NWZ-W252 Walkman

NWZ-W252 Walkman

When I run, I like to listen to songs that get me pumped up. I can be dead tired, but if I hear one of my power songs, it makes getting through a tough run that much easier.

I generally use my iPod Shuffle for exercise, but was interested enough to try Sony’s new portable MP3 player NWZ-W252 because it’s wireless, lightweight….. and well because Sony gave me one to try out (what’s better than that).

The Good

It’s wireless. I can’t underscore how nice it is not to have to fiddle with wires. It’s just easier. No more running the wires under your shirt or untangling sweaty ear buds.

It’s lightweight. Wearing the NWZ-W252 is very easy. After a while I didn’t even notice I had them on. Continue reading »

Blank-Label Shirt Review

February 25, 2010 | | 8 Comments 

blank-label-shirt-reviewIn December, the good folks over at Blank Label invited me to try one of their custom men’s dress shirts.

Blank Label is a Boston-based startup that allows its customers to create their own custom dress shirts online.

I went ahead and used their online custom shirt creator and waited for my shirt in the mail. Now that I’ve worn the shirt a couple times now, here are my thoughts.

Overall, I’d say Blank-Label is really on to something here. They’ve created a nicely designed site which allows any Joe Shmo like me to easily create a custom dress shirt online. And I’ve got to hand it to them, the shirt fits almost perfect. It fits exactly the same if not better than the shirt I bought at Cafe Coton off the rack and had taken in at the local tailor. The difference though was that with Blank Label, I never left my apartment. Continue reading »

Did you know?

74% of girls agree that hair is one of the first things they notice about a guy.”

National Survey of 2,500 girls 18-24 conducted by StrategyOne June and July 2008.

AXE, the popular grooming line which you’ve come to know now has a line of AXE Hair care products aimed at giving you “girl-approved hair.” The line includes 5 new shampoos, a conditioner, and styling products that are designed to take your hair care to the next level.

Since we always like to give you the heads up on all things men, here’s the lowdown. Continue reading »

If you’re like most guys, you’ve got more than a dozen long sleeve button down shirts hanging in your closet. They’re all the usual suspects…JCrew, Banana Republic, Ralph Lauren, Guess, and hell maybe even thrown in a few Van Heusen outlet shirt specials you got a few birthdays ago.  Either way, we’ve all got our fair share of these button down sportshirts fighting for playing time.  And why not, they’re essential to every man’s wardrobe.

The problem I find is that I go through these shirts too quickly. When I first buy them, I think I’ve found my new favorite shirt, but after a few washes they just ain’t the same. So you cut their playing time and eventually relegate them to the end of your proverbial bench.

Enter Dunning Sportswear.  The Dunning Performance Sportshirt ($125) may look like a traditional shirt with a classic fit, but after deeper inspection, the threads reveal a non-traditional Coolmax poly-cotton blend which wicks away moisture . Continue reading »

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last couple years, you know that the American auto industry has seen better days. This is why I was pleasantly surprised to get an email from the venerable Ford Motor Company asking us to take a look at their 2009 Lincoln MKS.

I said yes to the test drive not because I happen to love American cars (I drive an older Acura CL myself), but because I wanted to see firsthand what type of car the American auto industry has to offer in these troubled times.

With the Lincoln MKS, Ford is competing directly with the likes of the Lexus GS350, Infiniti M35 and Cadillac STS among others. And out here in the Bay Area, where German and Japanese cars dominate the mid-luxury sedan space, it was refreshing to be driving something different.

After the car was dropped off, I asked a couple people in the office to come check out the MKS.  Both were impressed with the stance of the car. “It looks mean. Look at that grill, it’s a BEAST”, said one of them. The other said, “Wow, it’s not what I expected.” Read into those comments all you want, but I was equally impressed when I first saw the MKS.

When I think of a Lincoln, a quiet, tuxedo black Towncar with a comfy cloud-like ride comes to mind. These have become the defacto standard non-taxi work horses I see all around downtown San Francisco.
With the MKS, it’s a huge departure from what I have come to think about Lincoln. The lines and overall fit and finish of the MKS are very impressive.

