AgelessMake Yourself Ageless
by Bruce S. Garrabrandt

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this book twice. What, you ask, “why twice?“. Yes, each nugget of truth, inspiration or thought provoking paragraph had me rereading in order to truly taken in what was being offered by Bruce Garrabrandt. Thank Dr.M for giving me this delightful gift.

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Review: “Act of Valor” – When it comes your time to die

I saw “Act of Valor” I thought it was a good movie. The realism, the story and the action kept me engaged. Upon getting in my car to head home with my son, we shared this summary; “Act of Valor” is a combination of watching a video game, an ad for the military (Navy) and a promotion for America. I love America! So, what does a short movie review have to do with the title of this blog entry, “When it comes your time to die”?

As the movie concludes, a narration from one of the main characters is delivering words of wisdom to the son of a fallen ‘brother’ (Yes, I just did give part of the movie away). Included in his words, he refers to words from Tecumseh. The words and their meanings are powerful. These words will touch you and provide strength to the challenges you face. Here are the words.

So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.

Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours.

Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.
Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people.
Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.
Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place.
Show respect to all people and grovel to none.
When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living.
If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself.
Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.
When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way.

Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.

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