2014 Back to School Gift Guide

back_to_school

The new school year will be starting soon (and it likely already has for some people), which means that it’s time to get those students in your life the tools they’ll need in order to survive the next nine months. No, we’re not talking about boring stuff like pencils and notebooks, but rather the cool gadgets and gear that will make dorm life a little more enjoyable. Here are some great gift ideas that no student should be without.

For Your Room:

Grace Digital Primo Wi-Fi Internet Radio Streamer

primo

Internet radio has become all the rage these days, and although you can listen to a lot of stuff on your computer or smartphone, we really dig this wireless music receiver from Grace Digital, which delivers access to over 50,000 stations, podcasts and on-demand content from all over the world with a user-friendly interface. Whether you’re listening to local stations, shows from other countries or cultivated playlists on Pandora, the Primo has everything you could possibly want… except for an integrated speaker, which is a little weird considering that one was included on previous models. With that said, it does make the device more compact, and there’s an AC power jack for headphones and an RCA line out to connect to your personal sound system. The unit itself is also smartly designed, with a 3.5-inch color LCD screen that makes finding what you want a breeze – from dedicated icons for Pandora, iHeartRadio and SiriusXM, to the ability to search for stations by categories like location and genre – as well as eight one-button presets (with the option to store 100 additional stations) and thumbs up/down and skip functionality for Pandora users. Heck, you can even view the weather or use it as an alarm clock, making the Grace Digital Primo the perfect addition to any work desk.

Roku 3

roku

If you’ve never heard of Roku, chances are that you’re living under a rock, because much like how TiVo spearheaded the DVR explosion, Roku has been at the forefront of the streaming media movement since its little black box debuted in 2008. In those six years, Roku has quickly become one of the best and most popular devices on the market, with the Roku 3 serving as the premium model in the company’s line of set-top boxes. One of the biggest reasons why the brand has continued to prosper is just how easy their products are to use, and the Roku 3 improves that experience with a processor that’s five times faster and an extended wireless range to ensure you have the best possible connection when accessing the 1,000-plus entertainment channels like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go and Pandora. And if you already own a Roku, now’s the time to upgrade, because the Roku 3 comes fully loaded with 1080p video, dual-band wireless, an Ethernet port and a USB port to stream your music, movies and photos. The included remote also comes equipped with a headphone jack and headphones for private listening, so you won’t have to worry about disturbing your roommate’s studying with episodes of “Orange is the New Black.”

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Drink of the Week: The Laphroaig Suntanned Scotsman

he Laphroaig Suntanned Scotsman.There are some drinks that seem to be endlessly adjustible. Some might prefer their martini’s super-dry, and I might like a Fifty-Fifty but, at either extreme or somewhere in the middle, a martini can always be a perfectly lovely drink if made with some love.

Not so for other drinks, which admit of no variation. Make it with the just the right ingredients, it works. Try anything else, though, and the thing becomes kind of a revolting mess.

Not surprisingly, a drink being promulgated in connection with the “opinions welcome” publicity campaign of the rather fascinating, kind of delicious, and definitely ultra-smokey Laphroaig Ten-Year Old Scotch Whisky is likely to fall into a category where dogma is required. Trust me, make this drink exactly this way and it’ll be good — though definitely not for everyone — make it any other way and, well, you will wish you hadn’t.

The name of this colorful beverage might evoke images of Groundskeeper Willie and the great Billy Connolly, but they’ll be having the last laugh should you dare to mess with today’s drink.

The Laphroaig Suntanned Scotsman

1 1/2 ounces Laphroaig 10-Year Old Scotch Whisky
1 1/2 ounces pineapple juice
1 1/2 ounces cranberry juice (unsweetened, damn it!)
1 pineapple slice (non-essential but highly desirable garnish)

Get a highball glass and fill it with ice. Add the smoke-laden Scotch, pineapple juice, and cranberry juice…in that order. Resist the impulse to stir, but do add a pineapple slice. Prepare for a drink that’s both seriously refreshing and definitely not for the faint of heart. As for the toast, I’d normally suggest someone or something Scottish but this odd, sad week, I’ll give you a choice of Robin Williams or the great Lauren Bacall.

*****

I was told I could try this with which ever kind of cranberry juice I liked, sweetened or unsweetened. I tried it both ways and it was a night and day kind of a thing. With unsweetened cranberry juice the mix of tart, bitter, and slightly sweet flavors was challenging, but really quite refreshing. A drink for sophisticates who don’t mind some moderately healthy ingredients in their cocktails.

