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A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and central North America (Peterson Field Guides)
A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and central North America (Peterson Field Guides)
by Roger Tory Peterson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.20
109 used & new from $7.95

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Newest Edition does have Colour Photos For EVERY Plant!, October 23, 2012
First off for those with a budding interest in foraging (or gastronomic botany for you fancy dans out there), you must know there is no exhaustive field guide. The field guides set out to give you many of the most common plants, that can be identified relatively easily, and aren't commonly know to cause allergic reactions. If you aren't starving to death, there is no reasonable excuse for not cross referencing and taking every precaution before chowing down. An experienced forager local to you is the best resource for preventing illness or death. That said foraging can be quite enjoyable and help illustrate quite literally how dependent human life is on prolific natural bounty.

The very latest edition DOES have colour photos for every plant. Many have complained about the black and white line drawings of the previous editions and they have changed over to colour photos for their visual references. Personally I thought the line drawings were quite informative. You can make out the details of the plant much more clearly than in photographs and as you should be cross referencing anyway, it's nice to have the different perspective.

Overall I am quite satisfied with this book. I am surprised at the sheer number of plants I am able to identify with the assistance of this book and others like it. It is no substitute for an experienced teacher, nor is it the unquestioned authority in it's field, but if you're looking for a place to start, this is as good as any I've come across. I hope you all can enjoy the wonders of nature and eat a few on the way. Happy foraging.


Heavy Rain - Greatest Hits
Heavy Rain - Greatest Hits
Offered by Shopville USA
Price: $27.86
97 used & new from $8.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fun and Fairly Well Paced Cinematic Experience *SPIOLER*FREE*, September 22, 2012
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Did you say what ever happened to the graphic adventure game? Well then you're in the right place. The real success of this game is its ability to engage the viewer in a interactive cinematic experience that both holds well with the overall story arch and presents interactions with the player which add a new dimension to the overall entertainment. Players looking for a more openly influenced world may feel trapped on the rails of the plot as it progresses, yet even these notions lend well to the hesitations and rush to action the story situations create in the various characters you inhabit and observe.

The game play is either simple exploration of the environment or quick time control of action sequences. Overall game play is well executed, adding to the connection between you and what's happening on the screen. There a few very clever sequences that highlight the experience and foresight of Quantic Dream. On the flip side there are a few sequences that detract from the game and make you wonder why you're playing it in the first place.

As in many graphic adventures you play as a detective; Actually a detective, a criminal profiler, a photographer/journalist, and an architect. The story is cut into a series of vignettes, in which you take control of one character. At first the connection between these characters is not clear and much of the story adds more to the mystery rather than revealing any resolute foundation. At it's best, the story is like Silence of the Lambs in its premise and suspense. Peppered in are tinges of darkness, not unlike Twin Peaks in it's treatment of adult content. There are a few scenes of intense sadism comparable to the Saw movies as well. At it's worst are cheap plot twists that remind one of some of the more poorly written film noir flix; No foreshadowing, intrigue, or insight; Just a plot twist for its effect on the suspenseful overtone. What your left with is series moments where plot, character, environment, and game play sometimes ferment perfectly and at other times the recipe is a off, even unpalatable. I'd be lying if I didn't say there were times I was extremely impressed. It's just that every time it would really start to build on that some other tired cliché or not so well written plot point would get tossed in there. It's better thought out, written, and acted than most movies that come out now a days but, like the recent film Prometheus, they do such a good job yet then fail to put in the extra mile and really set themselves apart.

The graphics are almost second to none. The animation of each character is individualized. They are all full of life and seldom do you get the rag doll puppet vibe typical in video games. I would put this at the top of my cut scene animation list. Even the cinematography is well done for the most part. All this is set to life with a quite exceptional original score.

If this all sounds interesting to you, I'd recommend Heavy Rain all day. It's truly a unique entertainment experience, that caters to non-gamers and gamers alike. I for one would love to see more developers head in this direction and am glad to see the graphic adventure style game get a reboot.


Fallout: New Vegas - Ultimate Edition
Fallout: New Vegas - Ultimate Edition
Price: $13.79
72 used & new from $6.98

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buggy, Yes. Best RPG of this Gen, Absolutely!, June 25, 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
If you haven't played many role playing games or aren't familiar with the current generation Elder Scrolls titles, you might want to look further into the game play of this title. There is quite a lot of wondering and dungeon crawling in this game, that might not be immediately apparent from the action facade on this very complex and involved RPG.

