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Mastering Leptin: Your Guide to Permanent Weight Loss and Optimum Health
Mastering Leptin: Your Guide to Permanent Weight Loss and Optimum Health
Price: $9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Strange choice of theme, and too long, but nonetheless very good, March 25, 2014
The core prescription for this book is very compact -- it's five rules for how/when to eat. They don't include a planned diet, and the authors essentially 'outsource' this task to any one of the numerous modern high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets (except Atkins).

If you're the kind of person who will happily just comply with such a prescription, without needing to answer 'Why?', this book is going to seem far, far too long for you. Each chapter goes into significant depth about the hormonal interactions that leptin coordinates in one's body, along with little nudges -- like supplements or sleep changes, e.g. -- that can rebalance those interactions if they are out of whack.

Frankly, not ALL of the hormonal balancing that they're describing ties as tightly to leptin as they keep insisting. So the overarching 'Mastering Leptin' title actually seems more like 'hormonal balancing' to me. But so what? The key takeaway, for me, was that leptin (a signaling hormone produced by white fat cells) gets imbalanced by certain eating patterns, and the stuff one does to straighten out leptin issues will inevitably coincide with other salutary hormonal benefits -- e.g., getting insulin sensitivity good and high.

I happened across this book when I was actually in the process of trying to GAIN a little weight, rather than lose it. The weight that I put on was much leaner than what I put on during previous attempts at bulking up. Occasionally I get hungry, but it's not that bad, and in general I feel great.


Skullcandy Fix In Ear Headphone With 3 Button Remote - White / Chrome
Skullcandy Fix In Ear Headphone With 3 Button Remote - White / Chrome
Offered by Green Shopping
Price: $39.95
18 used & new from $21.77

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great workout earbuds, March 23, 2014
This is my third pair of Skullcandy earbuds, and the most useful for their intended purpose: working out at the gym.

The Mic3 arrangement is good: I can leave the iPhone in a fanny pack or armband and still adjust the volume.

The angled tips are even better: the cords rest right up against my jaw, and there's not enough of the back end of the bud to act as leverage to pull the buds out. This was the real weak point of my Full Metal Jackets -- they stood maybe 1/2 inch out of the ear and the cord came out of the back, so any tug on the cord knocked the bud out of orientation or all the way out of the ear. In addition to the added security, the angled tips seem to do a better job of aiming the sound into my cranium. Skullcandy is not audiophile gear, but the added isolation and straighter path to the eardrum makes these sound sweeter than my previous two pairs. The isolation is pretty exceptional -- I was listening to music this morning and didn't realize that my wife was running our (loud) blender about ten feet away.

There are a couple things I would've done differently:

1. I don't like having the buttons on the left ear cable. I guess it won't kill me to learn to use my left hand a little better, but still I would've preferred having my dominant hand at the controls.

2. The cable is a rubbery plastic. I find that fabric coverings do a better job moving freely against the skin when I channel the cord through my t-shirt. If the plastic covering adheres to the skin at all, it has a tendency to pull on the buds when I move. This is less of a problem with the Fix buds than some, because they're in the ear very solidly, but I still would have liked fabric coverings like I had on my pair of Holuas.

The last thing to note is about Skullcandy generally: they stand by their stuff. My Holuas were nice-sounding, nice-looking phones that were just too delicate. When I sent them in, Skullcandy gave me a coupon good for up to $100 at their web store to buy the replacement -- two and a half years after purchase, without any hassle whatsoever. And that's how I got these. If you're like me, you're more likely to lose your earbuds in the span of two and a half years than you are to need replacements. But if the build quality proves to be lacking, you can extend their life through the outstanding warranty.


Pilot [HD]
Pilot [HD]
DVD

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I doubt I would become a dedicated viewer, March 6, 2014
There are a few fun personalities in the pilot, but a lot of the dialogue and situations are recycled. The scrappy-underdogs-come-together-in-the-face-of-adversity plot line that the pilot hints at for Season 1 has been handled in some very, very similar ways in various sports movies.

I don't have a big problem with swearing, even lots of swearing, where the writers are trying to write realistic lines for profane characters. But the dialogue in this show is not realistic in the least; everything is highly posed. The relentless obscenity just comes off as gratuitous and silly.


The Redbreast
The Redbreast
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $6.83

5.0 out of 5 stars More literature than crime fiction, January 24, 2014
This review is from: The Redbreast (Kindle Edition)
This book is thoroughly different from most detective novels. Usually, Inspector Hole would drive the narrative, whether he was telling the story or was observed by a third person narrator. But this book dances dizzyingly between several points of view over multiple time spans, and the whole story coalesces slowly for the reader -- but even MORE slowly for our hero (who in fact has yet to solve one thread of the crime by book's end). Letters, memoranda, even answering machine messages are all voices from which the reader eventually teases out the plot.

The book's first several hundred pages, then, read more like a moderately ambitious modern novel from literary fiction than it does like a book from the ranks of more traditional detective fiction.

At the end, I think Nesbo couldn't figure out a way to extend the tortuous narrative technique all the way through the book, and for the denouement, things actually become fairly conventional. Nonetheless, it's a very exciting finish -- and frankly, I was happy that for the last couple hundred pages, I could just read a story about a likable detective finding out what happened. That first two thirds was actually some real brain work.

Since Nesbo left one of the crimes unsolved, you will have no choice but to get your hands on book #2 (I'm on my way right now...). Consider yourself warned.


