Thursday, October 26, 2017


Even though we are heading into August, summer is far from over. In fact, in New York City, the heatwave has really just started, which means it’s the ideal time to dust off your rubs and barbecue sauce and get to grilling. Whether you’re looking for some pre-back-to-school camping, a Scout field trip, tailgating into the fall, or moving into college and being well and truly prepared, then you probably want a cooking surface that won’t take up much space and will still get your steaks done right.

You want the COLEMAN GRILL NXT 300. Granted, there are cheaper grills out there, smaller ones, heftier and far pricier models too. But this guy hits a sweet spot for your average weekend aficionado- the sort who wants to cook up some hot dogs and sausages and hamburgers with a satisfying char, and not worry too much about impressing onlookers. The NXT 300 comes in on a budget and is considerate of your environment- it folds for easy storage, but offers a lovely 321 square inches of cooking surface when setup. Twin burners are individually controllable, for independent cooking needs on either side, and can reach temps up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit (with dials that go to 750). It heats up fast too, but a word of warning- the outside of the grill does get very hot as well. And it stays hot for quite awhile, which can make packing up a bit of a “wait and test” proposition.

Season for a few minutes and prepare your tanks for 20,000 BTUs of heat to cook over a dozen burgers at a time if you so desire- exactly the sort of machine that’s ideal for a family picnic. Out of the box, only the porcelain-coated cast iron grill plates are included, but we liked that you can easily mix-and-match between a set of surfaces that allows you to switch easily between stove or griddle (sold separately). If you want to use a traditional, large tank, you’ll need to pick up an adapter, but Coleman included the connector for the smaller 16.9 ounce cylinders. Electric push-button ignition never caused an issue for us, and there is a built-in thermometer for easy reading of the grill’s internal temperatures. Cleanup is about the same as with most grills, and the black color holds up well to use. The more eye-grabbing red is reserved for the sister model, the NXT 200, which is basically identical save for the lighted knobs (handy in the dark, for sure).

Perfect for tailgaters, we’ve had some great results on the NXT 300 from brats to filets. The wheels have held up well to some rolling into and out of parks and driveways, and there aren’t many grills that are friendly for urbanites but still offer serious flames. Available now, online and in stores for a reasonable $230, the Coleman NXT 300 balances everything carefully, and manages well- it’s a great grill for the city, and our new favorite way to cook this summer.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Review of Blackfire CLAMPLIGHT LED Flashlight

Up for review today I have something a bit different, a flashlight (for example: SUNJACK CAMPLIGHT )from a company called Blackfire. Normally we cover tech products, but we do cover everything really, but flashlights these days can be considered high tech when you really look at them with high intensity LEDs and futuristic designs. The flashlight I have today is called the Clamplight and it’s what I would call a utility light as as its name suggests, it has a clamp built-in so you can attach the light most anywhere to make sure you have light where you need it most. So read on to learn about a very versatile product…

Specifications and Features


Brilliant White LED
Blackfire CLAMPLIGHT uses a 1 watt Cree White XR-C LED. The LED’s from US maker Cree are found in the finest lights in the world. Better color, longer lasting, and with outstanding quality assurance. Bulb life is virtually forever at 100,000 hours. Up to 100 lumens which is stronger than most other mass distributed LED lights and comparable to many hi- end technical lights.

Uses 3AAA batteries with IC chip for more consistent light output.
Battery life – 26 hours – max output 7 hours
Batteries replace without the need of a screwdriver

Blackfire CLAMPLIGHT clamps virtually anywhere and stays out of the way versus stand lights like “tripod mounted” or “snake like lights”.
Two axis swivel head directs light to any position.
Shaped like a traditional flashlight for easy portability or to fit in a belt or pocket.
Clamp converts to a stand light by pressing clamp and sliding lock feature. Non skid feet swivel down for stability.

Sturdy Construction
Blackfire CLAMPLIGHT is molded in high impact ABS plastic with non slip TPR over-molds and stainless steel fittings.
A strong spring clamps securely to shelves, doors, pipes, branches and other objects.

Blackfire CLAMPLIGHT is the only flashlight that has a clamp integrated into its’ body allowing for versatility and portability. The unique design and mechanisms found in Blackfire CLAMPLIGHT are covered by US Patent #7850329 and Foreign Patents as well as several others pending.

