About Sharon Feliciano

http://www.ParentingGeekly.com

Posts by Sharon Feliciano:

Is Walking with Dinosaurs Scary? Educational? Scientifically Accurate?

Is Walking with Dinosaurs Scary? Educational? Scientifically Accurate?

Last night our family was invited to see the Seattle-area opening night of Walking with Dinosaurs.   We are a group of cynics, and I expected seven year old Kitty to be the only one truly impressed with the show.  Fourteen year old Nate was mad that we were dragging him away from the house to see the animatronic/puppet dinos, and he was very vocal about his displeasure.  It didn’t help that we got caught in hellacious traffic, and the normally 45 minute ride from our home in North Seattle to the Tacoma Dome took two hours (I had planned an extra 45 minutes into our time to account for traffic, but still missed a special behind-the-scenes tour, which was a bummer.  When are we supposed to get those robot cars, again?).

I am pleased to report that everyone left the show with a smile on their face.  Walking with Dinosaurs is a huge spectacle; from the giant teeth surrounding the stage to the whimsy of the inflatable, changing foliage, there is a lot going on on the arena floor.  No where can you see the bulk of this show’s $20 Million budget better than on the dinosaurs themselves, though.

The combo animatronic/remote control/human powered puppets were really where we thought they’d lose us.  We were expecting some clunky four wheelers with paper mache dino bodies smacked on top. We were pleasantly surprised to experience very real looking dinosaurs. These are beautifully crafted, expertly puppeteered creatures.  Even after realizing that this was indeed a first-class show, Super-Dad and I joked when they brought out a baby brachiosaurus, explaining that the adults actually grew to the height of a three storey house. “Makes sense, they’d show us a juvenile” I said to SD “how the heck would they make a three storey tall dinosaur puppet?” Guess what walked on stage just then?  A giant, life-sized, adult brachiosaur. It was HUGE, you guys.  SD’s jaw dropped, I gasped, both kids had huge smiles on their faces, it was great!

Is Walking with Dinosaurs scary?
I’ve already have had a few people on Twitter ask if it was too scary for little kids.  I’d say that it was suspenseful, but not really scary.  There are some very loud T-Rex roars, and a sort of scary “comet strike” near the end, but those were the scariest moments. The show has a theatrical score, which was beautiful, but just like in the movies it really punched up the more suspenseful scenes.

Is Walking with Dinosaurs violent?
Well, it’s about dinosaurs, who we don’t normally think of as warm and cuddly.  The most upsetting part of the show for my 7 year old happened in the first few minutes when a baby dinosaur was snapped up by a predator.  It wasn’t scary, and it happened in a quick and matter-of-fact way, but Kit was definitely distraught.  There is also a fight where a Torosaurus loses a horn, and is rammed in the side by another Torosaurus, though (like the few other fights depicted in the show) there is no blood or wounds shown.

Is Walking with Dinosaurs scientifically accurate?
The shows producers insist it is.  And while I’m no Paleontologist, I am a proponent of presenting audiences, especially young audiences, with the most scientifically accurate info.  Everything presented seemed to jive with what *I* understand to be the most up to date scientific information.

Is Walking with Dinosaurs educational?
The show is presented by an actor playing a Paleontologist, who guides us through the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods, introducing us to the geography, flora, and climate of the time, and then bringing out a few dinosaurs for dramatic vignettes.  If your child is dino-obssesed, there may not be a whole lot here they didn’t know.  Then again, if your child is dino-obssesed just seeing a life sized Tyrannosaurus Rex  will probably be pretty exciting.

How long is Walking with Dinosaurs?
I’ve seen a few reviews online where bloggers complain about the short length of the show .  It was two 35 minute acts with a 20 minute intermission in between.  We found it to be the perfect amount of time for our family.  The 35 minute acts were jam-packed and no one got bored or looked at their watch.  The 20 minute intermission allowed us all to have a bathroom break and grab a beverage.

Walking with Dinosaurs plays the Tacoma Dome through December 21, 2014.  Discount codes for select shows can be found here.