The Essential Smart Football
The Essential Smart Football
Price: $2.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff, but not the best Chris Brown I've ever read, January 10, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Chris Brown is an amazing football resource online. This book is a collection of some good essays from his weblog Smart Football. They are more personality-based than some of his work, and I think he's at his best talking raw Xs and Os. But it's affordable, and it will give you a good overview of the state of the art as of about 2012. Certainly, this book will help an eager layperson get a much, much more finely tuned sense of the game s/he's watching.


The Barkeep
The Barkeep
Price: $4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of great characters and narrative technique, January 9, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Barkeep (Kindle Edition)
This book is pretty unusual in how it advances the story. It's all in third-person narrative, but the narrator adopts tonal qualities to reflect the various characters whose stories are in each chapter. Especially interesting, to me, was the main characters who tell the story.

The protagonist Justin Chase has been making intensive efforts, for years, to get out-of-touch with his feelings. Because of the nature of the family mystery he has to solve, his attempts to seal off the world become less and less successful, even as he comes closer to the mystery's solution. His increased openness to the world bleeds through into the narrative, and into his understanding of the crime; the interplay of affective growth and informational revelation is quite tricky.

The other great character is a mildly-retarded psychopathic hit man, who really lives the detachment that Justin Chase has been vainly trying to adopt. Because the hit man doesn't concern himself with the 'why' of his actions at all, we are able to learn about all sorts of crimes he's committing, without really gaining any clue as to who's pulling the strings.


Access to Power
Access to Power
Price: $0.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Ellis can do a lot better than this, December 26, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Access to Power (Kindle Edition)
I bought this after I read, and thoroughly enjoyed, another of Ellis's books, The Dead Room. This book is such a clunker I won't even bother to finish it. The characters are flat, and the dialogue and descriptions just don't ring true. It was kind of hard for me to believe the two books were written by the same person. Perhaps it's the editor. Anyway, this is one to avoid.


Power Systems Lock-Jaw Pro Barbell Collar
Power Systems Lock-Jaw Pro Barbell Collar
Offered by Net Savings
Price: $36.99
17 used & new from $30.72

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much better than alternatives I've used; still not perfect, December 26, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I'm a little fussy about having my barbell plates stand still. My gym doesn't have enough collars for all the bars, and the collars they do have were unsatisfactory. So I decided to upgrade and bring my own collars from home.

If a whole lot of weight comes down on the floor fast, these will still shift a little bit, which is a little irritating (like I said, I'm fussy). But there's zero chance that they're actually going to allow the weight to come off -- or really, even shift more than about a quarter of an inch over the course of a set.

I'm pretty sure that as long as I'm staying below about 35 pounds per side, I can even do exercises that involve having the barbell perpendicular to the floor (e.g., the barbell side press) without any sliding around. They grip pretty tight once the red tab engages. (I should note that the enclosed instructions say that one should NOT do this, but I suspect that's legal CYA, not the actual limits of the product.)

The red tab, BTW, isn't really a "lock." If you pull up on the black cam, it will open without having to disengage the red tab separately. The red tab provides just enough extra 'pinch' to keep the rubber pads compressed, which is really the key to the whole mechanism working effectively. The non-pro variant of this collar doesn't keep them under as much tension, I would guess, and so they would tend to slide around more.


Dead I Well May Be: A Novel
Dead I Well May Be: A Novel
Offered by Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
Price: $12.38

5.0 out of 5 stars Michael Forsythe -- bloody vengeance, December 26, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This was my first exposure to Adrian McKinty, and his first (anti)hero, Michael Forsythe. Forsythe is a hoodlum from Northern Ireland who emigrates to the U.S. seeking a job. He gets a job with a New York Irish crime syndicate, and although his on-the-job performance is impressive, he causes himself a load of trouble by sleeping with the boss's girlfriend.

The boss tries to rid himself of Forsythe, but is ultimately unsuccessful. Forsythe must survive under brutal conditions, and keeps his motivation up solely with thoughts of bloody revenge.

In its vengeance-centric plot contours, this book reminded me a lot of Donald Westlake's implacable Parker novels. But Michael Forsythe, unlike Parker, has feelings. Indeed, the book's style verges on poetry at times; certainly, McKinty's writing is far more lyrical than most crime writers. Of the well-known crime authors out there, McKinty reminds me most of Dennis Lehane in terms of his style of writing.

I've read six McKinty books by now, and this one, along with the first of his Sean Duffy trilogy, is the best. The Bloomsday Dead is a good enough closer to the Forsythe trilogy to make it worth one's while to read the second one for the sake of completeness.

Definitely read this if you're into crime fiction, and especially crime fiction that's written outside the usual stripped-down stylistic conventions of the genre. Adrian McKinty is a reliable producer, and this is probably the best he's done to date.


Cross Desk Set, Double Desk Set, Walnut Finish with Lustrous Gold Ballpoint Pen and 0.7 mm Pencil (5201)
Cross Desk Set, Double Desk Set, Walnut Finish with Lustrous Gold Ballpoint Pen and 0.7 mm Pencil (5201)
Price: $157.48
28 used & new from $89.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as well built as old Cross, but still pretty nice, December 26, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The pen and pencil lack heft, and the mechanisms are less than completely smooth. But the whole set taken together looks great, which I guess is really the point when you're essentially talking about jewelry for your desk.


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