With the sweetened Ocean Spray stuff, however, “ugh” is the first word that comes to mind. It was pretty much that revolting mess I talked about earlier. More surprisingly, I also experimented by trying this with a Brand X Scotch that’s not bad at all…except, it appears, in a Suntanned Scotsman. In this case, if the drink isn’t made with Laphroaig, as Mike Myers might have said, it’s crap!


If It’s Not Scottish, It’s Crap!!! by shundriad

  

5 Things All Guys Should Know About Engagement Rings

ring

When popping the question, there’s nothing that gives guys more anxiety than choosing the ring. Is it big enough? Did I spend too much money? Is it the right size? Is she going to like it?

A million questions run through your mind when purchasing something that’s supposed to be forever, so let’s take some of the guesswork out of the engagement equation and fill you in on just what’s important – and what isn’t – when purchasing an engagement ring.

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Bullz-Eye on location with Bud Light’s Mayor of Whatever, USA

bud-light-mayor-selfie

If you’re “Up for Whatever,” what do you do when Bud Light offers to fly you to New York City to meet the Mayor of Whatever? You ask them what time you need to be at the airport.

Last week, Bullz-Eye attended a meet and greet (and grope) with Bud Light and the Mayor of Whatever, USA. Details were sparse, candor was high and the Bud Light flowed freely like the “salmon of Capistrano.”

The Bud Light “Up for Whatever” campaign is one of the coolest marketing campaigns in recent memory. Bud Light is building a town as we speak called “Whatever, USA” at an unannounced, unknown location. Purportedly, it’s an epic town created solely for three days of unexpected fun.

The Mayor was exactly who you would think he’d be. Easy to talk to, free wheeling, and he doesn’t get all weird if you get a little handsy. If a Mayor is a reflection of the people that comprise his city, then Whatever, USA will be a straight-up bro-down.

In this video, the Mayor talks about a few mayoral things, like when he answers his “dude phone” and when he answers his “mayor phone.”

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Drink of the Week: Pago Pago (a la Selvarey)

Image ALT text goes here.If you’ve been reading these posts regularly you know that I tend to lean strongly towards anything that makes good cocktails easier, simpler, or cheaper.

Today, I’m here to tell you that the bottle of the Selvarey Cacao Rum I was gifted with by the gods of publicity is something of a deal at it’s midline premium price and at a lower than average 70 proof.  That’s because it’s a truly tasty, yet tasteful, flavored spirit with a fine chocolatey flavor that will work for a lot of people sipped neat or just on the rocks, even if they’re the sort who normally would never drink anything straight up. It’s also true because, as a rather chocolate flavored rum, it’s something of a twofer in that it can seemingly be used in any cocktail that ordinarily calls for both white rum and the ever popular chocolate flavored liqueur, creme de cacao.

Which leads to this adaptation/simplification of a drink more commonly made not only with rum and chocolate liqueur, but muddled pineapple slices. That sounds lovely enough to check out here some time but, for today, we’re keeping it simple with a drink that is both lively, complex, chocolately and floral, thanks to a dash of green chartreuse. It’s pretty nice.

Pago Pago (a la Selvarey)

2 ounces Selvarey Cacao Rum
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce green chartreuse
1/2 ounce simple syrup or 1 tablespoon of superfine sugar
1 lime wheel (moderately optional garnish)

Combine the chocolate rum, lime juice, chartreuse (a floral liqueur beloved of fancy tipplers everywhere), and sweetener in a cocktail shaker with a lots of ice. Do the natural thing and shake it within an inch of your life and pour the result into a chilled cocktail glass. I know I usually give you something to toast, so let’s salute the capital of American Samao, which probably has nothing much to do with this drink but I’m sure it’s very lovely.

****

I made this drink a a number of times. Aside from the time I found myself lime-less and used lemon juice instead (not bad!) I didn’t mess around too much with this drink, except for trying out superfine sugar instead of simple syrup.

1/2 ounce of Master of Mixes simple syrup has forty calories while a tablespoon of sugar has 38 calories but removing the small amount of water from the mixes results in a slightly sweeter beverage that I found slightly more balanced. I guess you could call that a win-win, very much like the drink itself.

  

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