Product Reviews – December 2009

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Boardpusher. Photo: Swainston

Custom Skateboard Graphic
A carefully placed sticker layout, designs cut into the grip, or a paint marker mural customizing my skate deck are essential steps to setting up a new board. Boardpusher has taken this concept to the next level with custom skateboard graphics. First, you choose the size of board you prefer. They have everything from 7 ¼” mini to 8 ¼” boards and five different long and old school shapes.  The next step is uploading your personal graphic. It can be anything you want in full color, it just needs to be saved as a .JPG. A small board graphic appears with your design on it and some tools to help you size and place it where you want.  After that, click finish, put in your info and the board is shipped directly to your house with your very own custom graphic. It pretty much costs the same as any other pro deck in the skate shop. My only skepticism was the board’s shape. It’s always a gamble ordering decks online, but when my 8 ¼” showed up in the mail I was pleasantly impressed with the shape. From its first session to its last this board flicked and slid with glory. I give it an 8.5 on the shredability scale. ­–Chris Swainston

Garden Watch Camera
Ever heard the saying “It’s about as much fun as watching grass grow?” This doesn’t apply to the Garden Watch Camera. The name implies watching your garden grow, but it’s far more versatile and fun to experiment with than that. Essentially, the Garden Watch Camera is a time lapse camera that turns on at specific time intervals and records an image with its 1.3 megapixel camera to a USB flash drive and then splices them all together into a single .AVI video file.  You can choose to capture once every minute up to every 24 hours. All you have to do is set it up and forget about it. The camera has a built-in darkness sensor that puts the camera to sleep at night to preserve battery power, and it’s weather resistant. I played around with some 24-hour scenes where I captured two rainstorms pour down then dry up. I also recorded a party from start to finish, a sunrise and a four-hour road trip from the passenger side window. The possibilities are limitless as to what you can capture. It’s really fun watching the changes that occur during a long period of time just fly by in a matter of minutes. –Chris Swainston

Mada Hair Products
Assorted Hair Products
Mada specializes in spray-bottle shampoos and conditioners. This might seem strange for some, but according to Mada’s creator Thad Grace, spraying on your shampoo and conditioner really makes a lot more sense. It results in less waste, is more accurate, it lasts longer and performs better. The Mada line comes in four systems––hydrating, protein, foundation and refine. My favorite product from the four of these lines was the Reset Shampoo, which will actually help your hair continue to respond to your favorite shampoos by eliminating extra residue. Other standout products are the Light Cream Pomade and the Protein Spray Conditioner with sunscreen. All of the products that I sampled also smelled great and left my hair feeling super smooth and healthy. You couldn’t really ask for more.  –Jeanette Moses

I am someone who uses earbuds all day at work, while running and while hiking. I probably average more than 30 hours of music every week just with earbuds. So naturally I’m going to need something more sturdy than normal. When I pulled these Zbuds out of the package, I knew immediately these would last me longer than normal buds. The wires are woven with sturdy, thin bootlace-like material that I don’t expect to start stripping after six months of use, like usual. Also included are six different sizes of rubber attachments for different sized ears. I opted for the smallest of the sizes because the openings of my auditory canals are small and supple. The buds are comfortable enough to last me an eight-hour workday, and the sound quality (for approximately $60) gives me no reason to complain. These are the best buds I’ve had yet. –Conor Dow

Snail Buckle with Cracked Ivory Belt
Sleepictures has taken the original illustrations of local artist Teresa Flowers and turned them into wearable accessories in the form of belts, buckles, tops and necklaces. As the company name implies, many of the images have a surreal and dreamlike quality to them. The buckle is made of pewter and the belt from leather, and both items feel like they have been built to last. This product was created with a real eye for detail, which shows even down to the packaging. My Sleepictures belt came in a classy metal tin with all the product sizes and specs written on the bottom. Expect to pay for these quality items though. Most belts typically run between $120-$175, which is probably more than most would be willing to spend on something to keep their pants from falling down. Visit the website or swing by Fresh to get instant gratification and a slightly cheaper price on this product. –Jeanette Moses

Lafe’s Natural BodyCare
Hemp Twist Stick
Deodorant usually smells way too fancy or fake and that is one of the reasons I choose not to use the stuff. The other reason is I like my pheromones to be uninhibited in their passage from my glands to whatever nose smells me. The all natural scents in the Twist Stick by Lafe’s kept me feeling fresh and clean while covering up my scent just the right amount, which is pretty good considering I pack a pretty solid aroma. The hemp oils, aloe vera and other essential oils used to make the stuff are high quality enough to make your hippie neighbor break into your house to use some of it on their stinky pits, so be careful. –Adam Dorobiala

Electro Joe
4 Port USB Cassette Hub
Ever need a few more USB plug-ins on your computer? Electro Joe thought of how to expand your plug space without being plain or ugly. It looks like a cassette tape from far away but up close you realize it actually has four USB ports available for you to use any which way you can imagine.  It even has rotating ribbon wheels to make it seem more like a working tape cassette. Having those few extra plugs is great when you are working on something from an external hard drive and still have to access another while your computer speakers and musical device are plugged in too. The best part is the fact that you can leave this on your desk and people will wonder what cassette you dug up from the D.I. bin before you break the news that you are now computer savvy. –Adam Dorobiala

Boardpusher. Photo: Swainston Sleepictures. Photo: Dorobiala Lafe's. Photo: Dorobiala