Monday, October 24, 2016

Catch Season 2 of HBO's Ballers on Digital HD

 **A Geek Dady received the featured product for FREE to review**
With afternoon sky's turning grey, leaves falling off the trees, and temperatures beginning to hover in the 40s & 50s here in Michigan, watching Season 2 of HBO's dramatic comedy BALLERS was a welcome escape.  The series revolves around a retired NFL player Spencer Strasmore, played by former WWE wrestler and collegiate football athlete Dwayne Johnson, who now instead of competing on the football field is hustling to become a super star financial manager in sun-soaked Miami.  Trendy people, hot cars, and cool locations provide a great backdrop to let viewers escape into the world of professional athletes living a life that many of us can only dream of in the Miami Beach community.  As you delve into this television series' episodes though it is apparent that this show is more than just eye candy to amusingly pass time watching.  Ballers is filled with laughable moments that are sure to entertain but also touches on some hard hitting realities that illustrate how the life of a professional athlete isn't always as bright and cheery as those of us who aren't insiders of the sports industry might think it to be.

In Season 1 that debuted in 2015, Strasmore reinvented himself from a star athlete to a flashy financial manager with drama and hilarity ensuing as he mentors current and former players through the daily grind of the business of football.  Dwayne Johnson's charisma that has made him one of Hollywood's current super stars shines through in his performance and is complimented by co-stars John David Washington (Denzel's son), Omar Miller, Dule Hill, and Rob Corddry.  Johnson's character fought his way to be a top player at his firm in Season 1 so what is next?  Strasmore is going to either soar even higher in his professional endeavors or he is going to come crashing to the ground.  You have to have drama in a drama, even if it is a comedic one, after all.

So in Season 2, we find Spencer Strasmore tackling the area's most powerful agent Andre Allen, played by Andy Garcia, to gain a higher profile in the world of sports management.  Of course Allen isn't going to just step aside to be second fiddle to his new competitor.  In fact, the sleazy veteran agent is now determined to ruin Strasmore to set an example that no one else should consider challenging him. Oh by the way did I mention that Allen was Strasmore's financial manager during his football playing days.  For sure there is some real tension there! Will Spencer Strasmore find glory or despair in his bid to be a dominate player in the world of the rich and famous?  You'll have to tune into Season 2 of HBO's Ballers to find out.

While this is going on Ricky Jerret (John David Washington) is struggling to make a huge decision -- which team offer will this free agent accept in what is probably his last deal as a player.  Dwayne Johnson gets a lot of credit for his charisma bolstering the show but Washington's performance as an aging player in his 30s with a big ego masking his insecurities about a fading career provides that stand out performance that makes this series a must watch show.  I also found the storyline for Charles Greane (Omar Miller) a great aspect of the show as he deals with the combined challenges of being a stay-at-home dad as well as a professional athlete who was forced to retire before he felt his career should be over.  Miller has scenes that will have you laughing and crying as his situation plays out dealing with how he copes with not being famous but still having to be an inspiration as a father instead of a pro athlete now.

I just finished watching all ten episodes and really enjoyed them. If you missed Season 2 of BALLERS when it was broadcast over the summer, you can catch up on it now.  HBO's Ballers is now available on Digital HD as of Monday, October 24, 2016.  The complete season download includes all ten Season 2 episodes, plus Inside the Episodes features at select retailers that take viewers behind the scenes of the show.  With Digital HD you can stream the show's episodes to your television, view them on a computer, or watch from a mobile device whenever is convenient for you which, as a busy professional and parent myself, I really appreciate.

For more information about the television series, please visit

Metro Detroit LEGO Store Celebrates 20th Anniversary With A Spectacular Star Wars Exhibit

To celebrate its 20th Anniversary at the Somerset Collection, an upscale mall located in the Detroit suburb of Troy, THE LEGO STORE is hosting a spectacular Star Wars event.  LEGO Master Builders from the toy company's corporate headquarters flew into town for a very special project -- to create a massive sculpture of the Millennium Falcon.  This LEGO brick sculpture is on display in the mall's main atrium along with some gigantic TIE Fighters as well.

In addition to taking in the super-sized LEGO models on display, you can also build a FREE miniature TIE Fighter to take home with you as a souvenir of your visit to this spectacular exhibit.  Stop by the Somerset Collection during normal mall hours until October 30th to view the Millennium Falcon, check out displays of Star Wars LEGO toys, and build your own miniature LEGO TIE Fighter.  Plus October 26-29 there will be a FREE laser light show taking place at the exhibit with shows at 8:00 and 8:30 pm each night.

