The Ultimate Game-day Gear … for Tailgating

It’s football season, and you know what that means. You should be in game shape … for the All-tailgating Team! While steroid nation is knocking the snot out of itself inside the stadium, real men are bulking up their party muscles in the parking lot. But like the pros on the field, the bros behind the wheels need the right equipment to score the biggest compliments on their hungry man’s football feast. So here’s your season ticket to the all-star gear that will be a big hit with your boys.



The RoadTrip Party Grill
You’ll keep your food -- and your crew -- fired up in the most adverse game conditions with this compact)

Instant Canopy
Unless you’re a UCLA or Honolulu U fan, it’s best to be ready for the bad weather. So put a lid on cursing the sleet and snow with this portable protection against the elements. Are you a stats guy? This 12-foot by 12-foot canopy sets up in less than three minutes, giving you 9 feet of clearance and 144 square feet of cover. It also travels well, since you can fold it up and pull it around in a wheeled carry bag -- just like the one your mom uses!
Price:
$189.99

Collapsible Table
Now that you’ve got something to sear your meat and a shelter to devour it in, you’ll need a surface on which to serve it up. Say hello to the Micro Table! It’ll be a much more polite conversation than the screaming matches you usually have with those bulky oversized folding tables. This 15-inch by 11-inch table surface with expandable 4-inch to 6-inch legs (perfect mouth-level entry point if you’re strafing the food from a lawn chair) is both flame- and heat-resistant, plus it folds up faster than Michele Bachmann in a serious debate.
Price:
$32.95

Outdoor Heater
Here’s a heater that’s so damn good they call it “Mister.” Yes, this Mr. Heater–brand portable heater is a cordless propane heat-blower that lets you bring hot air (not the kind that’s emanating from your mouth) to the parking lot. The 35,000-BTU-per-hour unit heats you and the boys up for approximately eight hours -- without a generator or extension cords to trip you up. The battery actually charges while it’s keeping your kishkas toasty!
Price: $159.99


Tailgator Gas-powered Blender
 Making blended drinks may not sound macho, but doing it with this gas-powered blender puts a locker room full of hair on your private parts. This baby whips up drinks wherever you can buy gas, and it does it in less than 15 seconds.
Price: $289.99


The Cruzin’ Cooler
Forget about lugging a heavy cooler all over the lot. This one brings you to the party. The invention of the century, this 500-watt electric scooter only weighs 74 pounds and can haul your up-to-250-pound tuchus around at 12 mph while holding 24 cans packed in 8 pounds of ice. It has disc brakes and aluminum construction, and it can be used for hauling meat. (Hauling vegetables is officially confined to beauty salon parking lots.)
Price:
$599


All-weather TV
If you’re really serious about tailgating, catch the pregame show on this 32-inch LCD outdoor TV, which is able to withstand temps from minus 24 F to 122 F. (You, of course, will succumb to frostbite or heat stroke, but the show will go on!) The all-weather aluminum enclosure keeps this baby safe from snow, wind and rain. But be warned: It will short out from repeated exposure to Star Jones.
Price:
$3,295


Photo: @iStockphoto.com/sjlocke

The Top 5 Movie Phones

Got the latest music phone? That’s so 1998. If you’re keeping up with the ever-increasing multimedia processing power of cell phones, yours should be streaming movies by now. But if you’re watching your favorite flicks on a tiny touch screen … sorry, dude, you’ve fallen behind again. The big trend in mobile phones now is size: screen size, that is. The perfect movie phone is still a work in progress, as you’ll see in our reviews, but here are our top five picks of the big-screen babies currently -- or soon to be -- on the market.


LG Thrill 4G
The 4.3-inch, 800-by-480-pixel screen on this one is a good start. But what makes the Thrill, well, thrilling, is that it provides 3-D visuals by overlaying a “parallax barrier” on the screen -- in other words, you don’t have to wear wonky donky glasses. In addition to exclusively integrating YouTube 3-D, the Thrill can capture high-def movies in 3-D, and the dual-core 1GHz processor means 3-D games don’t get choppy or laggy. There is a catch, though: The screen design needs your head to stay in its sweet spot for the 3-D effect to work. In other words, forget catching the latest Harry Potter on a jolty road trip.
LG.com