I played the regular version (non-ultimate) a while back and was super impressed with the story, characters, and shear variety of plot altering choices in the game. At first it seemed like a copy and paste job of the Fallout 3, but if you give it a chance the writing and art are way above and beyond it's direct predecessor. After Bioware's wholesale rape of their own franchises and Bethesda's consistently poor writing performance, Obsidian is the best western RPG developer out there in my opinion. Don't get me wrong Bethesda can make a very imaginative and engrossing world, with excellent action RPG game play, but once your 40-50hr into a game, that all fades away if its not supported by good writing and compellingly interactive plot. This was where Bioware excelled but now it seems they would rather convert Gears of War and WoW fans than keep the ones they've got.

This is why I decided to pick up the ultimate edition as well as write this favorable review. It just makes sense to support a company that seems to give a damn about the quality of their product, while so many others do not. The story is slow starting but once you get going it's the best since Fallout 2. From me that's very high praise. The add-ons that come with the ultimate edition surpassed my expectations, and trust me they were quite formidable. I didn't care much for Honest Heart, but you can tell they put way more time into making the area than the story. Overall it was well worth the price and I plan on picking up a copy of Alpha Protocol to further support Obsidian Entertainment.

For those of you that haven't played this generations Elder Scrolls or Fallout 3, a word of warning. These games are quite buggy, despite the fact that they've had several games on the same engines. They are resource hogs and really best suited for a beastly gaming PC. As for console gamers, like myself, I suggest installing it on the hard disk, creating many save files of strategic value, save often, and try not to let these technical issues ruin your experience. It's clear that we have a developer more concerned with setting up a awesome, expansive environment to tell a very unique story, than one concerned with stream line performance and technical prowess. If only the two went hand in hand. Where's the Kojima of the RPG world?

P.S. Bethesda was contracted to handle post release patching of this game, so don't blame Obsidian!


Mass Effect 3 Collector's Edition -Xbox 360
Mass Effect 3 Collector's Edition -Xbox 360
Offered by DealTavern
Price: $59.94
85 used & new from $9.44

3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Surprised, Yet Very Let Down!, April 3, 2012
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
After Bioware's showings on Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age 2, it was quite clear that the EA board room was going to have more control over their games than their development team. Thus you end up with a rushed product. I'm sure the Mass Effect team did their best to reconcile what they felt needed to be done with the demands set upon them. It is not their efforts I critique, but their inability to fight for their own work. You can have a worthy conclusion to the saga or a two year development period, not both. So they saved some money on a short development and they loose a third of their fan base. I urge everyone not to buy this or at the very least wait until it's a value title. I will be selling my copy in order to take another $60 from Bioware/EA. I will not buy any DLC from them ever again and I will never purchase another game from them. What they don't understand is how quickly fans can walk away from them. I urge to do just that. I hope releasing another half baked game was worth it.


Mad Catz X360 - Call of Duty Black OPS PrecisionAIM Controller
Mad Catz X360 - Call of Duty Black OPS PrecisionAIM Controller

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars BOTTOM OF THE LINE SOLD AS TOP OF THE LINE, February 17, 2012
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
So I bought this for something to use with PC and 360. I chose this because it was sold as a high quality controller, and for anyone who hasn't bought generic brand controllers, they're not worth the $10-$20 bucks you save. I used it maybe once or twice a month if not less. Kept it in a temperature controlled environment and didn't wind the wire up tight around it. 7 months in it starts shorting out and a month later was all but unusable. The seller wouldn't replace or refund it and the Mad Catz wouldn't either, so I open it up, did some surgery, cut out the shorts in the wiring, and re-soldier it. It worked great for about 4-5 more months of extremely light use and now another short. What a POS! This is what you'd expect from a $20 knock off, which is what this is, deceptively repackaged with a huge franchise's name, LED analogs, and a few more or less useless bells and whistles. I'll never buy a Mad Catz product again and I strongly suggest you avoid them as well.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 9, 2012 11:48 PM PDT


Final Fantasy XIII-2 - Playstation 3
Final Fantasy XIII-2 - Playstation 3
Price: $9.99
138 used & new from $4.00

