Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Second Open Letter to Panasonic

As you have probably noticed, we aren't posting much on this site anymore. It's certainly not because we don't still love our Panasonic equipment and Living in HD. Quite the contrary. It has changed our life so much, we started an entirely new blog over on

And guess what? Our second open letter to Panasonic can be found over there (as well as lots of other cool stuff that we're doing!).

Check it out by clicking on this link:

Happy second Panaversary


Tuesday, January 19, 2010


One of the most amazing phrases in the LiHD Rules and regulations for the families is something to the effect of "from time to time, we may send you new products and ask you your opinion."
A while back, Panasonic sent a chair our way for us to try out. We knew Panasonic made massage chairs, having tried them at CES. We hoped that someday we'd be able to get one.

We were ecstatic when they sent us one.

Given that, can we be objective about our experience with the chair? We thought we could, until we sat in it. That's when all objectivity went out the window and the love affair with the chair began.

The chair is very sleek and modern looking. This is great, unless you don't have a sleek and modern style home. We don't, but we managed to make this work in our upstairs. The chair is fairly large and must be set away from the wall at least 17". This makes it a bit difficult to find a location for it as it does jut out into a room somewhat (ours is in a corner, angled, so it works).

The reason for putting it so far from the wall, however, is that it reclines to 170 degrees so you can be lying almost all the way flat when you are being massaged. It comes with an optional foot/calf massager (see pics and specs here: it is comfortable to sit in when you aren't getting a massage, but really needs some sort of ottoman to be comfortable once you are reclined (and if you need to get an ottoman, it might as well massage your calves!). The calf/foot massager works on a simple inflation principal. It feels great, but it would be better if it had some of the rolling action going on that the chair has. As a foot massager, it doesn't do much for me. As a calf massager, it does give a lot of firm pressure on your calves.

So, what is the chair massage like? OH MY HECK!!! This ain't no wimpy little balls roll up and down your back type of massage. this is a hard core dig in and get at that sore spot massage. After sitting in this chair you know that you have been massaged. Like a real massage, there is pressure, deep kneading, and every now and then a groan escapes you. Our friend, Vince, said it best: "I think I need a safe word when I sit in that chair!"

If you don't want to have to think about the type of massage you'd like, the chair has many pre-programmed massages: that last for 15 minutes each. Chiro, Swedish, Hawaiian, a quick massage that mixes it up, or you can put it on full roll, target certain areas of your back and can turn the tap on or off. My current favorite is Swedish, it is a great combination of getting in deep, combined with the smooth, long rolling motions.

The chair is much quieter than I would have guessed for something that has so much power (not that it matters, because you can't hear much over my groaning when I'm in the chair). The motion the chair provides is smooth and very natural. I love a firm massage and remove the headrest pillow so it can really dig into my shoulders and neck...and it does!

When we have parties, we often lose guests to the chair. We will all be sitting downstairs talking when we will notice that someone has disappeared. We inevitably find them up sitting in the chair with a blissful zoned-out look. My wife and I use the chair several days a week, and often have a hard time getting of it- not because it is difficult to get out of (it's not, it gently raises you back up to a sitting position at the touch of a button), but because we're so relaxed at the end of the massage.

This chair is absolutely not for wimps (it can provide a gentle, rolling massage, but why?). It's like having a professional masseuse in chair form and will provide you and everyone you know- because they will come out of the woodwork to use it- years of relaxation and comfort.

Hey, Valentine's Day is coming up. Need a gift? Your sweetheart will never forget it! Do yourself a favor, though and get yourself two! That way you can avoid having to kick your sweety out of the chair so you can have your turn!

You can find this chair at, on the website I linked to above, and many other fine retailers.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas in 3D HD!

For the past 12 years, the Calandros have thrown a Christmas party, we've mentioned it here before and even posted an animoto video of last year's party. As we have said, we save all year for it to get snow on our front lawn, Santa comes, and we have tons of people here (overcompensation for year one of the party when we only had two guests show up out of the 40 that we invited). Our guests bring canned goods and new, unwrapped gifts to donate to a local charity and we provide everything else.

This year, just before Thanksgiving, we got an email from Greg Harper- the Living in HD Answerman and all around amazing person- asking if we would be interested in having a Panasonic 3D HD truck come to our party...or would it be too much?

By now, you probably have realized when it comes to the Calandro family, we haven't figured out what "too much" is.

Of course, we said we would totally be willing to do it! We weren't sure how big it would be, we weren't sure whether or not it would be pulled off (though we have come to learn that with Greg Harper and Panasonic working together, anything can happen). Heck, at that point, we weren't even sure who was coming to our party.

At noon on Saturday, Glacier Ice Company showed up to blow 5 tons of snow onto our lawn and house (they donated it to our party this year. They are wonderful people and if you are ever on the Central Coast of California and need ice, you need to look no further.). Moments after they drove away, up drove Greg, followed very shortly by the Panasonic 3D HD truck. The drivers/operators of the truck, Dan and Ryan (and their lovely significant others Anna and Rhonda) were friendly, knowledgeable and personable- just like every other Panasonic employee we have ever met. They got the truck set up in short order and were ready to go well before our first guest arrived.