My kids and I really enjoyed stopping by to take in the exhibit.  If you are in the area, I'd encourage you to swing by and check it out for yourself.  Oh yeah, and one other perk...parents get a FREE drink from the Starbucks located next to the exhibit while you are there.  The Force is indeed with us moms and dads at this LEGO Star Wars event.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Commissioning Ceremony & Tour of the USS DETROIT

My son and I had the opportunity to attend the Commissioning Ceremony for the U.S. Navy's newest ship, the USS DETROIT, at an event on Saturday, October 22, 2016 that featured the vessel docked along the riverfront of its namesake city.  It is not very often that a naval vessel is commissioned at a city when it is named after one so this was a special moment.  Coming from a family filled with Annapolis grads and Navy veterans that has roots to Detroit dating back to the city's earliest French settlers it really was a memorable experience to be a part of.  After the official commissioning ceremony which included presentations by public officials and Naval officers along with a gun salute, raising of the Colors over the ship, and the playing of Anchors Away concluded, we had a chance to tour the ship.

The USS DETROIT is meant to be versatile (it can sail into waters as shallow as 14 feet deep) and fast (reaching speeds of 40+ knots) option allowing the Navy to operate in waters traditional warships have been too large to engage in throughout the world.  Whether it is assisting allies in preserving their territorial interests around the shoals of the South China Sea, protecting shipping from pirates in the international waters off the coast of Somalia, or providing humanitarian aid to hurricane ravaged communities in the Caribbean and South America, the USS DETROIT is ready to serve the interests of the United States wherever it is needed around the globe.

387 feet long this 3,480 ton ship is propelled by 4 water jets powered by 2 Rolls-Royce gas turbines.  Instead of being pushed along by old-school turbines this new ship zips along like a super-sized jet sky that also happens to be armed with with a BAE Systems MK 100  57 mm canon, 2 Mk44 Bushmaster II 30 mm guns, 6 .50-cal machines guns and 21 RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Surface-to-Air Missiles.  It also can carry up to two Seahawk helicopters or a variety of unmanned airborne, waterborne, or undersea drones to assist with missions.  Classified as a Littoral Combat Ship, which it means the ship operates close to shore in what is called the littoral zone, the USS Detroit has the flexibility to be used for a variety of missions with a core crew of 50 that can be expanded based upon necessity up to 75.

We had the chance to meet the USS DETROIT'S  Executive Officer, who is second in command of the ship.  During our conversation, he explained to us the symbolism of the vessel's coat of arms.  Each ship in the Navy's fleet has its own personalized badge and it was very interesting to learn about  the symbolism invoked in the one created for USS DETROIT -- LCS 7.

SHIELD:  The background provides a partial depiction of the flag of the City of Detroit.  The yellow trident displaying lightning symbolizes the modern power of today's Navy.  The winged tire recalls Detroit's long-time connections to the automotive industry. The crossed Officer's sword with an Enlisted Chief Petty Officer's cutlass symbolize teamwork and readiness plus highlight the experienced crew of the USS DETROIT LCS 7.

CREST:  The array of stars signifies that this is the sixth ship named for the City of Detroit in the history of the Navy.  The contemporary anchor represents this ship is in the modern Navy while the mine demonstrates its substantial underwater warfare capabilities.

MOTTO:  Black represents the color of might and determination; yellow signifies the four virtues of nobleness, goodwill, vigor and magnanimity.  The motto, "SWIFT VIGILANCE" and shark illustrations demonstrate the speed, preparedness, and perseverance required for a Littoral Combat Ship.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Speed up your home's wi-fi with some help from Linksys

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free

A few years ago we set up a Wi-Fi router primarily so that our family could stream movies on Netflix from our personal computer located in the home office at the back of our house to the living room television  at the front of it.  How we use the Internet has changed between now and then though.  On any given evening you'll find my twins each on a tablet working on homework, my wife on her smart phone playing Candy Crush, and I'll be updating this blog from a laptop.  While our use of the Internet has evolved over the years we hadn't made any changes to how we were accessing it.  That original router meant primarily to watch an occasional movie was now being overwhelmed as apps, games, and videos were tapping into it from a variety of sources at the same time often bringing our connections to a standstill.

It was time for a change and thanks to Best Buy we've had the chance to switch our old wireless setup with a brand new WRT 3200 ACM Wi-Fi Router from Linksys.  I have to say the change is amazing! Without upgrading our cable internet connection bandwidth, we found that lag times and disconnections disappeared when using multiple wireless devices around the house.  Troubles with apps not performing, movies not downloading and our wi-fi in general crashing went away as soon as our family installed the Linksys WRT3200 ACM Wi-Fi Router. The reason it works so well is this new router is powered by Tri-Stream 160 technology, which doubles the bandwidth on all spatial streams making it the fastest dual-band router on the market.  What does that mean in plain English?  Instead of sending out a single signal to one device at a time as traditional routers do, the WRT 3200 ACM sends a variety of signals to multiple devices at the same time and at the speed. The WRT 3200 ACM Wi-Fi Router also allows users to gain access to restricted DFS channels at full bandwidth for the clearest Wi-Fi not available with most other routers.  The clearer your signals are the stronger the connection will be leading to faster speeds.