6 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A BALANCED REVIEW *SPOILER FREE*, February 5, 2012
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
I am writing this review because most of the reviews that are critical of this game, are written from the perspective of someone who hasn't enjoyed a Final Fantasy game for at least the past 2-3 titles. This is an all too common stand point. To me, if your expectation of the newest Final Fantasy is unwaveringly linked to reverence of your experience of a previous Final Fantasy, you haven't left the door open to let this new experience in. And then there are those on the other side of the fence, that are so pleased with a return to a nonlinear format that they entirely omit any mention of the obviously rushed development of the game, and the consequences it has. I will not go far into the game play, but focus mainly on the overall experience.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: It throws you right into this awesome battle, I would have liked some explanation, but it was fun. I'm not a huge fan of quick time events, but the way they're done is good and adds to the action, and they're not over used. The battle system's the same as 13 more or less. You unlock moves WAY quicker, which those of us who played 13, it gets you into the advanced tactics quick and makes the battles more fun. The live events (mostly dialogue choices) seem tacked on. There are a few of them that actually have an impact on what happens which is a nice twist. Overall, If I wanted character-controlled dialogue, I'd be playing Mass Effect.

STORY: It seems odd they didn't just introduce a new Fal'Cie or L'cie and go from there. It takes guts to diverge the way they have but, fans of 13 might be put off. The themes and premise are compelling and speak to the core of corporeal existence. Once again the mixture mythos, allegory, and metaphor set a rich stage on which this drama unfolds. The execution of the story on the other hand, really seemed underdeveloped and in parts, not well thought out. Its pacing is somewhat sporadic and the story that is there seems more like a rough draft. It lacks the polish and refinement I've come to expect from Square Enix.
The premise supports separate, even contradictory plot lines. The premise itself is compelling but most of the diverging plot lines seem at times inconsequential or even an unwelcome and unneeded aside to the main thrust of the story. With the main story being very short for a Final Fantasy game, these alternate plot lines end up carrying the late game plot. These are welcome additions, but none of them equate to anything more than mildly interesting "what if" situations. Not something all that satisfying coming from the king of video game story telling.
The characters aren't well established and their development is sporadic. Your interest in them is assumed, not built up or earned. What really added insult to injury is that the full ending will only be available as DLC. I assure you I will not be purchasing this and for anyone that wishes these sorts of tactics by developers to be nipped in the bud, I suggest you avoid it as well. If we as gamers make these strategies financial pitfalls, they will cease to plague the industry.

SUMMARY:As a sequel to arguably the most polarizing title of the current generation, it attempts to address the issues players had with its predecessor. It does so not through an extreme open world format, but a collection of non linear, divergent pathways that are supported by the main story. In this it was extremely successful. It falls short in the hallmark character and story development the series is known for. It's not that what's there is without merit, it's just that it feels more like a preliminary version of what could have been. You end up with a game that feels more designed by the board room's bullet points of expectations based on a sales strategy, than its development team.
If this were any other title I'm sure I wouldn't be as critical. Final Fantasy has consistently set the bar extremely high. Of course, if this were any other title I wouldn't have pre-ordered it and might have abandoned playing it 6 or 7 hours in due to the lacking in the story's execution and character's development. This game took advantage of my affection for it's predecessors and I'll be extremely wary in the future of any forth coming Square Enix games without at least a four year development period. That being said it is not an altogether unenjoyable play especially if you go in with few expectations. I tried my best keep an open mind. Now that I have nearly done all there is to do in this game, I feel my disappointment is justified.


Final Fantasy XIII-2 Collector's Edition -Xbox 360
Final Fantasy XIII-2 Collector's Edition -Xbox 360
Offered by More4Less4U
Price: $58.30
43 used & new from $20.95

3 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars *SPOILER FREE*They needed a cash infusion, not new fans*SPOILER FREE*, February 5, 2012
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
MY PERSPECTIVE: I have been playing RPG's for about 10 years, since the first KOTOR got me into it. At first I was really hesitant to get into the any Final Fantasy games. It just seemed too kiddy, the character design was fruity, it seemed like a mish-mash of fantasy / sci-fi that just clashed, and was filled with mellow drama (all the same reasons I don't like any current anime series). I tried 11 and gave up 25 hours in. Then I tried 12 which I played the h*ll out of. It was HUGE, had a top-notch story and cinematics, was very original, and really gave you way more than your money's worth. It was too much game for me, but I was happy not completing every little thing or getting fully leveled. So I played 13 and it surpassed my every expectation. The story and the way it's told was the best I've seen in a game, and rivals the best of fantasy / sci-fi movies. The characters were well developed, realistic, and extremely well voiced. The fully rendered cut scenes are the best out there and plentiful. In the current gaming world, where games are rushed and buggy, good designers are undervalued, good writing is none existent, and programmers are a dime a dozen, this game shows how good a game can be if you do it right. This is my personal favorite of the current generation.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: It throws you right into this awesome battle, I would have liked some explanation, but it was fun. I'm not a huge fan of quick time events, but the way they're done is good and adds to the action, spicing up the battle. The battle system's the same as 13 more or less. You unlock moves WAY quicker, which those of us who played 13, it gets you into the advanced tactics quick and makes the battles more fun. The live events (mostly dialogue choices) seem tacked on. If I want character-controlled dialogue, I'll play Mass Effect. They really should have put that effort into developing the main characters and story.