Sarah, the camera person for Panasonic, showed up and Phil, an AP photographer was there to document the event for us and for the Panasonic executives in Japan. Everyone was ready to go. We hadn't told any of our guests what to expect at our party, only that this year would be bigger and better than ever!

Our guests were floored as they got to be among the few who would experience the next wave in HD Television: 3D! The truck has a capacity of about 25 people at a time and shows about a 10 minute montage of 3D clips- there is race car driving, skiing, soccer, the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in Beijing (my personal favorite) and scenes from Disney's A Christmas Carol and a action-packed trailer for James Cameron's new movie Avatar (which looked incredible in 3D!).

What is it like? Well, it is hard to describe without sounding like a commercial. The 3D is amazing- realistic and crystal clear. The colors are sharp and the depth combined with the 1080P HD picture makes everything look as real as it can get without actually being there. I know that people will think that 3D HD is a gimmick, but that's only because they haven't seen it. Just like the jump from Standard Definition to HD, the switch to 3D just makes the viewing more real. Sports in particular will never be the same again. I am not a sports fanatic, but I would watch just about anything in 3D HD. It's not about things jumping out at you, it's about being immersed in the experience.

Our friends and family members were interviewed, we all got pictures taken in and out of the truck, and the whole Panasonic crew got to experience a Calandro Christmas Crazy party (now they're family and we're expecting them all back next year- even without the truck!).

Needless to say, the party was awesome! we ended up with 165 guests (63 of them kids) and almost $2,000 worth of donations in toys and food donated to a local organization that helps families who are struggling to get by.

We have been so fortunate this year. Panasonic has been so generous to us, and our family and friends have been so generous to our charities. We use our Christmas party as a way of saying thank you to our friends. This year, Panasonic helped to make that thank you extra special and very memorable. Thank you Panasonic, for contributing another once-in-a-lifetime memory for the Calandros and allowing us to share it with our friends and family.

And to Greg Harper, a special thank you for remembering that we do this craziness every year, and for making the journey out to be a part of it. We are honored that you were our guest and you know you are welcome any time!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

We're hosting Thanksgiving. Panasonic, we blame you!

We're hosting Thanksgiving at the Calandro house this year. Normally, we go to my parents house on the odd years and my wife's sister's on the even ones. Unfortunately, my parents flew back east to Michigan because my Grandmother passed away last week. She was 96 years old and enjoyed good health, a loving family, and dear friends up to the end. Since my parents were not going to be around today, we suddenly found ourselves with nowhere to go on Thanksgiving.

Here's where I blame Panasonic...

See, all of my family members are fortunate enough to have homes where they could host all of us, but since we won all of this great LiHD equipment, and Panasonic has been so great to us, I feel the need to share it whenever we can. So, when the opportunity came up, I realized that we should host it here. I figured the cousins could play on the Wii on the awesome plasma and we could switch back and forth to the football games in High Definition.
Does this mean that we'll spend the whole day zoned out in front of the TV not interacting? Not at all. Panasonic Living in HD isn't just about having great stuff, it's about making connections with others and using technology to enhance and improve our lives. Panasonic has given us a great reason to continue to bring people over and has given us tools to share it with others. If having all of this great equipment inspires us to have others over here, then bring it on!
With my grandmother's death and the rearrangement of our Thanksgiving plans, we realize that the whole point of the day is to be thankful for our family and to enjoy being together. We will be thinking of my parents who cannot be with us today and we will remember our grandmother with love and fondness. We are happy to host everyone here and are looking forward to the great times we will all have together.

I hope that your day is filled with joy, love and togetherness. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Happy Panaversary!!!

An open Thank You letter to Panasonic,

Dear Panasonic,

One year ago today, our family was at home watching the installers put in our new Panasonic equipment that we were chosen to receive through the Living in HD program. I’ll admit that my primary motivation was to get some really cool equipment, and that I knew our family would enjoy it, but I really didn’t think that “living in HD” would be any different from living in Standard Definition. We were already an active family. We already used technology.

I was so wrong.

When we were selected to go to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to represent the LiHD families, we had the good fortune of hearing both Yoshi Yamada, Chairman of Panasonic North America, and Bob Greenberg, Vice President of Corporate Brand Marketing, speak about why they started this program. They wanted to know how real families used your products. They wanted to know what was working and what wasn’t. Most of all, however, they wanted the technology to enhance and improve the lives of families.

Guess what? It worked! One year later, our lives are drastically different than they were one year ago. We have connected with our family and friends by sharing pictures and videos via email, the LiHD website, and social media sites. We always have a camera with us, shoot more video than we ever did in all of our years with our old video camera, and we actually watch the video we shoot because it is ridiculously easy to do. Our friends love to watch YouTube via the VieraCast and we love to play video games on a TV large enough for everyone to see.

