Running For Water

Ugandan child

Anyone who knows me knows I don’t like running. I don’t like working out or being out of breath in general. Running seems like such an efficient way to exercise, and runners are always so into it, that every few years I get some kind of wild idea that I should try running again. It never lasts more than 30 seconds. I remember “Oh yeah, I hate running,” and then I just walk, and everyone’s happy again.

This is one of the reasons I am in awe of people who run marathons. It’s mostly “How can you do that to your body?” but also “Wow, you can do that with your body!” And then there are people like my co-worker, Doug.

Not only is Doug participating in this weekend’s Los Angeles Marathon and punishing his body in order to do so, but he is also doing it to inspire people. Doug is running a relay to raise money for Team World Vision, a group that brings clean water to communities that need it most. Here’s what Doug has to say about why he’s doing this:

I was inspired to run with Team World Vision after learning how many people still don’t have access to clean water, something I take for granted. Did you know that nearly 1,600 children under 5 die every day from diarrhea caused by dirty water, poor sanitation, and improper hygiene? World Vision is providing a new person with clean water every 30 seconds and the funds I raise through this race will help them continue to do so until the clean water crisis is over, something that is possible in our lifetime.

Team World vision water well in Africa

Through World Vision’s water projects, $50 brings clean water that lasts to one person. Together, my wife and I have committed to a goal of raising $5,000, clean water for 100 people.

These funds will bring clean water that frees children from deadly disease and liberates women and children from a life spent gathering dirty water. It restores health and opens the door to education, a promising future, and a full life.

Doug and his wife sponsor a child in Uganda named Ronald, who benefits from the very wells built by Team World Vision’s efforts. He doesn’t talk about it much around the office, but he’s been quietly building support from generous people who want to see him go far. We can all go farther by supporting him.

Click here to help bring clean water to people across the world!

Nintendo Switch Preview

Kids playing video games

Last weekend my boys and I got to play some games on the new Nintendo Switch! We attended a launch event in Hollywood, and as I noted on Instagram, it was totally worth the drive. 

video game player and girl with multicolored hair

We’ve been anticipating the Switch’s arrival for months, and the boys were really excited that it is finally here. I’m still super old-school, so I am content to play LEGO Star Wars on the Wii U (and let’s face it, I would have been fine playing Atari for the rest of my life if things hadn’t evolved from there) but I was definitely curious.

Mario party

The selling point of the new Switch gaming system is that it can be used as a console hooked up to your big screen TV, or taken on the road and played like a tablet. So it’s sort of a cross between the Wii U game pad and the Nintendo DS systems. When the Switch is in console mode, you use the little “Joy-Cons” as multiplayer remote controls, docked in a Joy-Con grip so you can use them like a pro controller, or just use a pro controller. When you go portable with it, the Joy-Cons re-attach to the Switch and you use them both to play your single player game.

Nintendo Switch product photo

There’s a great video to demonstrate these different ways to play here.

At the launch event, the kids and I mostly used the Switch in console mode, but I did take a moment to pull the unit out of the Switch dock to see what the graphics looked like when I was playing the new (and also hotly anticipated) Nintendo open-world video game Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The graphics were great on the big screen, but you can really see the definition on the Switch unit itself. It looks better than any hand-held and certainly better than the DS or 3DS.

Boy playing Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild

The game is awesome. We only got to play a 20-minute demo version, but it was enough to make us all wish for a Switch and the game. Kit wakes up from a 100-year nap and gets a cool magic tablet that shows him where to go on his quest. But as Kit’s controller, you get to choose where to go, what to discover, and what to do. It’s like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book, but in a video game.

Breath of the Wild screenshot

We also played some neat games that you control with the Joy-Cons: Arms (first person knock out game, which my kids mastered instantly but I could not seem to grasp) Poyo Poyo Tetris (like playing Tetris, but with Gremlins), Splatoon 2 (another kid-favorite: you get to move the world around by tilting the Switch in handheld mode), 1-2 Switch! (quick-draw fire at your opponent game), and Just Dance 2017:

You can barely see the Joy-Cons in our hands because they are so small. It makes dancing much easier than with the bulkier Wii U remotes. In these pictures we are totally rocking out to “Cake by the Ocean.” The kid beat me with his sick moves.

The launch event was a gamer’s theme park. It was the coolest arcade this side of the 1980’s, no quarters needed. (These kids today. They have no idea.)

woman under giant Mario hat

We need much more time with the Switch to give it a thorough review, but from this limited experience, I can see that it’s going to be a big hit. The Switch goes for $299.99 and game cards are $49.99 and up, not compatible with the Wii U or Wii. So it’s basically a platform replacement. This is a paradigm shift for the one-at-a-time console family, like we have been since getting our first system in 2009.

Not that it matters much at the moment. The Switch has sold out everywhere already! And with a game release schedule spreading out the awesome new titles for several months, I’m betting they’ll continue to fly off the shelves (and out of online retailer warehouses) as fast as they come in! Check out the Switch website for more details and videos.

Glasses USA – Where You Can Serve Your Selfie

At Glasses USA you can buy eyeglasses online quickly and easily and best of all, they are very affordable.

I have needed vision correction since I was about 12 years old. First I just wore glasses in class – that lasted until just after college. By then I was using a computer most of the day for work, so my eyesight rapidly declined to the point at which I needed glasses or contacts for everyday vision. It wasn’t until 2012 that I finally sucked it up and got laser eye surgery, and I wish I had done it much earlier, because I’m already old enough that my eyesight is fading again not because of the shape of my eyeballs’ lenses, but because of age.

I know, I know. Get off my lawn.

For the past 6 months I’ve known I really needed to get driving glasses, especially for night time driving, but going back to the eye doctor or visiting an optometrist was just not at the top of my list of things to do, you know? Enter Glasses USA!

Glasses USA is a website that allows you to buy eyeglasses online. You can browse through their many different styles, enter your prescription and your pupillary distance, and pay for them online, then voila! Your glasses arrive in your mailbox a short time later. I tried the service myself!

I selected my frames from the Home collection. I found the search tool very easy, especially its many filters that helped me narrow my choices down by color and shape. I was looking for glasses that look just like the ones I used to have before my surgery, because I loved them.

Since I couldn’t try the frames on to see how they looked on me, I took advantage of the virtual “try it on” tool. I uploaded a photo of myself and the glasses miraculously appeared on my face:

If you don’t look too closely it actually looks like I’m wearing these cute red frames in this photo! (I won’t show you the photos of my picture with the glasses that don’t work on my face at all.)

The hardest part about ordering my glasses online, and it wasn’t even really hard, was measuring my pupillary distance. Since my eye doctor hadn’t included that in my prescription, I had to measure it myself. Actually, I roped my coworker into doing it for me, where she just took a ruler and tried to measure the distance in millimeters between my two pupils. I took an average of three measurements and added it to my order.

Shipping and returns are free, which is pretty great, and the frames with lenses are very reasonably priced. Once I placed my order, my new glasses showed up in my mailbox in just a few days! As soon as I put them on, I could see distant objects and signs clearly again! I was so pleased that Glasses USA got it right on the first try.

Aside from all the work that the eye specialists at my doctor’s office did, I feel like I did this myself, and it was so easy. Now I can take lots of selfies with these glasses and look extra smart. Also, I can see when driving again. It’s a win-win!

There are always tons of discounts at Glasses USA so check them out when you are looking to buy eyeglasses online. If you are like me, you will put your new eyeglasses in the weirdest places and then forget where they are, so it might be good for you to buy several pairs.

I received a complimentary pair of eyeglasses to facilitate this feature. All opinions and suddenly clearer vision are my own.