Scion FRS – Wow, That’s Fast

mrdad - Scion FRS dual spedometers

mrdad - Scion FRSYears ago, wife and I had a Volvo. It was pretty new and very snazzy looking, but it spent a lot of time in the shop. I found that really annoying, but my wife didn’t seem to mind. “It’s a European car,” she’d say. “You just have to get used to it.” Well, I never did. So when we divorced, I was thrilled to trade my interest in the Volvo for a few other items with better repair records.

I’m bringing this up because, as I was putting the Scion FRS (which the brand provided, with the understanding that all opinions in this review would be mine alone) through its paces, the phrase “you just have to get used to it” kept popping into my mind. But in a much more positive way.

First, the FRS is a Toyota brand so I wouldn’t expect it to come anywhere near a mechanic unless it was for scheduled maintenance. I could definitely get used to that. Second, the FRS is a sports car, a real-life, fast-as-hell, head-turning, takes-turns-like-it’s-on-a-rail sports car. So, yeah, I could get used to that.

mrdad - Scion FRS dual spedometersThird, it’s not a luxury car, which means it doesn’t have a lot of the features you’d find on a Lexus, for example. There’s no multi-zone climate control, no collision warning sensors, and no rear backup camera. That last part gets us back to the sports car: This is a vehicle that you’ll be driving forwards, probably faster than you should be. So why spend the money on a feature you’ll never use? It does, however, have two speedometers: one digital, one analog, just in case you need confirmation that you’re really going as fast as you think you are.

The FRS is incredibly fun to drive. So much so that it created an interesting problem: During the week I had it, I put a lot more miles on it than I usually do. And it took me a little longer to get places than it usually does. The reason? I found myself taking the most circuitous routes between points A and B that I could find. The more turns the better. Yep, I think I could get used to that too.

MSRP for the base model FRS is $24.900. Fog lights, a rear spoiler, and a few other upgrades brought the price to just a shade under $28,000. The official MPG numbers are 22 city, 30 highway, but that may be when the car is driven at legal speeds. Chances are you’ll go over the limit. Hey, it’s a sports car, so get used to it.

RSVP #BackyardBiteback Twitter Party June 14 2015 at -7pm-est/

RSVP #BackyardBiteBack Twitter Party

 June 14th 7pm EST!

June 14th at 7pm EST we are having the #BackyardBiteBack Twitter Party!!!

Sponsored by Dynatrap

Dynatrapis a maker of pesticide-free and environmentally friendly insect traps. On June 14, we are having a fun “Backyard Battle” Twitter party between @BabyCostcutters and @MrDad to see who rules the backyard and to encourage bug-free time spent outdoors. We will discuss what makes a great backyard bash and and how to prevent bugs from crashing the party–even if you happen to be inside. 

Of course a party has prizes! Dynatrap will be giving away 4 prize packs and 1 grand prize. 

Grand Prize

  • Dynatrap DT2000XL
  • Dynazap
  • $100 gift card to Frontgate/Home Depot

 Prizes 3-4

  • Dynazap
  • $50 gift card to Frontgate/Home Depot

Prizes 1-2

  • Dynazap
  • $25 gift card to Frontgate/Home Depot

Here’s what you need to do if you want to participate

June 14, 2015 from 7pm EST to 8pm EST
Hashtag:  #BackyardBiteBack

Four things you MUST do to make the event work for everyone:

  1. RSVP below.
  2. During the party to view discussions and comments you must set up a #BackyardBiteBack search on, make sure to click on “all” so you can see the current tweets and not just the “top” tweets. Of course you could also use TweetDeck, TweetChat, or Hootsuite if you are familiar with them. 
  3. Make sure you are following our Sponsor @Dynatrap, our Host: @BabyCostcutters & @MrDad, and our co-host: @ItsFreeAtLast,  @MomsWhoSave and @momstart
  4. To make comments and/or replies you must include #BackyardBiteBack somewhere in your Tweet on Twitter. This is the only way your comment can be seen by the group at the event.


  RSVP to be eligible to win prizes during out twitter party!  

 To be eligible to win prizes from the twitter party you must be a legal residents of the fifty (50) United States or the District of Columbia who are 18 years of age or older at the time of entry.

How to RSVP

Below, click “add your link”.

For the “URL” put your full url to your twitter account. Example, mine is:

In the “Name” put your @twitterhandle. Example, mine is: @mrdad.

Then enter your email address. 

