NASA Posters Promote Space Tourism

Exoplanet Travel Bureau
Exoplanet Travel Bureau

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab has released a beautiful set of space tourism posters, and you can download and print them for free! If you’ve ever wished you could have some colorful artwork that promotes exploration and space travel, this is what you need. My inner middle-school Space Camp nerd is giddy with excitement!

These posters feature exotic locations such as Mars, Europa, Kepler-16b, Jupiter, and Titan. They are reminiscent of the style of vintage national parks posters. The new designs are a continuation of NASA/JPL’s Exoplanet Travel Bureau series.

Check out the whole collection at the NASA JPL site. While you’re there, take a look at the other features of Exoplanet Travel Bureau. You can research potential travel destinations, calculate travel times, and create your own planet!

51 Pegasi b
51 Pegasi b Greetings From Your First Exoplanet
Kepler-186f
Kepler-186f Where the Grass is Always Redder on the Other Side
Kepler-16b
Kepler-16b Where Your Shadow Always Has Company
PSO J318.5-22
PSO J318.5-22 Where the Nightlife Never Ends!

Free Star Wars Games on Poki

Thanks to The Force Awakens, Star Wars fever is sweeping the universe, and since you can’t go to the theater every day, you might be interested in some other Star Wars diversions. To help fill the Star Wars void during your free time, take a look at the free Star Wars games available at Poki.com.

Poki has lots of browser-based games for a wide range of age groups. The Star Wars games feature LEGO and Phineas and Ferb characters, to name a few.

Take a few minutes and play some games. Train with Yoda, running through the swamps of Dagobah, or build your own droid in the Jawa Junkyard. Feel like thinking a bit? Try a puzzle game like Sith Assault.

But, wait! You’re not into Star Wars? (INCONCEIVABLE!) That’s okay, I guess. Try one of the Frozen, SpongeBob, Pokemon, or other LEGO games.

Whatever type of game you enjoy, you’ll find something you like at Poki. Just don’t forget to let the kids have a turn.

PS: Have you seen these adorable Star Wars illustrations?

Gamer Gift Idea: Kontrol Freek Accessories and Giveaway

Video gaming can be an expensive pastime, and buying consoles and games as gifts is pricey! With consoles over $300 each and new games over $60, you might be looking for a more affordable gift idea.

Kontrol Freek controller
My controller with KF thumbgrips and hand grips.

I’ve been given some very handy Kontrol Freek gaming accessories, and I love them! The thumbstick grips are textured and provide a great grip for running/sprinting and aiming. They come in a variety of colors and themes. So far, I am not a huge fan of the tall FPS (first-person shooter) sticks, because my hands are quite small, and my thumbs don’t stretch far enough to take advantage of the extra leverage. I need more practice to make the most of that style of grips.

However, I really love the look and feel of the low-profile and medium-rise tops. They don’t stretch over the stick grips like some cheaper toppers do. Instead, they clip onto the top of the existing sticks, and once they’re in place, they don’t slide around – even if your hands get a little bit sweaty.

Kontrol Freek thumbgrips
Kontrol Freek thumbgrips

The textured surface is great for keeping your thumbs in place, and helps prevent accidental slippage when you’re in a tight situation in-game. Of course, they can only help so much, and if you’re prone to gripping too tightly when you get excited, you will probably hit L3/R3 when you mean to turn or aim. That can result in you bringing your melee knife to a gunfight, and you’ll probably lose that battle. Or maybe I’m the only one who does that… haha.

Kontrol Freeks are available at plenty of stores, and thumbsticks start around $11 per pair. They’re available in a variety of styles and colors. There are thumbstick grips, controller wraps, and other accessories.

If you’re looking for a stocking stuffer or affordable gift for a gamer, these are a great idea! And if you’d like a chance to try some Kontrol Freeks for free, leave a comment here and/or share this post. I’ll draw a winner who will receive a freebie from Kontrol Freek just in time for the holidays! (US addresses only.)