STORY: It seems odd they didn't just introduce a new Fal'Cie or L'cie, go from there. The story really seemed underdeveloped and not well thought out. The first 15 hours really lack any real plot or character development. The story that is there is seems more like a rough draft or after thought. The premise supports separate plot lines, but none of them really grab you or are well thought-out. Even the main story grabs you for hour or so only to leave you adrift for 10 hours, then grabs you again but going in some other direction. There plot points that seem they should be major that are given only a passing glance and themes that are belabored. The characters aren't well established and their development is sporadic. There are parts that are really great and get you going, but they are just too few and too thoughtlessly developed. This is where good character development could have picked up the slack but it seem that they just took the bun out of the oven a year too soon and you know it's not going back. What really added insult to injury was the to be continued ending. Really?

OVERALL: If this were any other title I'm sure I wouldn't be as critical. Final Fantasy has consistently set the bar extremely high. Of course, if this were any other title I wouldn't have pre-ordered it and most likely would have abandoned playing it 6 or 7 hours in due to the lack of compelling story. It's really the underdeveloped story and characters that bother me. I feel like this game took advantage of my love of 13 and I'll be extremely wary of any forth coming squaresoft game without at least a three year development time. I thought a sequel this quick was too good to be true and it was. That being said it is not an altogether unenjoyable play especially if you go in with no expectations. I tried my best keep an open mind. Now that I have beaten it (I didn't 100% it but I have ~120 fragments) I am purging my disappointment with this review. I really, really liked 13 and wish I could call this a worthy sequel.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 23, 2012 7:58 AM PDT


Final Fantasy XIII: Platinum Hits
Final Fantasy XIII: Platinum Hits
Price: $14.96
209 used & new from $0.99

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BEST GAME EVER!, February 5, 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
THE ROOT OF PEOPLE DISLIKING THIS GAME IS NOT BEING ABLE TO GET OVER YOUR EXPECTATIONS AND EXPERIENCING THE GAME. JUST PLAY YOUR FAVORITE FF GAME IF THAT'S WHAT YOU WANT, IF NOT DON'T BASH THIS FOR NOT GIVING YOU THE SAME FUZZY FEELING. GET READY FOR A NEW FUZZY FEELING. I have been playing RPG's for about 10 years, since the first KOTOR got me into it. At first I was really hesitant to get into the any Final Fantasy games. It just seemed too kiddy, the character design was fruity, it seemed like a mish-mash of fantasy / sci-fi that just clashed, and was filled with mellow drama (all the same reasons I don't like any current anime series). I tried 11 and gave up 25 hours in. Then I tried 12 which I played the h*ll out of. It was HUGE, had a top-notch story and cinematics, was very original, and really gave you way more than your moneys worth. It was too much game for me, but I was happy not completing every little thing or getting fully leveled. I still beat the game and enjoyed almost more than any other game. So I played 13 and it surpassed my every expectation. The story and the way it's told was the best I've seen in a game, and rivals the best of fantasy / sci-fi movies. The characters were well developed, realistic, and extremely well voiced. The fully rendered cut scenes are the best out there and plentiful. In the current gaming world, where games are rushed and buggy, good designers are undervalued, good writing is none existent, and programmers are a dime a dozen, this game shows how good a game can be if you do it right. A major complaint about it is that it's too linear, as other final fantasy games are very open. The leveling is very linear as well and doesn't allow for personalization. To me this wasn't a minus. It kept me out of the menu, worrying about what the pros and cons of some level would do for the overall progression of my character, and kept me in the game, experiencing this awesome world they've created. There is plenty (arguably too much) customization in the equipment and tactics anyway. As for the linear level design, it REALLY opens up late in the story. You can play +100 hours, in varying, beautiful environments, with ever-greater challenges just waiting for you. I think the root of this complaint is people that were huge fans of 12 and wanted a similar game play (don't let your expectations ruin an amazing game). The battle system, though turn based is fast paced, and engrossing. The scaling of difficulty is well done. Once you get good at the tactics you can battle monsters that would be otherwise way out of your league. This is 2012 and there still is no RPG this good out on the current systems. This is my personal favorite game of all time.


