September 30, 2014

Sometimes people give you cool free stuff

The best part about reviewing is that sometimes people give you free stuff so you talk about the stuff they gave you in reviews.

I was given this:

And wrote this:

If I remember correctly, the spice grinder I had back in college was about the size of a quarter on top, and it only had one chamber so that you had to dig your spice out of the wells between the blades with your fingers.  That was a while ago, but I know my college spice grinder store had nothing like this.

When I pulled it out of the box, it felt heavy and substantial. It was also bigger than I thought it would be -- like the size of a silver dollar across, and deeper too. I wouldn't carry this around, it is more of an at-home spice grinder.  You can grind several recipes worth of spices in one go with this thing. The grinder lid spins but stays shut with a quality magnet and the spice falls through the holes to a second chamber which has a fine mesh floor. There is a third chamber below the mesh that is accessible I suppose to collect the fine dust from your spice. There is also a tiny spatula included to help scrape the spice if it sticks to the blades or leaves any sap or resin behind. Overall, I'm pretty impressed with this product, and I don't even smoke weed.

A complimentary product was offered to me for review.

Spinning: "Sick of It All: Last Act of Defiance"

As a long-time fan it is nice to hear band you like come out guns blazing.
I had it in my hand after having it delivered to work, and a coworker asked what it was. I said they were some of the godfathers of New York Hardcore. I then had to shorthand what THAT was for her --

and I said "Not as much melody: Drums and Bass and Anger".

They bring it here, after all these years. I will keep this in my CD player (yes, yes, even punks get old and don't adopt to new technology) for a while. At least until the new Rancid comes out...

What if no one works anywhere?

I was at the store, and I needed to know where the bacon was. There was a guy unloading a box of stuff into the freezer case. I asked him. He then told me "I don't work here". I was so confused, since he was here and he seemed to be working. Is unloading products into freezer cases just a hobby of his? Even more scary, what if he wasn't even here at all?

September 22, 2014

Kingsford is Barbecue: An Observation

I was at the store today, looking at the seasonal section that is slipping away from summer to the fall. The firewood is being replaced with Oktoberfest beers; Halloween candy is rearing its ugly head. The barbecue briquettes are still on the shelf though. There are different sizes and flavors, and various accessories hand around them. There is one thing all those bag have in common – red, white, and blue. Most of those bags show the Kingsford logo. There is one group of bags on the lower left who just carry the colors without the logo. It is a store brand. It is priced 30% less than the comparable sized bag of Kingsford briquettes. I see that display, and it tells me one thing: Kingsford is barbecue.

September 16, 2014

Buy this because air mattresses suck: Review of Sleep Master Holiday Elite Rollaway Folding Guest Bed, Plus Bonus Storage Bag

The wife and I have been through at least three air mattresses in the last five years with not that many uses. They bust and the patches don't work even if you can find the hole. So we went and bought this for our last weekend guest, who was at least five ten and maybe 200 pounds. Was told that it was comfortable, and then it folded up nicely for the next time we need it.

That was only one use though, so I'm not holding a parade, but it does beat having our guests sleep on a pool toy inches from the ground--even though it is a little more expensive. If it holds up through a couple more visits it will have paid for itself.

It does a little weak, so at 350 pounds I'm not going to climb on top of it anytime soon, but for most people it should be fine.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Lot Like the Movie!

I liked this book.

It stuck pretty close to the movie,

Though in the end it was more about the main character doing drugs than anything else.

I learned very little about the city of Las Vegas.

"Romance for Men: Pandora's Box" is the opposite of a good book

If you review enough on Amazon, you get plenty of offers for books for review. I delete most of them. I feel bad doing so since they're mostly self-published authors trying to get noticed and to sell books.

But sometimes really cool books are on offer -- or at least books that sound really cool. This book had a lot of names attached that I recognized and it made me excited.

Basically, there are multiple theories about how humor works, but I can tell you where humor doesn't work, and that is in "Romance For Men". I was pretty let down. There is one joke in the book, and it gets old very quickly. The main character grows and changes but deliberately renounces that growth at the end of the book.

I did laugh once  that I remember, in spite of myself.

I think that this is "Romance for Men" in a way that Maxim is a magazine for men -- you know, like not really for adults but aimed at teenagers. I'd call it sophomoric, but that gives it too much credit. I'd say it is more like freshmanic.

(Note: I received a complimentary copy of this title in exchange for a review)

Doctorow not for Everyone.

The society of the future in this book is called the "Bitchun" society. 

It's a first novel, and it shows.

The world building is weak, and the characters lack motivation and then it ends. 

I tried Little Brother and put it down. Tried this one and finished it feeling empty.

I bought a Chromebook. (ASUS Chromebook C300MA-DB01, 13.3-Inch)

I use this for getting on the internet, and it has not let me down.

For the most part.

I use it all the time at home, since I bought it as a cheap replacement for a Kindle Fire and I hated that there was no way to key in things without that touch-screen keyboard.

The thing is I am not that tech smart and I was trying to log it onto the secure network at school. It wouldn't long on. There's an unsecure network but it wouldn't open any pages though it showed it as logged on.  It could be me, but I couldn't log on and that was a pain.

I still like it, even with the learning curve from moving from a windows machine and the Fire -- it is a strange amalgamation of the two. Definitely worth it for the price.

The Ringworld Graphic Novel: Book One

So Ringworld was one of those "Classic" science fiction books I knew I should have already read if I want to claim any sort of expertise in the genre (Note, apparently I hate science fiction -- but that's a discussion for another time). Anyways, I say this book on my library's shelf for new graphic novels. I was excited. I get credit for reading the book, and it's a picture book so it's like there's less work.

But here's the thing. In small print on the cover, it's only part one, and I can't find part two.
This isn't fun because the whole book was just build-up. It was like the first Hobbit movie where the whole the thing is getting the clan together for a quest and then there is...

Hold on, you have to wait for book two.

I don't know who the audience for this book is -- people who have read the book, and want to relive it, or people like me who have never read it.