Monster Treads! JohnDeere RC Gator

By concretin_nik September 25th, 2014

This time, the Cretin family reviews something TheBoy WILL like! The John Deere Monster Treads Gator! At only 6, TheBoy has little experience with RC vehicles. He’s had a couple of basic 1 or 2 button RCs, but nothing too fancy, or fast. His eyes lit up when I revealed this box to him. “Finally, no SuperHero toys.” *sigh* You’re killin’ me Smalls.

A box of KidJoy.

Our first attempt to play was thwarted by the inevitable toy fail of “not enough batteries.” That was my fault. We had the 6AAs, but no 9V for the controller, and my paranoia really didn’t want to set a precedent of thieving one from a smoke detector. We were both pretty disappointed in Dad. So be sure to get those before showing this to the kids.

Something else you’ll need that is not listed on the package, nor would you necessarily think about… a bike pump. The “monster treads” tires require inflation. A plastic “needle” pump adapter is included, but will go unnoticed when freeing the Gator from all of the tape and ties holding it in the box. It wasn’t until I read the manual that I learned of the pump requirement. (Yes internet, I’m a Dad that actually reads the instructions. Neurosis. Just leave it alone.) Also included is a cardboard cut-out to make it very easy to know when you’ve reached the proper size/inflation.

Checking for proper inflation.

PLAYTIME! TheBoy was so excited, even with me driving. He squealed in delight and ran from the Gator, and then wanted to chase it. (Had to put a stop to that as that would inevitably lead to him stepping on it.) The Gator is fast! Too fast for our small house really. When he took the controls, he essentially just bumped into everything, but was having a blast. We ventured outside to the yard with about 5 days of fresh growth since the last mowing. The Gator handled the semi-high grass fairly well, but not as well in reverse. It ran great in the areas where we have gravel. TheBoy never stopped smiling and yelling “Dad! Watch this! Watch this!” KidJoy.


Of course, when you have a slide, and an RC car, you WILL send it down, over and over. The large wheels didn’t have much grip on the plastic and always allowed it to spin around, usually falling off the edge sideways, causing several rolls and tumbles. But the Gator took every crash and kept on keepin’ on.

So the verdict… TheBoy gives it a big “Thumbs up!” I give it a “Meh, OK.” (Good fun, but pricey.)

TheBoy approves!

Pros: Fast and durable. The stand up and spin is a fun trick that will make kids laugh and giggle. The large inflated tires allow it to roll through grass, and make it very fast on carpet, flat surfaces, and in gravel. Six AAs and one 9V battery isn’t too bad for a vehicle this size. I also liked the quick twist access to the vehicle battery compartment(but the controller still needs a screw driver).

Cons: Unexpected tire inflation required. While it is a bit larger vehicle, for a higher end RC toy price ($59.99), I expect a better steering mechanism. Steering is done by the body of the Gator being tilted which causes the front floating axle to pivot left or right. The servo doesn’t actually control the front wheels at all. This results in a wide turning radius, which is why it is more fun outdoors, but too fast for tight quarters.

The John Deere Monster Treads Gator is recommended for kids 8+ and is available now at and local John Deere dealers.

High Rollin'

Disclosure: We were not compensated for this post but did receive the RC Gator free for the review. The opinions above are straight from the Cretin family.

Hasbro RULES! Transformers: Age of Extinction

By concretin_nik June 25th, 2014

That title = ‘nuff said. But you need photographic evidence, I know.

Seriously, that's just the BOX!

I received a most excellent Father’s Day present from Hasbro last week. I arrived home from a 3 day camping trip with TheBoy (more on that at a later date) to find a BFbox o’ new toys* promoting the new Transformers: Age of Extinction movie opening this Friday. *(I’m 41. I believe “collector pieces” is the proper term, right?)


I now own more Transformer toys than I’ve ever had in my life! And NONE of them are hand me downs! (That’s a big deal for the youngest kid of 3 brothers.) I know what you’re saying, these are for your kid, not you. But I offer evidence to the contrary. Exhibit A. My previous posts regarding StarWars and SuperHeroes toys and promos, CLEARY state the TheBoy doesn’t dig this kind of thing. Exhibit B. No request of review or anything was made by Hasbro. “Have a great Father’s Day … enjoy the toys!” Exhibit C. TheBoy can’t even carry this box! Exhibit D. The XL shirt included is obviously not for a 6 year old. Verdict? Dad’s box!


