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Long Trek Home
Long Trek Home
Price: $9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 4000 miles from Seattle to the Aleutians on foot and ski and by packraft with a soul mate, February 10, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Long Trek Home (Kindle Edition)
The book "Long Trek Home" tells the story of a married couple and wilderness hikers Erin Mckittrick and her husband Bretwood (Hig) Higman, and their 4000-mile journey from Seattle to the Aleutians, on foot and ski, and by packraft. Their journey took more than a year.

**Spoiler Alert**

During the journey, they witnessed the full cycle of the seasons, from steaming hot summer in Seattle, to Fall in Juneau, to the depth of winter on the Lost Coast and in the Copper Basin, to spring on the Alaska Peninsula and their final destination Unimak, the first volcanic island of the Aleutians. On the way, they endured extreme weather of rain, snow, sleet, and bitter cold. They were constantly hungry, rationing the food they carried on their backs to reach the next village and re-supply point. During a harrowing crossing of the ice-packed Icy Bay, Erin and Hig decided to start a family, as an affirmation to life. Erin got pregnant during the latter part of their journey and their son, whom she and her husband named Katmai after a volcano on the Alaska Peninsula, was a hiker before he was born.

**End of Possible Spoilers"

Erin and Hig owed their success not only to the fact that they were experienced wilderness hikers, who logged more than 3000 miles in the Alaska wilderness through the years prior to their momentous journey, but also to the fact that they are true soul mates who share similar interests and inspirations. With the companionship and encouragement from each other, they accomplished an extraordinary feet that neither of them could achieve alone.

Erin and Hig are devoted environmentalists. Both are highly educated – Erin has a master degree in molecular biology and Hig a PhD in geology. They are the founders of a non-profit environmental organization known as “Ground Truth Trekking”, the function of which is “to educate and engage the public on Alaska’s natural resource issues through a combination of wilderness adventure, scientific analysis, and the creation of web resources.” Throughout the book, there are keen observations of the environmental impacts of fish farms, clear-cut forests, mining, and climate change along their route.

I own both the Kindle and the Audible version of the book, but I prefer the Audible. I like the convenience of listening to the book while I do other chores or drive. I used the Kindle only for reference. The narrator Lisa Bimbaum is an excellent reader. Her reading is clear and easy to understand. She adds drama to her narration by imitating the voice of the characters. For example, she deepens her voice while reading Hig’s conversations, adds a Swedish accent to the words of a water district official, and imitates the shallow breath of a school-girl’s voice.


Journey On The Wild Coast
Journey On The Wild Coast
DVD

4.0 out of 5 stars How to walk 4000 miles from Seattle to the Aleutians with a soul mate, February 4, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Journey On The Wild Coast is a video log of a married couple and wilderness hikers Erin Mckittrick and her husband Bretwood (Hig) Higman, and their 4000-mile journey from Seattle to the Aleutians, on foot and ski, and by packraft. Their journey took more than a year.

**Spoiler Alert**

During the journey, they witnessed the full cycle of the seasons, from steaming hot summer in Seattle, to Fall in Juneau, to the depth of winter on the Lost Coast and in the Copper Basin, to spring on the Alaska Peninsula and their final destination Unimak, the first volcanic island of the Aleutians. On the way, they endured extreme weather of rain, snow, sleet, and bitter cold. They were constantly hungry, rationing the food they carried on their backs to reach the next village and re-supply point. During a harrowing crossing of the ice-packed Icy Bay, Erin and Hig decided to start a family, as an affirmation to life. Erin got pregnant during the latter part of their journey and their son, whom she and her husband named Katmai after a volcano on the Alaska Peninsula, was a hiker before he was born.

**End of Possible Spoilers"

Erin and Hig owed their success not only to the fact that they were experienced wilderness hikers, who logged more than 3000 miles in the Alaska wilderness through the years prior to their momentous journey, but also to the fact that they are true soul mates who share similar interests and inspirations. With the companionship and encouragement from each other, they accomplished an extraordinary feet that neither of them could achieve alone.