Thanks for reading, Happy Thanksgiving, and good gaming!

Wuvo Spot helps you keep track of stuff

I was recently given a chance to test the new Wuvo Spot, which is a Bluetooth device that allows you to track and find things. My hilarious husband suggested I put it on my phone, which wouldn’t work very well, since you need the phone app to find the Spot. Anyway…

I decided to put the Spot in my briefcase. The setup was quick and easy. I downloaded the app, connected it to the Spot, and headed out to work.

Wuvo Spot tracker
Wuvo Spot tracker

The Wuvo Spot’s main selling points are low price and ease of use.

One Spot is $29.95, and you can buy 10 Spots for $99.95. If you need to keep track of lots of things, the bundle is definitely the way to go. You could put them on bags, wallets, keys, cars, kids, cats, dogs… Pretty much anything.

The Spot is quite easy to use, as well. Pairing and setup were quick and simple. If you’ve used another Bluetooth phone accessory, you’re already familiar with the pairing process. The app is easy to use, and you can set up preferences as to how far away you can get from your Spot before receiving an alert that it’s out of range.

wuvo spot on bag
Wuvo on a bag

If your Spot/item does get lost, you can find its last known location in the app. If somebody finds it, they can notify you online by entering the unique Spot code on the Wuvo web site. Since I haven’t lost my Spot yet, I don’t know how well the lost-and-found system works.

The Review

The only problem I had with my Wuvo Spot was that it devoured my iPhone battery. After just a few hours of use, my battery was down to 20%. I suspect this was due to the constant Bluetooth communication between the Spot and the phone, and the need to have location services enabled. I looked for a place to change the location settings so the feature was only enabled during use of the app, but it looked like the only choices were always/never. Perhaps Wuvo will change this in the future.

Wuvo Spot app
Wuvo Spot app

If I were tracking something extremely valuable, like a child at a theme park, I’d say the battery drain was definitely worth the inconvenience of having to recharge frequently. But for everyday tracking of my bag, which is usually right beside me, it’s a little annoying having my phone die before the workday is done.

The Verdict

If you want to track something very valuable, the Wuvo Spot is affordable and easy to use. You will sacrifice some battery life, but depending on what you are tracking, that might be worth it.

For more information about the Wuvo Spot, check out www.wuvo.com.

Thank you to Wuvo for giving me a free Spot to try!

Five Cute Star Wars Fan Art Panels

I’m getting quite excited about the upcoming premier of STAR WARS: EPISODE VII THE FORCE AWAKENS. From the video clips, news releases, production photos, and general buzz, it sounds like it will be amazing! The movie will be in US theaters December 18, 2015.

Until then, I’m reading all about it, and looking for other Star Wars related stuff to share. Here are some unofficial, sometimes non-traditional/non-canon pieces of Star Wars fan art that I want to feature.

These belong to the artists who created them, and they are simply adorable. Click to view larger images, and enjoy!


Star Wars – Smile by Renny08 on DeviantArt


Chibi Ordo for JadeRaven93 by Evolvana on DeviantArt


Cute Star Wars Sketches by Casemanartist on DeviantArt


more Star Wars fanart by oomizuao on DeviantArt


Kawaii Star Wars by kepalakardus on DeviantArt

MacroBars are better than kale!

Earlier this summer, I was talked into buying and trying a raspberry-chocolate kale bar from the local grocery store’s “natural” section. It was NOT delicious. I’d sum up the flavor and texture as dirty grass. After that experience, I was somewhat less excited about trying a new nutrition bar, but I took a chance on MacroBars, and here is my report.

I received a box full of mini MacroBars, and at first, I thought there was no way I’d ever eat that many bars — I was expecting them to be yucky. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Like all of the MacroBars, the minis are USDA organic, non-GMO project verified, kosher, gluten free and vegan certified. AND, they taste delicious!