HTC TITAN
HTC phones were already pretty hot before the TITAN came along. But with a 4.7-inch and 800- by 480-pixel screen, the aptly named TITAN takes the crown. It’s a bit of a lump in the pocket, sure, but nowhere near the oversized Dell Streak or Samsung Galaxy Tab. And on top of great visual real estate, it offers an 8MP camera, high-def video recording (at 720p) and the new Windows Mobile 7.5 OS, all backed by a speedy 1.5GHz chip. The downside? Windows Mobile is still lagging way behind Android and iOS for apps. For movies, though, this one’s a blockbuster.
HTC.com

 

Samsung Galaxy Tab
Straddling the divide between the phone and the tablet is the Samsung Galaxy Tab. The 7.4-inch, 1024- by 600-pixel screen means there’s a huge and bright high-resolution display for Web surfing, movie watching and other multimedia munching. But don’t try making a call on it unless you’re going for laughs; it’s strictly for use with a hands-free headset or inline mic/earbuds. While it would be a tight squeeze to fit this device into your jeans pocket, it’s full of features, which include loads of movie codex support (including DivX and Xvid) and great n-level Wi-Fi as well as mobile data options.
Samsung.com

 

Samsung Galaxy S II
With a 4.5-inch screen and 800 by 480 pixels, there’s not quite as much resolution on this one as there is on the iPhone 4 (see below), but the Galaxy S II has pretty much dominated sales of smartphones in Europe and the Far East. That’s because it hits the perfect balance of features (8MP camera, 1080p HD recording, 3G/4G and Wi-Fi, etc.) in a long-lasting, beautifully compact, well-designed Android package. It certainly isn’t the ultimate movie phone, if you must munch popcorn on the subway. But it’s probably the current frontrunner for the title of “ultimate do-it-all device.”
Samsung.com

 

Apple iPhone 4
The iPhone remains one of the best all-around smartphones in the business. Though its screen, at 3.5 inches, is not the largest, its bright, clear Retina display is the best on the market, boasting an 800:1 contrast ratio and a 960- by 640-pixel resolution. So it’s pretty damn great at playing movies. But it’s also great for all the other stuff too, because the iTunes Store remains the most stuffed for justifiably popular apps and games. Of course the wireless elephant in the room is the iPhone 5. While the launch has been long-rumored, current projections are that it’ll land its big hoofs sometime in October. Buy an iPhone 4 before then and you may be obsolete soon after.
Apple.com

The 10 Worst Mother’s Day Gifts Ever

It’s Mother’s Day, that time of year when you let Mom know how much you appreciate everything she’s done for you. But sometimes those expressions of love get lost in translation, like when you somehow convince yourself one of the following gifts will result in smiles and hugs … and not the kind of blowback you haven’t seen since you flunked biology. If you’re looking to rub your maternal unit the wrong way this year, go ahead and wrap one of these babies up. But let’s face it: It’s gonna be tough telling the guys at the office you’ve been grounded.

  1. A Kitchen Appliance. This woman has spent years cramming food down your gob. A kitchen tool will seem less like a “Thank you” and more like a, “Hey, Ma! Can you whip me up another meatloaf?”
  2. Bathroom Accoutrements. The idea of brightening up the commode with a gold-plated toilet brush or beautiful new soap dish is all well and good, but she’s gonna look at it and think one thing: crap.
  3. Lingerie. Unless you have a special relationship with Mom that would bring prosecution in all 50 states, this creepy notion will bring the holiday to a screaming halt … and probably lead to your needing to register with local authorities.
  4. A Gift Certificate. “Dear Mom, I just couldn’t be bothered to put any effort into thinking about what you might want, so here’s this.”
  5. A Pet. Your mom is finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel of taking care of you. She’s thinking pedis and mah-jongg -- not starting from scratch raising a brand-new helpless creature.
  6. Fruit of the Month Club. Not exclusively a bad Mother’s Day gift. This is the kind of monumentally awful gift that can ruin any occasion.
  7. A Fancy Vacuum Cleaner. “It’s time for you to take life a little easier, Ma. Use this!” Well, that might be a functionally sound concept. But for a woman who just spent half her life cleaning up after you, this idea sucks.
  8. Lunch at Any Restaurant With Laminated Menus. While Hooters and IHOP are time-honored institutions, they won’t exactly scream “special occasion.” Any screaming you hear will likely be X-rated and directed at you if you choose to take her to one of these joints.
  9. Automotive Supplies. Nothing says I really am an unsentimental, self-involved son like a brand-new set of white walls!
  10. A Gym Membership. Your mother passes as many health clubs as you do every day. So if she hasn’t signed up for anything yet, she’s not looking for a reminder from you that she needs to get in shape. Stick with chocolates on her special day. You can tell her she’s fat tomorrow.

