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25 April 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Spongebob’s Last Stand on Nickelodeon

Ok so I’m a big Spongebob fan, there’s no reason for me to be ashamed. I own seasons 1-3 on DVD and want to buy the rest but the prices jumped from about $20 per season to each season being sold as Part 1 and Part 2 for $20 ea! What a rip. I don’t buy the themed DVDs either, they are just a bunch of episodes put together with some sort of theme that’s supposed to tie them together, but if you have the whole season on DVD already it’s a waste. It’s just like a band putting out a “Greatest Hits” album, all they want is the $$$… and I’m sure they make tons.

Get Your Spongebob DVDs From Amazon HERE

My wife and I have a 3yr old and a 5yr old, and they both like SB almost as much as I do. =) They were excited to see SB’s Last Stand, and thankfully it was on Nick the other day so we could see it for free. The three of us sat nervously on the couch waiting for it to start… and then they asked for a drink so I had to go get them while the show began. Then the dog decided that would be a good time to go outside, so I had to take her out to do her business… and she wouldn’t go. Finally after sweet-talking her into peeing, I was able to rush back inside and watch SB’s Last Stand.

Unfortunately the episode was well, boring. The songs were below average for the show, the story wasn’t very well written, and nothing funny happened. After the episode ended, our 5yr old told me she thought it wasn’t very good without being lead into the question so you know it’s an honest opinion. I had to agree with her, I was disappointed as well.

So, no Spongebobs Last Stand for our household, but I’m still going to get each season on DVD. Now if only Nick would run every Spongebob ever made inorder, back to back non-stop, all day every day, then I would truly be happy as a clam. =)


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25 April 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Great Family Vacation Spot: Branson MO

We aren’t able to take big expensive vacations around here, so when we do get away we want to make it count. Our favorite vacations usually involve driving somewhere within reach of a one day drive. Our latest vacation was to Branson MO, it’s a pretty decent family vacation spot but I recommend you go off-season just like we did.

We drove from the Minneapolis MN area to Branson with our two young children; the drive was about 11hrs total with stops. It’s about 645 miles and pretty much straight south from here, so it’s easy to find. I had a new portable GPS to use, which was pretty dang cool. It’s a basic TomTom model and only $90 new, you can check one out here on Amazon:
TomTom ONE 130-S 3.5-Inch Portable GPS Navigator

Having a GPS sure made the trip smoother! No longer do my wife and I have to fight about missing turnoffs and I don’t have to wake her for help reading a map. We won’t take another road trip without it.

Ok, back to Branson! We stayed at a time-share with my wife’s parents so the accommodations were very nice. And being off-season, there was almost nobody around to make noise or bother us in any way. Honestly… this was one of the best parts about the whole trip!

We visited the Butterfly Palace and went on the Branson Ducks which the kids really enjoyed. I do recommend it if you get discounted admission in a package with something else like the Branson Ducks as we did. All these attractions are EXPENSIVE, so plan to spend and spend some time on figuring out what you really want to see.

The Butterfly Palace we visited for free on the second day because we went after 3pm (I think…) so re-admission the next day is free. It’s sort of a small place, out front of the building there is a rock wall (actually a couple trees) that the young kids (over 40lbs) can climb, inside there is a BIG gift shop, a crummy 3D movie you are supposed to watch, a small room with some lizards in fish tanks you can look at, a large and quite fun mirror-maze, and of course the butterfly room. The kids really liked the mirror maze and the butterflies, that was about it.

The butterfly room is interesting, but unfortunately a bit of a letdown for me. The large majority of the butterflies are high up on the walls so you can’t see them very well, and the butterflies MUST NOT be touched with human hands. The oils on our hands will remove the powder coating on their wings so that they can’t fly, and just having them sit on your hand will plug up their receptors on their feet so that they no longer can eat. You can’t touch them, but you can get plenty of closeup photos. Also make sure you look closely for the tiny little quail living amongst the plants, they are really cute.

The other major attraction we visited was the Branson Ducks, these are the amphibious vehicles that are based on old military vehicles from WWII. The Ducks take you on a tour of the area, and if you have a good driver with a good ‘routine’, it will be entertaining enough for all. Of course the kids loved the noisemakers they give you to blow on to sound like ducks, and the whole going in the water thing too. I’m glad we did it, but I’d rather not pay to do it again any time soon.