Developed by the award winning international design group, A2, whose work is found in both museums and on store shelves world wide.

Price: $27.99 (from Blackfire website)

Price: $18.88 (from Amazon at time of review)

Unboxing / Review

The packaging for the Clamplight is sort of a half box, that’s how I would describe it, it’s a box with a but-out section in the shape of the light so you can plainly see and feel the light. The back of course has information listed about the light, specs, features and uses and basic directions.

When you first look at the Clamplight it looks kind of odd, but it’s actually barrel shaped just like a regular flashlight is overall so it can be used like a normal flashlight.

The front and back of the light have a large green section which is rubberized for grip. What I call the back is where you’ll find a nice large push button switch which rubberized and sealed. The switch is rather hard to push so you most likely won’t turn it on by accident. The switch also offers a loud or very audible click when you push it so you know you’ve pushed the button. When the light is turned on you can slightly depress the switch and it will go off without fully depressing it so you can strobe or flash the light manually.

The green section on the back is the battery cover where you install the three AAA batteries.

The battery compartment locks onto place and can only be opened by pressing the button or tab located tightly under the head of the light on the front side of the Clamplight. There’s really no way that I can see anyone accidentally opening the battery compartment so it’s very secure. The lock works well to keep the cover in place, so you can drop it without having to worry about the cover popping open and the batteries falling out.

On the front you’ll find another large patch of rubberized green plastic, but here is what looks like a sliding switch.

The slide is actually a lock because the Clamplight can stand up on its own instead of being clamped somewhere. You squeeze the Clamplight closed like you’re going to clamp it to something but then you slide the metal tab up and it locks the clamp open.

When you’re using the Clamplight as a clamp an having it clamped to something the rubberized feet are in the vertical position, but to make it stand on its own you just swivel the feet to a horizontal position. The clamps themselves are rubberized and textured for grip while standing or clamped. The rubber should not mark or damage the surface you attach the Clamplight to, but it will hold firm.

Here it is when it’s standing up in a few view for you to understand what I mean by swiveling the clamps.

The head can tilt and swivel and when tilting it clicks and locks into place. There are five positions you can tilt the head to beginning with straight like a standard flashlight to slightly off ninety degrees downward.

The front has a clear cover and most is the reflector with the LED down in the center. The green ring around the outside is a rubberized plastic so if it drops it’s better protected
When you turn it on you’re greeted with a very bright beam, it says right on the package not to stare into the beam. Most of the head of the light is the reflector, with the LED down in the center, which is fine, but sadly it’s not an adjustable beam.

The work light I use most is a small LED flashlight from Joby called the Blade which is rechargeable and the beam is adjustable so it has multiple uses for me. It also features high and low levels of brightness which can come in handy. It’s my favorite flashlight really, it’s one that I‘ve come to rely on for many types of projects big and small.

The Blackfire Clamplight has many uses as well since it can be clamped to objects and it can stand on its own. The body is nicely made, it’s plastic of course, high impact ABS to be specific and it should be able to withstand most anything you can think of to use it for. The plastic is made to withstand abuse for sure so you can drop it and not worry about it breaking.

The clamp itself is easy to use, there is quite a bit of tension on the spring but not so much as it’s hard to use, just enough for anyone to use it to hold the light or something else in place.

I’ve been using the Clamplight for various little jobs around the house and it has certainly come in handy. I’ve used it mostly as a flashlight without clamping it and I really like the fact the head of the light swivels and pivots. I like how I can hold the light straight up but yet have the head at the ninety degree angle to shine light where I want it.

I also own several Maglites, big and small, 3D size and AA sizes, and a nice rechargeable Streamlight SL-20XP and a few others as well. The brightness of the Clamplight is surprisingly comparable to my bigger lights. The Streamlight is 145 lumens, while the Clamplight is 100 lumens, but to the eye they seem close. The Maglites and Streamlight I have are krypton and/or halogen bulbs, not LEDs so there is obviously a difference there in the light intensity. I’ve noticed that LEDs seem to offer more intense light at lower lumens, which makes them very attractive to be used for lighting in flashlight and of course they use less power than traditional bulbs do.


The Blackfire Clamplight is certainly a versatile product as it has many uses from the home to on the job.

The Clamplight gets its name because it can be mounted by the built-in clamp that holds it securely wherever you attach it. You can be working under the sink or under the hood of your card and just clamp the light in place directing the beam to where you beam it most to get the job done.