This video was made in 2007 with a hand-held camera, which is not quite up to par with today’s HD equipment. The video quality is mediocre. The video can best be viewed after reading Erin’s book “Long Trek Home”, which gives a detailed account of their remarkable journey. First time viewers of the video may find the story disjoint and segmented and hard to follow. For example, in the video, the viewer saw photos of the couple on their packrafts near a gigantic oil tanker, followed by photo of a US Coast Guard vessel, without any narration of what happened there. The story is that they paddled too close to the tanker, which had a 300 feet perimeter limit, and they were briefly detained by the Coast Guard for doing so.


Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas
Price: $13.34
41 used & new from $9.11

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing little Amira, November 13, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Merry Christmas (Audio CD)
In October 2013, nine-year-old Amira Willighagen amazed and delighted classical music fans with her performance of “O mio babbino caro” in Holland’s Got Talent. The video of her performance on Youtube received more than 35 million hits worldwide to-date. Her first album Amira, published on March 2014, was a resounding success, reaching number 7 on the US Billboard Classical Chart.

Her latest CD “Merry Christmas” is her second album, released on November 13 this year in the US just in time for the holiday season. Besides the familiar Christmas carols, Amira sings several well-known arias and sacred hymns:

Ave verum corpus (Hail True Body) (Mozart) – an Eucharistic hymn in Latin to celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi (Body of Christ), set to music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Bist du bei mir (If you are with me) – an aria attributed to Johann Sebastian Bach. It is from Bach’s “Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach”, a manuscript of keyboard music and a few arias presented by the German composer to his second wife Anna Magdalena

Nulla in mundo pax (In this world there is no honest peace) – a sacred motet (choral music) in Latin composed by Antonio Vivaldi

Ave Maria (Hail Mary) (Vavilov/Caccini)– a Catholic prayer in Latin to the Virgin Mary, set to music by the Russian composer Vladimir Vavilov around 1970. Some music historians attribute the music to the 17th century Italian composer Giulio Caccini

Pie Jesu (Pious Jesus) (Fauré) – a Latin hymn in Gabriel Fauré's Requiem (Mass for the Dead)

Panis angelicus (Angelic Bread) (Franck) – a Latin hymn written by St. Thomus Aquinas for the feast of Corpus Christi, set to music by the Belgium composer César Franck

Sancta Maria (Holy Mary) (Mascagni) – a prayer to the Holy Mother, set to music by the Italian composer Pietro Mascagni

Little Amira Willighagen has an amazing singing voice. Even more amazing is that she was singing opera arias by the age of nine without having any formal training. She is a natural, but she does need professional training for further development. As far as I know, Maike van de Wiel was her singing coach in 2014, in preparation of and during the production of her first CD Amira. As gifted a singer as she is, Amira is still a child. Her classical singing style places tremendous stress on her immature vocal cord and larynx. I surely hope that the adults around her have the wisdom to guide her on the proper technique so that she will grow up to be a successful classical singer.
Comment Comments (11) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 4, 2016 12:10 PM PDT


Wana Baraka
Wana Baraka
Price: $0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Aleluja, November 5, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Wana Baraka (MP3 Music)
Wana Baraka is a Christian spiritual song from Kenya, Africa. It is sung in Swahili. This arrangement starts with a simple melody a cappella, alternating between male and female voices, while supported by a simple harmony. The song slowly builds to a crescendo where the entire choir sings the word “aleluja”. I find the song joyous and uplifting.