The interior looks and feels like what I would expect for a $40k+ car. It doesn’t shout out luxury, but the leather and wood trim accents are very nice. On the center console, the knobs and dials were a tad too small. I did like that the center arm rest telescoped and extended out some (nice touch). I also liked how the seat belt height could be adjusted easily and was also hidden at the same time.  The interior is not as spacious as I would have guessed looking at the car from the outside, but in no way was it small. I had a friend who is 6’2″ sit in the back and he had no problems with the amount of head or leg room either. The gauges on the dash board looked a little budget. In particular, I didn’t like the fact that every MPH was displayed i.e. 40MPH, 50MPH, 60MPH (see image).  It felt a little cluttered and made it harder to read my actual speed.

Where I think the MKS really shines is in it’s technology enhancements. Rear view camera, Microsoft SYNC, keyless entry, push-button start, steering wheel controls, navigation, voice control and THX sound system were just some of the nice things I really enjoyed. Anyone looking for a car with these technology enhancements will not be disappointed. If you’ve ever seen the movie Flight of the Navigator, the MKS felt similar in terms of all the technology crammed into this car. While some of the voice commands took a little while to execute, the ease of use and increased functionality more than made up for it.

Another thing about the MKS that really stood out was the sheer size of the trunk.  It was Grand Canyon like. Holy shite, was it huge. You could fit at least a couple golf bags and at least a weeks worth of groceries in there. The only down side though was the lip or entrance into trunk felt a little tight, but you can’t have everything.

Once I got the car out on San Francisco roads, I was pleased. Although the MKS’s suspension feels a bit stiffer, it’s still similarly tuned to that of a Lexus over a BMW in terms of comfort. The steering is true, not overly sensitive and you get just the right amount of feedback to make driving it fun. There was noticeably more road noise in our test car, but that may be attributed to the stiffer suspension. Aside from that, the MKS handled very nicely. Whether on the street or on the freeway, the handling felt appropriate and the throttle responsive.

Overall, you can tell extra effort was put into making this car. Although I was skeptical in the beginning, I came away with a good impression of the Lincoln MKS. And in a way, it gives me hope that the American auto industry can turn it around. Now wouldn’t we all like that.

In the world of digital MP3 players, not many will argue the iPod as being the undisputed champion–and that’s why San Disk is trying a different approach with it’s new slotRadio Player ($99).

The slotRadio is different in that it comes with a card that is pre-loaded with 1,000 Billboard hits. Pause and take that in for a second and let me repeat. It comes pre-loaded with 1,000 songs. A little different huh? The downside is that someone chooses the music for you, but the upside is that you don’t have to download all that music in the first place (which for some is a huge pain). It’s very much like listening to Internet radio (without commercials), but with less customization.

If you tend to like popular Top 40′s type music, then for $99, the slotRadio player provides solid value. And if you had purchased all of the tracks individually on iTunes, that amounts to $1,000 of music.

Things we liked:

  • It’s a time saver since there is no need to download any music or subscribe to any music sites. You don’t even need a computer.
  • The pre-loaded music is actually pretty good. That is of course if you already like Billboard Top 40 music. You can get additional slotRadio cards pre-loaded with 1,000 more songs from many popular artists in specific genres including Rock, Country, Oldies and Hip Hop/R&B. The one we demo’d came with a mix card which had nice variety of artists and songs (albums go for $14.99 or additional 1,000 song cards are $49.99).
  • No frills and easy-to-use. Took it out of the box and began playing music right away.
  • Solid battery with 13 hours of playback.  We got about 12 hours 30 mins on the model we tested.
  • Comes with a FM radio (score!).


Things we didn’t like:

  • You can’t rewind songs.
  • Black and white display didn’t add much value, but at $99 even having a display is nice so we’re not complaining too much.
  • Because there is no internal memory, you can’t add songs from your PC, but you can get around that by loading the songs onto another microSD card.