The Clamplight can also stand by itself thanks to the unique design of it as it has a built-in stand.

The head of the Clamplight can be rotated right and left and it can move up and down so you can aim the beam exactly where you need it most.

The light itself is very bright, the LED produces 100 Lumens of brightness but it seems to be brighter than that, it’s certainly more than enough to brighten up workspaces or the darkest of rooms.

The shape of the Clamplight resembles that of a normal round flashlight making it familiar and easy to hold.

When I first saw the name Clamplight I read it as Camplight, and that name works too as I could see taking this camping with you to provide light where you need it while out in the woods.

The only drawback I can really mention about the Clamplight is the fact that the beam in not adjustable or focusable, it’s more of a spot light and many times I’ve found a wider beam is better.

The Blackfire Clamplight is well made and very useful for anyone from homemakers to mechanics and everything in between.

The price is under $20 most places I’ve found it online and I think it’s well worth it.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Importance of Trail Cameras

Trail cameras (for example:MOULTRIE M-40I GAME CAMERA )  have become a necessary tool for most deer managers and many deer hunters. Let me explain the three primary uses of trail cameras. Even though I am focused on deer you can use these methods on other animals as well.
Deer population surveys.
Deer patterning.
Security (Catching poachers and trespassers)

Let me now go into more detail;

Deer population surveys:

Because we are deer managers as well as deer hunters this process is the most important process for us. Being able to estimate our Fawn Recruitment Rate, Doe to Buck Ratio and how many individual Bucks we got pictures of is very important in educating us on the dynamics of the deer population in our immediate area. Please read my article “Knowing your Fawn Recruitment Rate is Important!” where I explain the importance of knowing your Fawn Recruitment Rate. Also read my article “Why and how to manipulate your Doe to Buck ratio” where I explain the importance of knowing and possibly even manipulating your Doe to Buck ratio based on your own specific situation. (Your own recruitment rate, mortality rates, deer density etc.) Also, sorting through all of our pictures and determining the number of different Bucks is an important part of our survey. Being able to estimate how many different Bucks we got pictures of gives us something to compare season to season. We do a four week survey with our cameras. We place them at our feeders for two weeks and then we put the cameras on a field or food plot with corn in front of them for the other two weeks. (Placing corn is legal where we hunt) We like to do this with our cameras because we have determined that a small percentage of our deer avoid our feeders. By moving the cameras to a field we usually see a few different deer that do not go to our feeders. I have other articles where I cover the survey process in more detail.

Utilizing our software you can see in the example below how easy it is to track all of this information season by season.

The above sightings information was acquired through observation counts but camera counts will work just as well if not better. As a matter of fact most properties prefer to do a camera survey and just enter those counts into the software. I definitely recommend that everyone do a camera survey and keep track of those counts season to season. Even if I was just hunting 50 acres I would still track the information above just so I had something to compare season by season. Since we are not under a high fence we can see the effects if any our neighbors are having on our deer population. One thing we were able to determine is that our neighbors aren’t shooting enough Does so we are able to compensate for that. We can also see if we are getting our Buck population reduced since we are trying to reduce it. Last but not least is watching our recruitment rate. Many areas are experiencing higher fawn mortality rates because of predators. Even though we have had an increase in our coyote population it has not hurt us yet but it’s important that we keep an eye on it.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Grandmother donates hundreds of quilts to Heidelberg’s Mercy Hospital for Women premmies

A GRANDMOTHER has been celebrated after donating hundreds of handmade, patchwork quilts to comfort premature babies at the Mercy Hospital for Women.

For more than 10 years, Ellen Mason has helped the Heidelberg hospital with up to 20 of her vibrant creations each month to raise money and as gifts to the babies in the neonatal intensive care unit and special care nursery.

Now Ms Mason, an Australian Quilter’s Association member, is hanging up her needle and thread to spend more time with her family. So the hospital held a morning tea in her honour on February 22.

Ms Mason said she wanted to help after she heard about a fire at the East Melbourne Mercy Hospital for Women in late 2004.

“I didn’t know much about the hospital but I felt like I needed to do something, so I contacted them and asked if I could send in some quilts,” she said.

Mercy Hospital for Women neonatal intensive care unit nurse manager Theresa Arnold said everyone was grateful.