Talking about speed -- in addition to improving our mobile device's internet connectivity, the router was also really fast to set-up.  I have to admit really dreading taking the WRT 3200 ACM out of the box because adding hardware to my computer always turns out to be a pain; but thanks to its great installation software you essentially just needed to plug the router into an ethernet connection and follow some prompts go get the wi-fi up and running around the house.  It is very easy to do and can be done fairly quickly.  A real plus from my point of view.

So here are this router's specs:

• 1.8 GHz CPU for high-powered performance;
•  MU-MIMO technology for high-speed Wi-Fi to multiple devices at the same time, same speed;
•  Open-source ready with OpenWrt and DD-WRT® for complete flexibility and customization of functions;
•  Upgraded Smart Wi-Fi app to manage and monitor your home Wi-Fi from a mobile device, anytime, anywhere;
•  256MB Flash and 512MB of RAM Memory;
•  4 Gigabit Ethernet Ports

If your family is like ours and often has multiple devices using a home Wi-Fi network at the same time, I'd encourage you to check out the Linksys WRT 3200 ACM Router.  It has really worked well for us. For more information or to purchase one please CLICK HERE.

Friday, October 21, 2016

HBO Ballers: Season 2 Digital Download Giveaway

If you missed the most recent season of the HBO hit comedy series BALLERS when it was broadcast over the summer, you can catch up on Season 2 now as it will be available to own on Digital HD beginning Monday, October 24, 2016.  The complete season download includes all ten Season 2 episodes, plus Inside the Episodes features at select retailers that take viewers behind the scenes of the show.  With Digital HD you can stream the show's episodes to your television, view them on a computer, or watch from a mobile device whenever is convenient for you.
The series revolves around former Miami Dolphins stand-out Spencer Strasmore, played by Dwayne Johnson (AKA The Rock from the WWE) who is coping with the realities of life after football. He reinvents himself as a financial manager for professional athletes in sun-soaked Miami. Drama and hilarity ensue as Strasmore mentors other current and former players through the daily grind of the business of football.

In Season 2 of BALLERS, things are getting more competitive and complicated for Spencer. As the lines between professional and personal blur in his pursuit of lasting success and glory, he must face demons from the past when he goes head-to-head with the biggest business manager on the scene.  Heralded by critics for Johnson’s “movie-star charisma” (The Hollywood Reporter) and co-star Rob Corddry’s “hilarious” performance (TV Overmind), BALLERS is a must-see comedy for football fanatics and TV junkies alike.

Compliments of HBO, A Geek Daddy has a digital code to download all of Season 2's episodes of BALLERS to giveaway to one lucky winner.  To enter this giveaway you must follow @Geekdad248 on Twitter and retweet our original contest tweet embedded below before October 23, 2016 @ 11:59 pm ET.

To be eligible for the giveaway entrants must be a US  resident over the age of 18 to participate. .Prizing is courtesy of HBO.  A Geek Daddy will email the Digital HD code to a randomly selected winner. The selected winner must provide a valid email to redeem the digital download code and redemption of the prize will be the only use of provided email. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. By participating in this promotion you waive any liability of any kind against the publisher of this blog. A Geek Daddy received a digital download of Season 2 of BALLERS for personal use as compensation for sponsoring this promotion.  A Geek Daddy is providing this giveaway contest as a benefit to our readers and social media follower.

For more information about this television series, please visit

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


 ** A Geek Daddy received the featured product for free to review**

The newest installment of the popular children's video game franchise SKYLANDERS® arrived on store shelves this week!  Toys for Bob, the company that develops SKYLANDERS for distribution by Activision Publishing Inc., annually introduces new characters and elements to expand upon the game play continuously making it bigger and better than the previous installments. SKYLANDERS IMAGINATORS allows players to unleash their imaginations like never before by for the first time giving them the power to customize and create their very own Skylander that can be played as a primary character in an all-new adventure that features compelling storylines, puzzles, battles, and a new lineup of heroes and villains.