So yea, there is a stereotypical “boy” in my head that I thought I’d be raising. Based quite clearly on ME and what I liked and hated as a kid. TheBoy doesn’t like cheese burgers. Got it. I feel ya, I was exactly the same way until college. Favorite food? Pizza. Right on. But he loves fruit and yogurt. (I’ve questioned his paternity on this alone.) Everyone will warn you that “kids like what they like.” And “you can’t force them to like anything.” And you think to yourself, “I know that. But how can he NOT like THIS? I loved it!” And when it happens, you’ll be a bit lost. But when that same kid says things like, “Look Daddy! You got a great big box!” and “I kind of like them because YOU like them,” and “You’ll love this toy aisle Dad, it has Super Heroes!” you’ll know that you’re still doin’ ok raising an awesome kid.

All that being said, when we play together, he’s just gonna have to deal with Optimus Prime and his friends (and enemies) romping through Equestria right along side Applejack and Twilight Sparkle. Dad likes what he likes too.

Thanks again Hasbro! Oh, and he did LOVE the HexBug Transformers Warriors Battling Robots arena. (That’s a mouthful. Let’s just call ‘em “awesome.”) Bonus: The arena doubles as a MLP “secret lair.”

Go see Transformers: Age of Extinction. Robot dinosaurs, and Marky Mark? You know you wanna.

Disclosure: I received the BFBox o’ toys free of charge, but was not compensated (nor even requested) to write this post. This is life in the Cretin household. We simply dig Hasbro toys and games.

Sears - The Destination for Great Father's Day Gifts!

By concretin_nik June 6th, 2014

As a kid, shopping anywhere besides Toys-R-Us might as well have been a trip to the bank. BORING! I remember Sears actually the same way. I never got to the toy section, but I KNEW they must have had a great one, because their mail order catalog was AWESOME! That was where I picked out most of my toys at Christmas. Now, as a Dad, I LOVE to shop at Sears. Wrenches, power tools, electronics, TVs, grills! Arrgh! Argh! Argh! Things I didn’t care that much about at 7. Home ownership, marriage, parenthood… they change a man. So much so, I didn’t even mind donning a fake ‘stache and snapping a few pics of me and TheBoy for the #destinationDAD campaign for this Father’s Day. (It also helps that you can win a $5,000 MAKEcation to California with Craftsman! I’m ready to go!)

NikStached Sears

Excuse me Sir, I mustache you a question...

So before we get to the contest, check out a few featured Father’s Day gifts for your favorite Dad…

TheBoy approves of the Kenmore grill!

Get your grill on! <— Click to get yours!

The'Stache loves new tools!

DIY Tinkering is a go! <— Click to get your own set!

Ok, that's just freaky.

Papa wantz it! Papa neeeedz it! <— Click to get your 46″ Samsung LED TV!

Ok, so you see how easy it is to find a great gift at Sears. You’re gonna go shopping there anyway, so take a ‘stache with you (or use your own growin’ right there on yer lip) and “Snap Your ‘Stache!” Instagram it, Tweet it, and tag it #destinationDAD. I’ve reposted the basics for the contest below, but for full contest details visit Even the secondary prizes are pretty sweet!

Disclosure: I partnered with Sears and Life of Dad, LLC for this Father’s Day promotion and was compensated for my involvement.

Snap Your ‘Stache! A nationwide search for the greatest moustache.

·       Now through June 15, moms and kids can take a photo of dad’s moustache – or he can snap a moustache selfie – and share it at for a chance to win the ultimate Father’s Day gift – a trip to the Craftsman MAKEcation where he’ll meet a celebrity and learn to make whiskey, roll cigars, grill steaks, and amass survival skills..

·     Runner up prizes include other great gifts like the Craftsman Quiet Lawnmower, Craftsman portable gas grill, and Craftsman MACH Series tools.

·       Don’t let a bare lip stop you from entering the contest; get creative and draw one on, use a sticker or hold something to create your best ‘stache. Plus, everyone who enters will receive $5 in Shop Your Way points to use on the perfect Father’s Day gift. Plus, Shop Your Way members can vote for their favorite moustache submission, which will enter them into a sweepstakes for 250,000 in points (a value of $250). Check out these entries!

Where Am I Going

By Daddy Danny May 21st, 2014

I don’t write blogs, as I don’t like to share my thoughts or feelings with the world, as I do not feel that the world gives a shit.

There are others in this world living harder lives, struggling with issues far worse than I could ever imagine. On the positive side, there are others using their time and talents to do something greater for the world than I’m doing.

(By the way, this isn’t going to be some never-ending pointless rant — I just have to write out my thoughts first and this how I do it — this is why I don’t blog.)

Another reason I don’t write blogs, is that I’m too damn busy…oh, I really have time to do it, but let me explain…

I’m married with two small children (2 year old) and (2 month old). I own my own business which is video production and editing, which keeps me busy. The best part is that I work from home so I’m always around. Which is great. I’m not complaining about this part of my life. I love it. I support my wife and my children from the comfort of home, which is great and it’s something I work hard to maintain as I’m freelancer. I have to find work when I don’t have it.