Got Bugs? We’ve Got Solutions at the #BackyardBiteback Twitter Party

mrdad - Dynatrap-Twitter-Party_BackyardBiteBack

mrdad - Dynatrap-Twitter-Party_BackyardBiteBack

I love summer, the sports, the time outside, the opportunity fo leave the windows open all day long, and those warm evenings that seem to go on for hours and hours. But I’m not alone. Billions of bugs take advantage of those same things–especialy those open windows–to feast on the blood of the unsuspecting–and unprotected–humans who live in my house.

In most places, window screens do a great job of keeping bugs and thier victims separated. But, as (bad) luck would have it, the people who built my condo complex didn’t install screens. And since the windows are all custom sizes, it would cost about $1500 to have them made. That seemed like overkill (although when it comes to mosquitos, there’s no such thing as overkill).

So to solve this annoying problem, I’m partnering with @BabyCostcutters and @Dynatrap, makers of pesticide-free and environmentally friendly insect traps. On June 14, we are having a fun “Backyard Battle” Twitter party between @BabyCostcutters and @MrDad to see who rules the backyard and to encourage bug-free time spent outdoors. We will discuss what makes a great backyard bash and and how to prevent bugs from crashing the party–even if you happen to be inside.

RSVP to the Twitter Party here.

The Paranoid Dad’s Intro to Finding Secure Mobile Hotspots

mrdad - ATT  netgear mobile hotspot

mrdad - ATT  netgear mobile hotspotAT&T and NETGEAR provided a unit to facilitate this review. However, as with everything I write, all opinions are my own.

As a full-time writer, I can work anywhere; all I really need is a good Internet connection and an electrical outlet. Over the years, I’ve worked in hundreds of coffee shops, airports, offices, libraries, and dozens of hotels, and have taken full advantage of their free wi-fi. In a few cases, I even paid for it. But whether I paid or not, I’ve always clicked through the “Information sent over this network might be visible to others” warning without giving it a second thought. After all, nobody would really look at my data, right? Wrong. Very, very wrong.
[Read more…]

Playmobil and the U.S. Coast Guard

playmobil rescue boatCity Action Rescue Boat
The Coast Guard has a bit of an identity crisis. It started off as part of the Department of Treasury, then got transferred over to the Department of Transportation, and is now under the Department of Homeland Security. They’re also considered a branch of the military. But whoever they are, they do a great job of protecting our coasts and waterways. With the City Action Rescue Boat, your child can give the Coast Guard the respect they deserve, honoring them as they rescue drowning swimmers, battle pirates, and take on other rescue operations. They can even put out fires (or squirt the cat) with the included plunger. The set includes the boat itself, three figures, first aid kit, hoses, rescue ring, and more. $52.95. Ages 4-10.

playmobil coast guard stationCity Action Coast Guard Station with Lighthouse
Those Coast Guard heroes need to go somewhere at the end of a long, danger-filled day, right? And nothing could be better than their own station, complete with a functioning lighthouse and an observation room where the duty officers can keep a close eye on the coast and dispatch rescue crews as needed. The set comes with everything you and the kids need to create amazing adventures together: a boat, five Playmobil figures (who love to wait in line for the Ferris wheel on their day off), rescue rings, a full set of scuba gear, loads of medical and safety equipment, a cable winch to haul boats out of the water, and more. $79.95. Ages 4-10.

Indoor/Outdoor Fun from Playmobil

As summer approaches, we’re seeing a lot more toys and games that are designed to be used outside or that replicate some aspect of the great outdoors.

playmobil ferris wheelSummer Fun Ferris Wheel with Lights
There’s nothing like waiting in a line for an amusement park ride to remind you that it’s summer. With this large set, your kids can have the joy (okay, misery) of standing in lines without having to lather up with sunscreen or put on a hat. The 117-piece set comes with seven two-seater gondolas, a functioning Ferris wheel, a ticket office (complete with a cash register and tickets), flashing lights (batteries not included) and quite a few other accessories. It also comes with two adult figures and two child figures, so your little one can make someone else (even if that someone is inanimate) feel the sting of waiting in line and then, when you finally get to the front, being told you’re too short to ride. Once all the seats are full, turn the crank and you’re off. The wheel can operate automatically but you’ll need to buy the Electric Ride Motor, sold separately. $79.99. Ages 4-10.

playmobil gliderSports & Action Speed Glider
At some point, pretending to be outdoors really needs to give way to the real thing. And this sleek glider is the perfect way to encourage kids (you too) to stretch those legs. Just assemble it (which will take about a minute) and you’re ready for a really fun game of catch or a long-distance throwing competition. As long as the pilot is in his seat (he needs to be there to balance the aircraft), the glider is very easy to throw—even for young children. And with working LED lights, there’s no reason for the fun to stop when the sun goes down. $26.99. Ages 6-14,