We were in Branson for about 1 week and overall it was a quality trip. We made the 11hr drive back home straight through, arriving home at about 3:30 am. The family all slept while I drove… and drove… and drove. And I’m sure our next trip will be somewhere just as interesting and probably just as far. Thankfully I’ll have my GPS with me.


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05 April 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Toothy is on vacation

Hi folks, just a brief note to let you know that I am on a family vacation this week.

We are still a small shop, so I answer all the phonecalls myself during the day. While on vacation please email us at, I won’t be available to answer calls, sorry.

My top-notch staff of 2 will still be performing repairs and shipping orders while I am away, but we may end  up a little behind this week so please allow me to apologize in advance if there are any delays with your order.

Thank you for your patronage!

Thomas “Toothy” Drayton

PS. ‘darntoothysam’ is an anagram for Thomas Drayton if you didn’t already know. =)


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18 January 2010 ~ 3 Comments

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W290 Review

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W290 is a point-and-shoot digital camera that is very intelligent and sensible. What’s great about this digital camera is the picture and camera quality, the large LCD screen, the abundance of features and the ease of use. The camera even comes with 11MB of storage already built in. This camera is great for both beginners and those who take photography seriously.

If you’re looking for a compact camera with all of those extra nifty features that you’d usually find on an expensive and bulky SLR, than you will enjoy the many highlights that the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W290 has to offer.


  • Rechargeable battery
  • Battery charger
  • Wrist strap
  • A/V cable
  • USB cable
  • CD-ROM for set up
  • Manual

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W290 is very sleek and compact, weighing 1.1 pounds and measuring 6.7″ x 2.2″ x 7.4″ (about the size of a standard deck of cards), which makes it great for fitting in a small purse or pocket. Since the camera is fairly heavy, you won’t need to worry about losing it. You’ll always feel it in your pocket or secured on your wrist. You can purchase this camera in four different colors: black, silver, dark blue and bronze.

The front of the camera has little ridges that, if you don’t keep clean, will trap dirt and dust over time. You will also notice your fingerprints on the front, especially if you own the silver colored Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W290.

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W290 performs fairly well compared to similar point-and-shoot cameras. Start up time is a little more than one second long, so if you need to capture a moment quickly, this camera won’t let you down.

When taking pictures, expect to wait around .4 seconds from the time you press the shutter until the time the image loads on the screen. Expect to wait .7 seconds in poor lighting conditions and 2.3 seconds without the flash on in poor lighting conditions.

Image exposure and color are excellent, despite the occasional blurry shot due to slow shutter speed and poor lighting conditions.


  • 3″ LCD display: View your images and video on the crisp 3″ LCD display screen. Since there is no viewfinder, the 3″ display is great for seeing how your pictures will turn out.
  • 12.1-megapixel Image Sensor: With 12.1 megapixels, you can capture quality photographs with great detail. You can also create high quality 13×19-inch prints.
  • 5x Optical Zoom: Zoom in really close to far away objects.
  • Wide angle lens: The wide angle lens allows you to see more of your image.
  • Face detection: The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W290 is equipped with face detection. The camera will automatically detect up to eight faces per image and reduce blur and control lighting. This technology also helps reduce red-eye. Also featured on the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W290 is anti-blink, where the camera takes two images and uses the one that shows the focus’ eyes open.
  • Intelligent Auto Mode: This camera has a setting that automatically detect faces, scenes and lighting conditions and accordingly edits the brightness and quality of the image.
  • Smile technology: Automatically detect and capture smiles
  • HD video: Record videos in 720p high definition.
  • Convenient modes: Select up to 13 different modes, from landscape to underwater, for better image quality.
  • Due to the slow shutter speed, indoor pictures tend to come out dark and blurry.
  • Camera users are unable to zoom in or out during video capture.
  • There is a rather long gap of time between capturing images and viewing them.
  • People with large or unsteady hands may have a problem using the menu buttons, as they are small and close together.

You can buy the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W290 for $179.95. Overall, this point-and-shoot digital camera is high quality and offers a lot of advanced features that you won’t find on competitive cameras. If you can work around the occasionally poor indoor quality and the closely-spaced menu buttons, you’ll enjoy the camera’s design, wide angle lens and various technologies and modes.

- via


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