The slotRadio is no iPod, but then again, it’s not trying to be. It makes a great gift for the busy person who doesn’t have time to download, doesn’t already have a large digital music library, but still wants a no-frills MP3 player to get their Taylor Swift or Foo Fighters on every once in a while. We were a bit skeptical at first with the pre-loaded music, but there’s just something about not having to fuss/manage with music files that makes this player a winner in our book.

You can buy the slotRadio directly from their website now and it will be in Radio Shacks nationwide soon.

In celebration of Canadian Club’s 150th anniversary late last year, they released a limited edition 30-year reserve Whisky ($200, only 3,000 bottles distributed). Since their Classic is already aged 12-years, you can only imagine what 30-years of aging will taste like.

Known to many as “CC”, Canadian Club is also the drink of choice of Mad Men character Donald Draper. As readers of this site know, I am a huge fan of the show Mad Men. So when I heard CC was releasing this reserve I really wanted to give it a whirl in the glass.

Having sampled the Canadian Club whisky, you can see the fruits of the 30-year aging process results in a nice luscious oak character with subtle hints of fruit and some cinnamon spice. The first few sips hit me right in the face, but after the initial turbulence it was very very smooth. The color was rich and antique and there was a velvety texture which complemented its warm finish to the last sip.

The bottle itself was presented in a stylish black satin-lined box with gold etching. And the bottle had a wax dipped cork which added a very impressive touch.

If you’re interested, be sure to check out more about Canadian Club’s history which actually started in the United States (go figure).

And for all of you out there who haven’t drank much whisky, here are some great tips from Canadian Club’s main whisky man Dan Tullio.

Continue reading »

Back in 2000, my good friend Cindy (name has been changed) had one too many cranberry vodkas at the bar and got extremely sick. She was so bad that I had to throw her over my shoulder and take her to the hospital. The nurse said she would be fine and just had too much to drink. She said my friend was just very dehydrated and all she needed was a large bottle of Gatorade (no joke).

Well, that same iconic sports drink Gatorade is rebranding itself.


For anyone who has ever played sports, you know that Gatorade has been the “Thirst Aid” quencher for that deep down body thirst for many many years.

This is why we were interested when early last month, we got an email from Gatorade letting us know about their new rebranding efforts.

No less than a week later, a large box of Gatorade was at our office. Anxious to see the new product, I pulled out a bottle and sampled. The flavors tasted exactly the same (good because that would have been a mistake to change that). Although the new versions have enhanced nutrients (Gatorade Rebrand Product Chart with Nutrition Enhancements), the biggest difference was the packaging.

The new Gatorade rebrand is all about the “G.” What is a “G?” Here’s what their new marketing materials say:

Gatorade® Thirst Quencher will put the letter G front and center along with the brand’s iconic bolt. For Gatorade, G represents the heart, hustle, and soul of athleticism and will become a badge of pride for anyone who sweats, no matter where they’re active.

“Just like any good athlete, Gatorade is taking it to the next level,” said Sarah Robb O’Hagan, chief marketing officer for Gatorade. “Whether you’re in it for the win, for the thrill or for better health, if your body is moving, Gatorade sees you as an athlete, and we’re inviting you into the brand.


During the Rose Bowl a few days ago (where USC trounced on a Florida school Penn State), a new Gatorade commercial featuring Lil Wayne (voice over) aired during the break. It didn’t show the new packaging or even a Gatorade drink for that matter, but what it did show was the new attitude and direction of this iconic sports drink.

The new Gatorade rebranding effort makes sense especially with the likes of Vitamin Water eating away at their market share. Where Vitamin Water has 50 Cent in their stable of celebrity endorsers (50 Cent Vitamin Water Commercial), Gatorade counters with Lil Wayne.

If any of you Gatorade brand managers read this, we’d just like to say nice move with using Lil Wayne (although Kanye would have been nice too, but maybe he wasn’t street enough for you).

New Gatorade Commercial – What is G? (voice over by Lil Wayne)

YouTube Preview Image

You can check out more Gatorade Commercials after the jump.

Continue reading »