Are You a Tech Geek?

You’d rightly bristle at being called a nerd, but these days it’s practically chic to be labeled a geek. Take this quick quiz to see whether you can count yourself among the few, the proud who know their NVRAM from their H.264.

1) The first thing you do when you get up in the morning is:

a)

Pull on your bathrobe and head outside to grab the newspaper.

b)

Yank your smartphone from under your pillow and check your messages.

c)

Wake up your iPad and surf to Engadget to see what you missed since your last visit, which was at 2:30 a.m.

d)

Unclasp your sleep bracelet and launch an app to review how your slumber numbers stack up against the ones from the night before.

2) It’s the first weekend in months that you don’t have to go in to the office. You’re going to reward yourself with:

a)

A romantic getaway weekend -- just you and your girlfriend at a B&B so remote it doesn’t get cell service.

b)

A strenuous mountain hike that will let you put your new Magellan MobileMapper CX through its paces.


c)

Back-to-back watching of “Battlestar Galactica” seasons three and four, streamed straight to the TV from your 4 TB hard drive.

d)

Deep delving into the product links you grabbed by scanning QR codes up and down the aisles of this year’s C.E.S.


 

3) An abbreviation you use on a daily basis is:

a)

AOL

b)

ROFL

c)

COD MW3

c)

TRA (If you don’t know this one, you obviously don’t work for the U.S. DoD.)

4) The way you’re most likely to use the word “game” in a sentence:

a)

“I can’t believe there’s no game meat on this menu.”

b)

“Anyone game for a ride on my new jet ski?”

c)

“I finally figured out an untraceable way to game the cable company!”

d)

“Dude, Portal 2 is not just a game to me -- it’s my life.”

5) When it comes to cameras, your philosophy can best be described as:

a)

“Let’s keep Kodak in business! Digital is for sissies.”

b)

“Why should I buy a camera when I’ve already got one on my phone?”

c)

“I don’t care what the experts say. I love me megaloads of megapixels.”

d)

“My life before buying a light field camera is just one big blur.”

6) The TV personality with whom you most identify is:

a)

The washboard-ab’d Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino of “Jersey Shore.”

b)

Walden Schmidt, the Internet billionaire played by Ashton Kutcher on “Two and a Half Men.”

c)

Stan Smith, the “American Dad” bodacious CIA operative.

d)

Adam Savage, the bespectacled special-effects designer who co-hosts

MythBusters” as well as the new science- and engineering-themed game show “Unchained Reaction.

7) If you could meet any historical figure, it would be:

a)

Ned Ludd, the rebellious 18th century English youth whose name was adopted by that era’s Luddite movement.

b)

Benjamin Franklin, founding father, author, diplomat and inventor.

c)

Alan Turing, World War II–era scientist and creator of the Turing machine.

d)

Watson, the annoyingly smart computer that won “Jeopardy!” last year.


8) You’re all ready for the Olympics this summer, thanks to:

a)

Friends who’ve offered you their place just off Leicester Square -- and front-row tickets to the opening ceremonies, diving competition and decathlon.

b)

The new flat-screen they’ve just put in at your fave neighborhood haunt, the Regal Beagle.

c)

A satellite dish on your roof, which pulls in 880 high-definition sports channels -- providing there’s no reception interference from a heavy rainstorm.

d)

Your 55-inch 3-D television and a box of active-shutter glasses. Soon, you and your two best buds -- whom you met while working at the Apple store’s Genius Bar -- will be watching the London games in three friggin’ dimensions.


SCORING

Calculate your answers according to the values assigned to each:

a = 1 point

b = 2 points

c = 3 points

d = 4 points

If you scored a total of …

8 to 12:

Are you serious? Not even a pocket protector and a ham radio kit could turn you geek.