We did live in our own place, until my father-in-law was diagnosed with glioblastoma. Basically, it’s one of the shittiest kind of brain cancers you can get. Look it up.

He should be dead, but amazingly, he received amazing treatment at UCLA and they actually removed all of it. Isn’t that nuts!? Medical science is the bomb. The only unfortunate thing is that the left side of his body is being rehabilitated, so it’s a tough recovery, but…it’s a recovery.

So, we moved in with my wife’s parents to take care of my them. I make breakfast, lunch and dinner. We do a lot of the chores, clean the house, help my father-in-law around… just make sure life keeps moving forward.  I pay for a lot of the food, but I don’t have a house payment or rent, internet fees, or a power bill. I’ve been paying off all my debts (which has been going great..almost done)…SO…I’m not complaining about this part of my life either. It’s like the old days where families lived together. My sons get to see their grandparents, and only once in a while is there an occasional blowout fight…so not too bad.

Now, with being a freelancer, taking care of my wife, my two kids, parents-in-laws, two dogs and a big house, life keeps me pretty busy. By the time I finally sit down to do what I really want to do, I don’t know how to do it…and I think that’s point of this blog.

I CAN do something, with that little bit of precious time, I just don’t do it. I’m so angry at myself every time I have about an hour or two of free time…and I spend it looking up shit on the IMDB, reading BBC news or browsing Facebook on my phone. I read some news column about a tragedy in Sudan or some amazing thing NASA is doing. I’m saddened about a tragedy I read, then excited about an invention I watched a video about…then that’s it. The hour’s over and I have accomplished nothing in my own life. I’ve learned nothing.

In my free time, I COULD do something amazing and create an inspiring video for DadLabs, (and after making over probably 2000 videos for the web I can shoot and edit video really fast) but I find myself with nothing to say that hasn’t already been said about parenting or is being said about parenting. What’s one more goddamn post about being a dad?

In my free time, I COULD work on the 2nd or 3rd drafts of my screenplays (yeah, I actually do finish 1st drafts), but even if I do finish my scripts, the Hollywood connections that I have will leave me with nothing. And even if I do decided to make another movie…(yeah, I actually made a movie)…what’s the point of making another movie? There is already around 50,000 movies made a year so who gives a shit if I’m 50,001.

In my free time, I COULD read a newly released book..but every time I start reading a newly released book, it’s just a retelling of something I’ve read before or a new spin on an old tale, or god forbid it’s already been made into a movie I’ve already seen.

In my free time, I COULD learn a new language, but I’m not traveling anywhere to use that language, AND by time I learn a new language, they’ll just invent some tiny earpiece so everything is translated for you. (That’s my belief anyway)

In my free time, I COULD do SOMETHING. But I don’t DO anything to advance myself. Yes, I’m a good father and husband. I’m a good son-in-law. I’m a good son–I call my parents and grandmother. I’m pretty descent with making commercials and videos for the web. I’m in pretty descent shape.

But overall, what the hell am I doing? Where am I going? Where are any of us going? I feel like I’ve peaked with everything in my life. I’m talking about about my individual self. Am I just going to be waking up everyday, doing the same things?

Making local commercials for a company on the East Coast forever?

Making money, then using all the money to pay off bills or eat or take small vacations?

I’m not a mover or a shaker…I’m just a do’er. I just do stuff to get by.

I go online and read about accomplishments or tragedies, and then I go back to my life…not doing anything of significance or importance.

Perhaps that’s what everyone feels like. Maybe I’m not alone.

I really don’t have anything to complain about, so I should probably just shut up. There are other people in the world dealing with worse things than myself, but I can’t help feeling like I should be doing something more with my time.

I’m almost 35….Maybe my generation will be also be called “The Lost Generation”…as in our voices were lost, because so many voices and stories are being overwhelming shared. So many thoughts, stories, pictures and lives are shared, but only a few REALLY matter.

This blog post doesn’t really matter.

I’m a white male, living an average life in America. I’m nothing special.

I didn’t invent something amazing on Kickstarter.

I didn’t do a documentary to change people’s views.

I didn’t volunteer in my community or run for an office to make a real change.

I’ve made a ton of videos for the web, but none of them are viral. (Like that really matters, but it is my business…so it would be somewhat nice)

I sit around and I watch the world spin. I have ideas to help or shape the world, but I don’t do anything but talk about it to my wife, then nothing happens.

I’m so grateful for what I have. A happy family, but I’m worried about how to maintain that for the next 50-60 years. I can’t keep doing the same thing, but I have no idea how to break out of it.

Am I worth anything anymore to this planet? To our species?

Where Am I Going?

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