“Every Christmas, Ellen would make enough quilts, sometimes up to 60, for babies who had to spend the festive season in the nursery,” Ms Arnold said.

“Quilt designs also included special versions celebrating the 100 days milestone in premature babies’ development and the 1kg club.”

Thursday, March 2, 2017

A Gentle Reminder That Jesus Was A Brown Middle Eastern Refugee Who Would Not Have Voted For Trump

Jesus was a brown Middle Eastern refugee child of Jews (Islam didn’t exist yet, something I had to point out to a guy who said “well they weren’t Radical Islamists”) who was born in a stable because there was no room at the inn. We’re clear on that, right? That’s the origin story of our nation’s favorite superhero.

And then he grew up to offer free healthcare and protest against a colonial occupying power as well as its manipulative local patsies. We get that, right?

And he died, murdered by conservatives who preached the rule of a police state over compassionate humanity. You understand that’s what you learned in church, right? That’s what that story is about.

Jesus was a lot of things. He was not a conservative.

Many folks rightly point out that the Bible is an assembly of myths and fables and stories that cannot be proven true. It’s been edited over and over and over again by countless folks (read: men, mostly) and it’s been a political tool from the very start. But if you say, “Who cares about the Bible?” my response is, “Most folks in the US of A, actually.” Believers are a vast and diverse group. Many of them are progressive, liberal, or moderate. And when the GOP is run by charlatans who wield the name of Christ as a weapon, the Bible does matter. Very much.

Mind you, I’m not sure if Jesus would’ve voted at all. He probably would’ve been off somewhere with Doctors Without Borders, bringing medicine to the most vulnerable people in the world. (And you can donate to them here.) Or perhaps he would’ve been building homes for Syrian refugee children. Probably would’ve been doing something wonderful for poor children, is what I’m saying. Unlike Donald Trump, to whom the Lord would’ve likely had something to say about a camel going through the eye of a needle.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

A Letter To Hipster Jesus

I’m writing because I miss you. I used to write to you all the time. In my dozen or so journals from middle and high school — I used to address every entry to you. I miss the simple arrangement you and I had, and I miss the people who taught me to try and live the most crystallized version of your teachings. I know now how rare they were.

I moved to L.A. in early 2014, after living in New York City for 13 years. You might already know all of this, but just in case you’ve been busy, or have just simply refused to look down for fear you’ll see how we’ve trashed the place (do NOT look at Greenland rn)…here’s what’s been going on with me. When I moved to Los Angeles, I never anticipated that, in a place of perfect weather and easy access to a Target that isn’t post-apocalyptic, my life would feel so bleak. I’ve started to refer to that feeling as Lanely (LA Lonely). A few factors compounded to sink me into a depression. My TV show had been cancelled, though I wasn’t completely devastated by that news. I have grown accustomed to the frequent bashing the entertainment business delivers to your ego. You walk around knowing that the thing the industry just gave you can be taken away at any moment. Nevertheless, the cancellation still hurt, and it left me a little lost trying to figure out what to do next, and I sorely missed the work. I love to work. I have been a very busy person since I was 12 years old. Usually my stress comes from taking on too much work; now, I had no work, no deadlines, nowhere to be. It was just a blank calendar, a blank page, and a blank head.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Jesus and the Uber Driver

THE OTHER KIDS who attend my daughter’s public school live within two blocks of it, but our home is a mile away. Most days, we enjoy the walk. But this winter has made riders of us.

Nobody in this town owns a car. Many, like me, don’t even possess a license. When you have to go fast or far, and a subway won’t cut it, you lift your finger for a cab, or, lately, tap your screen for an uber. An uber has the edge when it’s 7:55 AM, and every cab on the street already has a passenger.

The school doors for fourth and fifth graders close at 8:20. If you arrive at 8:21, you need a late pass. Even in the worst weather. Even if the president is visiting, half the avenues are blocked, and the other half are under construction. Too many late passes in fourth grade, and your child won’t qualify for an appropriate middle school. Ridiculous? Undoubtedly, but this is New York.

It’s 7:55 AM and we haven’t brushed our teeth. But I have this winter uber commute down to a science. I pick a car that’s four minutes away, and conduct the toothbrushing race, shoe race, and jacket race that my daughter always wins, and that get her out the door in four minutes or less.