For more information and to see when Walking with Dinosaurs is playing in your area visit www.dinosaurlive.com

Review: Samsung Galaxy Gear 2

Review: Samsung Galaxy Gear 2
The original Galaxy Gear in smashing rose gold (bottom), and the much improved Galaxy Gear 2 (top, with Pip-Boy watch face)

As we march headlong into ‘the future is now!’ one of the big new fields is wearable tech. I am all about metrics and data and information, so as soon as the Galaxy Gear became available, I wanted one. Super-Dad got me a Samsung Galaxy Gear (original version, in rose gold of course ) for our anniversary last year – my kind of jewelry! Sometimes being an early adopter has its disappointments. The general concepts are there, answering calls and texts from your wrist, a camera, and a pedometer; they just aren’t executed super well. I found the software to be buggy and the hardware to be clunky. The camera is inconveniently placed and constantly brushed against stuff. The charging port was a ridiculous contraption that wrapped around the entire watch face. But, this isn’t a review of the Original Galaxy Gear, it’s a review of the far superior follow up attempt, the Galaxy Gear 2.

The Galaxy Gear 2 may only be a second generation device, but in this age of super fast development cycles, that means more than it once did. The interface has improved dramatically, with significantly less bugginess than the original. It has a great list of features including IR (can be used to screw with your friends’ TVs! Or just to change the channel on your own set ) a heart rate monitor, a more accurate pedometer, and a sleep monitor. The Gear 2 also offers a more robust list of apps from which you can get notifications. SD is a constantly on call Systems Engineer, and the ability to check these alerts for urgency without fumbling around for his phone it great. It offers him both quick convenience and subtlety when we are out and about. This has been the true selling point for him. He, like so many of us, had given up on wearing a watch. It’s a relic in a time when everyone has a phone in their pocket. He was reminded of how convenient it is to easily check the time from your wrist, and the Gear 2 has the added bonus of allowing you to also check message and mail. It’s quite the time saver.

The ability to customize the watch has greatly improved since the original Galaxy hit the scene as well. There are a ton of watch faces available whether you want a fancy multiface analog style watch or something a little more geeky, like the Fallout Pip-Boy display.

The hardware has also gone through a major update with the two major design flaws – the obtrusive camera lens and the bulky charger – both being replaced with sleeker more integrated design. The charging port is still a separate piece that snaps onto the back of the watch face, and a downside to it being smaller is that it’s much easier to potentially lose. I’d find a permanent home for it, and just leave it plugged in.

Super-Dad did accidentally “wrist dial” people a few times. Mostly me, but it did lead to at least one awkward conversation with a business associate. SD also found that the icons would rearrange themselves on the home screen, which was annoying. These complaints could be avoided by addressing one of our other complaints and adding a lock screen. The Gear 2’s accelerometer also locked up once during the three weeks he tested it. This went unnoticed for a few days, SD just figured it wasn’t tracking sleep for some reason,  but was easily fixed with by restarting.

So what’s the verdict? Well, our Gear 2 is on loan from AT&T for review purposes, and SD really doesn’t want to give it back. Guess it’s a good thing that Christmas is just a few short days away. The Gear 2 would make a great gift for any Samsung Galaxy user. I can actually see it being really practical for our teen as well. Phones are supposed to stay in pockets at school, but a watch is a useful tool and a watch that also gives my ADHD kid reminders? I think that could be pretty great.

You can check out AT&T’s collection of wearable devices here: http://www.att.com/shop/wireless/accessories/wearables.html

And you can see the whole family of Galaxy Wearables here: http://www.samsung.com/us/mobile/wearable-tech/all-products??cid=ppc-ce-wea-0614-43700002117091018

I was not compensated for this post, I was offered the Galaxy Gear 2, on loan, for reivew purposes from AT&T.

Walking with Dinosaurs – Discount Code

Walking with Dinosaurs – Discount Code

Kitty is seven years old, and like many seven year olds, she is obsessed with dinosaurs.  So I’m really excited that the folks from Walking with Dinosaurs invited us to join them for opening night in the Seattle area!  We haven’t yet seen the show, but are looking forward to what the creators bill as a “$20,000,000 spectacular”.

I will be posting a review of the show the night of the 17th, so if you’re on the fence about seeing it when it comes to your town, keep an eye out!

For more information on the show and for dates near you: http://www.dinosaurlive.com/

For my Seattle area readers:
For tickets and more info visit: http://www.tacomadome.org/

Discount codes for Parenting Geekly Readers:
$5 off Price Level 2: $44.50 (reg. $49.50)

$3 off Price Level 3: $26.50 (reg. $29.50)
Offer Code: KIDFUN

Valid on all Tacoma Dome shows except Sat 11am/3pm & Sun 1pm