Final Fantasy XIII - Playstation 3
Final Fantasy XIII - Playstation 3
Offered by NYC Electronics
Price: $19.57
164 used & new from $6.49

5.0 out of 5 stars BEST GAME EVER!, February 5, 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
THE ROOT OF PEOPLE DISLIKING THIS GAME IS NOT BEING ABLE TO GET OVER YOUR EXPECTATIONS AND EXPERIENCING THE GAME. JUST PLAY YOUR FAVORITE FF GAME IF THAT'S WHAT YOU WANT, IF NOT DON'T BASH THIS FOR NOT GIVING YOU THE SAME FUZZY FEELING. GET READY FOR A NEW FUZZY FEELING. I have been playing RPG's for about 10 years, since the first KOTOR got me into it. At first I was really hesitant to get into the any Final Fantasy games. It just seemed too kiddy, the character design was fruity, it seemed like a mish-mash of fantasy / sci-fi that just clashed, and was filled with mellow drama (all the same reasons I don't like any current anime series). I tried 11 and gave up 25 hours in. Then I tried 12 which I played the h*ll out of. It was HUGE, had a top-notch story and cinematics, was very original, and really gave you way more than your moneys worth. It was too much game for me, but I was happy not completing every little thing or getting fully leveled. I still beat the game and enjoyed almost more than any other game. So I played 13 and it surpassed my every expectation. The story and the way it's told was the best I've seen in a game, and rivals the best of fantasy / sci-fi movies. The characters were well developed, realistic, and extremely well voiced. The fully rendered cut scenes are the best out there and plentiful. In the current gaming world, where games are rushed and buggy, good designers are undervalued, good writing is none existent, and programmers are a dime a dozen, this game shows how good a game can be if you do it right. A major complaint about it is that it's too linear, as other final fantasy games are very open. The leveling is very linear as well and doesn't allow for personalization. To me this wasn't a minus. It kept me out of the menu, worrying about what the pros and cons of some level would do for the overall progression of my character, and kept me in the game, experiencing this awesome world they've created. There is plenty (arguably too much) customization in the equipment and tactics anyway. As for the linear level design, it REALLY opens up late in the story. You can play +100 hours, in varying, beautiful environments, with ever-greater challenges just waiting for you. I think the root of this complaint is people that were huge fans of 12 and wanted a similar game play (don't let your expectations ruin an amazing game). The battle system, though turn based is fast paced, and engrossing. The scaling of difficulty is well done. Once you get good at the tactics you can battle monsters that would be otherwise way out of your league. This is 2012 and there still is no RPG this good out on the current systems. This is my personal favorite game of all time.


Multimedia Enhanced 300MBPS Wireless N Gaming Router with Stream Engine Technolo
Multimedia Enhanced 300MBPS Wireless N Gaming Router with Stream Engine Technolo

4.0 out of 5 stars It fit the bill for me., August 29, 2011
I shopped around and settled on a D-Link DIR-815 N 300 Dual Band Router for a multimedia upgrade router. That's another story of course, but I wouldn't recommend it. So then I turned this one up. I don't know if it has changes but hardware v 1.20.0 has the 10/100/1000 switches in all connections. The specs here list onlt 10/100 switches. I haven't pushed to the limits under test conditions, of course expect lower than the advertised overall thru put. She moves some traffic once you get started. SMA detachable antennas on mine (also not always on the spec sheets). I upgraded to 9dbi antenna on the receive side only, which is good for a big old house with metal pipes and who knows what in the mortar and plaster. All multi media sources are relatively close to radio source, I wouldn't count on really far coverage at N speeds unless its a line of sight connection or you upgrade the antenna, localize the signal direction, over clock, or whatever. Haven't tried QoS. For multiple higher bandwidth connections, best results are from sustained connections with consistent volumes of traffic over time. Mac address filter and firewall seem to work fine, with no real effect on performance. Have to reset it maybe once every few months. The one I got seems pretty solid. At $90 new, it fit the bill and I feel I got my money's worth, without a bag of chips. I'm sure there are lemons out there, but give it a shot if you get it somewhere with a good return policy.


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