13 to 19:

You’ve got some tech tendencies, but you need to make some changes before you can geek out with the best of them.

20 to 26:

Way to go! You’re an up-and-coming geek. Very few people make it this far.

27 to 32:

Congratulations! You may not get all the ladies, but you are a true Jedi Master in the world of tech geeks.

Photo: @iStockphoto.com/oliverwolfson

5 Fastest Sleds to Make You King of the Hill

Are you sick of winter? Then think back to when you were a kid. The most fun you ever had was shredding through the snow on your Flexible Flyer, right? Well, we have news for you. Sledding -- the national pastime of prepubescents everywhere -- is just as much fun for postpubescents. Face it: Your life is going downhill anyway, so you might as well enjoy the ride!

One of the cool things about not being a little kid anymore is you can afford to buy your own sled. These are our top five picks of the sleds and toboggans on the market today. These babies fly, so to give you a fighting chance of getting to the bottom of the hill in one piece, we also included a couple of pieces of safety equipment.

THE SLEDS:

Flexible Flyer PT Blaster


That’s right: The brand of your youth is using adult technology to throw you off a cliff at breakneck speeds. (We said it was fun -- not necessarily safe.) With a three-ski snowmobile design, this sled shreds like no other. It comes with a spring-loaded break system and handlebar steering for improved control and handling. It’s 45 inches long, 18 inches high and 20 inches wide, so it can handle the big butt of an old Sasquatch like you.

Price: $77



Buy It Here



Avalanche Snow Disc

 


For the sledding “fun”-damentalists. The old garbage can lid blueprint has been upgraded with lightweight plastic to reduce friction and increase speed. Not exactly NASA-level technology, but this baby takes off down a hill like a flying saucer. Admittedly, it doesn’t quite handle like the Space Shuttle Columbia. Once you’ve been launched, the piloting is out of your hands and you start spinning like Kim Kardashian’s press agent, heading any which way the Avalanche takes you. But you do it fast, and that’s the fun!

Price: $12



Buy It Here

 

Mad River Rocket Killer B Sled


If sledding brings you to your knees, then this is the one for you. To ride it, you place your knees in the foam pads, buckle in your thighs and steer with your hands. (Not for the text-messaging nuts in the crowd.) The black shell, constructed from recycled plastic, is extremely sturdy and able to handle difficult terrain. Give yourself time to learn how to handle this mother so it doesn’t handle you.

Price: $160



Buy It Here



American Traders Deluxe 8-foot Toboggan


This 8-foot-long retro rocket -- made of traditional thin wooden planks with thicker side slats for extra strength and speed -- brings back warm memories of youthful mass casualties. Weighing in at 28 pounds and measuring 18 inches wide, it meets U.S. National Toboggan Championship standards.

Price: $299



Buy It Here


Airboard Softboard Inflatable Sled


This arrowhead-shaped inflatable raft has hard plastic ridges that help keep you from killing yourself while you break speed records in the snow. This is, without a doubt, the fastest ride on the ridge: It can hit 80 miles an hour! At that speed, you’d better make sure not to hit anything else. The good news is that the plastic runners provide good handling with a simple shift of your body weight. (You ride lying head-first like on an old Flexible Flyer.) Developed in the Swiss Alps, this snow raft inflates in less than three minutes with a hand pump and delivers the ride of a lifetime.

Price: $140



Buy It Here



THE SAFETY GEAR:

 

Shred Ready Forty 4 Helmet


Every year, more than 20,000 sledders hit the emergency room after hitting the slopes. If you don’t want to join them, wear a helmet. This one uses in-mold expanded polystyrene (EPS), an energy-absorbing foam. It also has an easy-to-use one-handed buckle, along with a removable and washable liner and ear pads. Don’t abuse your head; use it and buy this hard hat.

Price: $80



Buy It Here

 

Ice Bird Snow Goggles


You can’t sled if you can’t see, so keep the wind and snow out of your eyes with these double lenses with anti-fog coating. They’re anti-scratch and break-resistant with 12 layers of protective coating that provide both protection and better visibility. Plus, the comfortable form-fitting foam padding on the inside will keep your face from taking on a permanent raccoon outline -- a nice feature if any cute snow bunnies happen to be on the hill.

Price: $45



Buy It Here