Portal Masters, as SKYLANDERS players are known as, can utilize the game's Skylander Creator option to design their own personalized characters with an  extraordinary amount of options for available powers, abilities, catchphrases, appearances, and much more.  The make your own Skylander characters, which are called Imaginators, can be saved on Creation Crystals.  A Creation Crystal comes with the SKYLANDERS IMAGINATORS starter pack and additional ones can be purchased separately.  Players can create one Imaginator character per Creation Crystal.

SKYLANDERS hasn't abandoned its Toys-to-Life figures, that have always been a sensation with fans of the video game franchise, for Creation Crystals though.  The game will also feature a variety of toy-to-life figures for a new character class called Senseis, that like the Creation Crystals, can be purchased separately from the SKYLANDERS IMAGINATORS starter pack and incorporated into game play as primary characters.  Each Sensei is a master of one of 10 powerful Battle Classes (e.g., Knight, Sorcerer, Brawler and more). Being the master of these Battle Classes, only Senseis have the ability to unleash Sky-Chi – the ultimate Battle Class super move. Skylanders Senseis have a master-to-apprentice relationship with newly created Imaginator Skylanders. This is supported in-game through the Sensei unlocking of unique Imaginator weapons, the increase of Imaginator level caps, providing access to special areas in the game, as well as the unlocking of new Secret Techniques for Imaginators of the same class.

Skylanders Senseis include 20 new characters and 11 former villains, including Kaos and the return of Crash Bandicoot and Dr. Neo Cortex.  SKYLANDERS IMAGINATORS also has an all-new Crash Bandicoot-inspired level -- Thumpin’ Wumpa Islands -- which is steeped in nostalgic gameplay that will be appealing, especially to moms and dads who many were probably kids themselves when Badicoot first appeared in a video game, for getting the whole family interested in playing together.  Thumpin’ Wumpa Islands is packed with TNT boxes, crabs, hazards, temple ruins, Wumpa Fruit, exploding crates and more. It also includes special Crash Zones that bring back the classic massive boulder chases from the original Crash games. The Thumpin’ Wumpa Islands level will be available to players who purchase the SKYLANDERS IMAGINATORS Starter Pack featuring Crash Bandicoot for PlayStation consoles at launch and will be available as an add-on adventure pack for everyone else available during the holiday shopping season.

 This incredible box just arrived at our house! Activision generously sent A Geek Daddy a SKYLANDERS IMAGINATORS starter pack along with a great selection of Senseis and Creation Crystals for my kids to have fun playing with. To say my kids are enthusiastic to start playing the new SKYLANDERS IMAGINATORS video game would be an understatement!

SKYLANDERS IMAGINATORS is compatible with PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Nintendo Wii U. Parents who have purchased toys-to-life figures for previous editions of the game will also be pleased to know SKYLANDERS IMAGINATORS supports the 300+ character toys from all previous Skylanders games -- including Skylanders SuperChargers, Skylanders Trap Team, Skylanders SWAP Force, Skylanders Giants and Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure -- that kids can enjoy both as toys to play with in the real-world as well as characters they can use in the virtual game world.

For more information, please visit

Kids earn free books during the Passport To Adventure with Papercutz Graphic Novels!

When your child brings home one of the graphic novels from PaperCutz's GERONIMO STILTON or THEA STILTON adventure series from his or her school library, like my son did the other day, it could earn your family some FREE books.  During PaperCutz's #PassportToAdventure promotion that runs through May 31, 2017, if your child's teacher or school librarian validates that the student has read four of either the GERONIMO STILTON or THEA STILTON graphic novels then you'll receive four books from these STILTON series for FREE! Plus your child's school will be mailed a complimentary book as well.  Their interesting plots and enjoyable illustrations make these graphic novels a hit with kids in the 6 to 12 year old age range.

In Geronimo Stilton's stories, readers follow the adventures of the editor of New Mouse City's newspaper, The Rodent's Gazette, as he travels through time and across the globe outwitting his adversaries the Pirate Cats.  Geronimo is an intelligent, mild-mannered mouse who keeps getting swept into fantastic adventures.  He is often joined in his exploits by his younger sister Thea, who based upon the popularity of the GERONIMO STILTON stories also has her own book series.  The interesting plots and enjoyable illustrations make these graphic novels a hit with kids in the 6 to 12 year old age range.  For more information about these book series, visit -- the #1 Kids Graphic Novel Publisher.  My kids love reading the books published by Papercutz and I love that these stories have them enjoying reading.

Encourage your child to earn four free STILTON books by just reading GERONIMO and THEA  STILTON graphic novels from his or her school library.  Print out the Passport To Adventure below and once kids finish reading a Geronimo or Thea graphic novel have their teacher or librarian confirm it on the form.  Once a child has read four graphic novels from any of the selections in either series, a teacher or librarian can mail in the passport to redeem four FREE books for the student and one for the school.