We have gotten to travel to tell others how much we love your products. We have met so many wonderful and genuine people in, and connected to, the Panasonic Company: Greg Harper, Tom Murano, Carol DiStaulo, Naomi Pagidas, Joe Jaffe, Greg Verdino, Jane Quigley, and Adam Broitman. When we went to Las Vegas we got to meet Steve Garfield, Chris Brogan, and Stacy Debroff of MomCentral.

We have connected with other LiHD families- The Neilsons, the Pelletiers, the Richardsons, the Seamans, and the Korys. We have welcomed new LiHD families TimnEvan, and A Cowboy’s Wife. When we find out someone new has won, we are as excited as they are because we know how different and amazing their lives will be. We have gotten to know Kate Dickman and our kids got to run around with the Pollak kids while we were all in Las Vegas.

My wife, who never spent much time with technology other than a camera, made the decision to jump in to the technological world with both feet. This was both because we now had great equipment and because all of this equipment is so easy to use. She started to connect with others via Twitter (taught to us by Adam Broitman, thanks to Panasonic), made videos via Animoto to inspire others to donate to charity, and began to develop friendships with people near and far. She now has a job with MomCentral, working to connect moms with each other online. If it weren’t for Panasonic, we never would have had the opportunity to meet Stacy DeBroff in person, much less be a part of her amazing company! One year ago, my wife had no cell phone, was not that into technology, and certainly wasn’t interested in blogging. Now she has her own website (, a job in social media, and we are, today, at a Momblogger’s retreat hosted by Activision to launch Tony Hawk’s new video game, Tony Hawk’s Ride. Our boys got to meet Tony Hawk and play with him at his offices. We have met moms and kids from all over the country and get to spend time with them. Thanks to Living in HD, our kids are having experiences we didn’t even know existed a year ago.

We can definitively say that everything that has happened to us in the past year is because of Panasonic and the Living in HD program. We are so happy to be a part of this. We have embraced the opportunities this technology has brought to our lives and we have found that when we do this, we just find more opportunities.

As a Living in HD family, our lives have become richer, more interesting, easier, and more amazing than ever before. Our products from Panasonic have done so much more than just make our Friday Night Pizza Nights spectacular. Every day we find that if we embrace the technology we have and use it to create and inspire, we open ourselves up to meeting new people and having new and fantastic adventures.

Thank you, Panasonic for choosing us. Thank you for creating products that are outstanding and easy to use. Thank you for knowing long before we did that Living in HD isn’t about having a really cool TV. It’s about using what you have to the fullest and enhancing your life by connecting to others. It has been an outstanding year- and we realize we are just beginning to scratch the surface of what it means to Live in HD. We can’t wait to see what new and amazing adventures this year brings to us!

With endless gratitude,

The Calandro Family
LiHD family #39

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ponytail Victory Dance!

Months ago I asked you if you had hair to spare. I wanted you to cut your hair and donate the ponytail to help make wigs for cancer patients through Pantene's Beautiful Lengths program. My friend, Linda, and I created a contest to see who could collect the most ponytails hoping to inspire more people to make the cut. The final count was much smaller than we had hoped, but I still won the contest. I collected nine ponytails (plus one promised to me) and my friend, Linda, collected five.

As the winner of the contest I get to gloat and brag for the rest of my life. I also get to publicly perform a Victory Dance! This is my celebration for all the ladies who cut their hair; for all the ladies who battle cancer bravely and with dignity; and because life is to celebrate -and what better way than to dance!

Linda and I are growing our hair out again. If I can manage to keep out too much grey, I should have another ponytail to donate in about three years. Do you have hair to spare right now? Find out how to donate your ponytail here:

Thanks to everyone who read my posts, who cut their hair or even considered it, and for supporting me in another Calandro Crazy idea. My friends and family are some of the most supportive, generous people on the planet. Who's lucky? You guessed right -I AM!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

PARK DAY!!! The Best Day Ever

3 kids, 2 adults, 13 parks, 8 hours, 1 City...

Park day became an annual tradition in the Calandro household a few summers ago. The first year, we had very small children and went to 8 parks- each one for 30 minutes- in one day. Each year, we have added a few more parks (and somewhere along the way we added one more kid!).

The night before park day, we pack food, water, sunscreen and hats and plan our route around town. For a small town, we have found that San Luis Obispo has a lot of great parks! We never were more than 10 minutes by car between any two parks.

This year, with our youngest being a very mobile 3 1/2 years old, we decided to go bigger than ever and we hit 13 parks in one day- 25 minutes at each park... To be a Calandro means you have to keep up (If you've read this Blog at all, you know this about us...), and everyone did it beautifully.

The best part of the day is getting out at each park and watching the kids run to their favorite things with the same amount of enthusiasm as if they had not already been to several other parks that day!

We're already planning for next year- we're thinking Park Day T-shirts and buttons for anyone who wants to join us! Do you think you could keep up? Thanks to Animoto for the slideshow (check them out!) and thanks to Bowling for Soup for such a great song (The Phineas and Ferb Theme song!)