Macrobars
MacroBars

My favorite flavor was the peanut butter and chocolate (surprise, surprise), but I honestly thought all of the bars were tasty. They had a nice chewy texture, weren’t too grainy, and there wasn’t a grassy or dirt-flavored bite among them.

The minis were perfect mid-morning office snacks for me. They provided a nice bit of sweetness, and the nutty ones even gave me enough protein to help keep me from feeling hungry before lunch.

Macrobars
MacroBars

I had planned to take a few more photos of the bars, but I ate them. 🙂

GoMacro is available online, and if you use coupon code BLOGGER, you will get 40% off your first order. If you’re looking for a nutritious snack to take to work or to send to school with the kids this fall, take a look at MacroBars. I recommend them!

About GoMacro
About GoMacro

Check out the links below to learn more about the family-owned company and their full line of products.

Shop: https://gomacro.com/shop/ (remember to use code BLOGGER for a discount!)
Twitter: https://twitter.com/gomacro/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gomacro
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/gomacro/
Instagram: https://instagram.com/gomacro/

Many thanks to GoMacro for providing me the samples!

I Hate Auto-Flushing Toilets

I don’t think I’d ever used a public toilet at Wal-Mart until today. Generally, I avoid using public restrooms anywhere, but sometimes, you just have to go.

So, I parked my cart and went into the ladies’ room at my local Wal-Mart. Imagine my surprise when I discovered the new bidet! I’ve never used a bidet before, but I’ve heard they are something that rich people sometimes have installed in their home bathrooms. They are toilets that spray water on your butt, for an extra-clean bottom, right?

You’re probably thinking Wal-Mart is an unlikely place for a bidet toilet. So was I!

Guess what — it wasn’t a bidet! It was just a stupid toilet with an auto-flush feature.

auto flush toilet
Beware of the auto-flush!

I suppose auto-flush toilets are meant to keep people’s hands clean, by eliminating the need to press a flush lever manually. I presume the intended function of the auto-flush toilet would be something like this:

1. When the sensor indicates a person is seated, the toilet would not flush.
2. When the sensor detects the person has vacated the seat, it executes the hands-free flush.

However, that is not what happened to me today.

First of all, I don’t like to sit down on unfamliar toilets. The paper toilet seat cover dispenser was empty, so I fashioned my own by layering strips of toilet paper over the seat, and assumed the oh-so-graceful hover-squat. Most women who share my fear of foreign toilets are familiar with this position. Done improperly, it can result in a seat-sprinkling spray, so it requires mental concentration, a keen sense of balance, and strong thigh muscles.

What you DON’T want to happen when you’re trying to hover-squat over a dirty Wal-Mart toilet? AUTO-FLUSH.

So there I was, mid-squat, when the toilet started to rumble. Then, the water beneath me started to swirl. Uh-oh.

As the vortex of the rogue flush reached full pressure and velocity, I could feel my backside being sprayed and showered with cold, wet droplets, and a disgusting mist from the bowl. Toilet water and the leftover microscopic nasty bits of who knows how many strangers’ deposits, now clinging to my bare skin. Oh. My.

What would you have done? Of course, I started to stand up and wipe myself off. But you know what happens when you stand up from an auto-flushing toilet? It FLUSHES AGAIN.

Seriously?!

So I decided it might be safer to sit down again, because that’s how you’re supposed to tell the toilet that it shouldn’t flush yet, right? So I dried off the seat, which had also been fairly thoroughly spritzed by the flushing, laid down another layer of clean paper, and tried sitting down.

Too late! During the seat-preparation phase of my toilet transaction, the toilet must have thought I was seated, and when I turned around to actually sit, it went into geyser mode again.

Fountain Geyser in Yellowstone National Park
Fountain Geyser in Yellowstone National Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dammit! By that time, I was so frustrated and disgusted, I gave up.

I dried myself off, pulled up my pants, and went out to wash up. As soon as I got home, I threw all of my clothes into the laundry and took a shower. I hope I don’t catch death from the triple toilet unintended bidet-spray. Be careful out there, people!