The Cape Town Youth Choir was found in 1997 as the Pro Cantu Youth Choir. It is based in Jan Van Riebeeck High School in Cape Town, South Africa. The current conductor is Leon Starker. Through the years, the choir has toured extensively in South Africa as well as internationally, and won many awards. See my comment below for an approximate translation of the lyrics.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 5, 2015 7:10 AM PST


I Grandi Successi
I Grandi Successi
Price: $11.99
60 used & new from $10.73

5.0 out of 5 stars Gigliola Cinquetti's The Greatest Hits, July 12, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: I Grandi Successi (Audio CD)
Gigliola Cinquetti's "I Grandi Successi (The Greatest Hits)" is a nice collection of songs performed by the Italian pop singer over the years. It consists of twenty four songs in two CDs and comes with three well-known hits - "Non ho l'età (I'm not old enough)", "Dio, come ti amo (God, how I love you), and "Si (Yes)"

"Non ho l'età" was the song that launched the career of the renowned Italian singer, who, at the age of sixteen, won the first place in the 1964 Eurovision Song Contest at the Tivoli Concert Hall in Copenhagen, Denmark with it. The song became an international hit and placed no. 1 on the Italy Musica e Dischi and 17 on the UK Singles charts. "Non ho l'età" was composed by Mario Panzeri and the lyrics written by Nicola Salerno in Italian. Gigliola Cinquetti also recorded an English version of the song titled "This is My Prayer", but it is the Italian lyrics in Non ho l'età that bring out the beauty of the song.

"Dio, come ti amo" was recorded in 1966 and placed no. 1 on the Italy Musica e Dischi chart. In 1974, Gigliola Cinquetti entered the Eurovison Song Contest for the second time and won second place with "Si". See my comment below for the Italian lyrics and the English translation of "Non ho l'età".
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 12, 2015 9:34 AM PDT


Non ho l'età (Remastered)
Non ho l'età (Remastered)
Price: $0.89

5.0 out of 5 stars I'm not old enough, July 8, 2015
"Non ho l'età (I'm not old enough)" was the song that launched the career of the renowned Italian singer Gigliola Cinquetti, who, at the age of sixteen, won the first place in the 1964 Eurovision Song Contest with it. The song became an international hit and placed no. 1 on the Italy Musica e Dischi and 17 on the UK Singles charts. The cover art shows the 16-year-old Gigliola in the Eurovision Song Contest at the Tivoli Concert Hall in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1964.

Non ho l'età was composed by Mario Panzeri and the lyrics written by Nicola Salerno in Italian. Gigliola Cinquetti also recorded an English version of the song titled "This is My Prayer", but it is the Italian lyrics in Non ho l'età that bring out the beauty of the song. See my comment below for the Italian lyrics and the English translation.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 8, 2015 12:04 PM PDT


Ava Maria
Ava Maria

5.0 out of 5 stars La Novia, July 7, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Ava Maria (MP3 Music)
Ave Maria by Anita Bryant is the English version of La Novia (The Bride), written in 1958 by the Chilean musician Joaquin Prieto with Spanish lyrics. The English lyrics were written by Fred Lay. Many recordings of La Novia were made, both in Spanish and English. Among the English recordings, Ave Maria by Anita Bryant is one of the most successful ones, the most popular being The Wedding by Julie Rogers. However, artistically, Anita Bryant's Ave Maria rivals Julie Rogers' The Wedding. Anita Bryant is a powerful singer. Her rendition of Ave Maria embodies the joy and elation of the bride whose dream of walking down the aisle with the man she loves finally comes true (See Note). See my comment below for the lyrics of this beautiful song.

Note: The lyrics of the English version and the original Spanish version of this song are very different in content. In many articles, Fred Lay is listed as the translator of the lyrics, but the truth is that he re-wrote the lyrics, giving them entirely different meaning. While the English lyrics show the joy and elation of the bride in her wedding, the original Spanish lyrics express the sorrow and regret of a failed suitor of the bride in her wedding. It is terribly depressing. I like the English version better.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 7, 2015 2:36 PM PDT


The Wedding
The Wedding
Price: $0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars La Novia, July 6, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Wedding (MP3 Music)
The Wedding by Julie Rogers is the English version of La Novia (The Bride), written in 1958 by the Chilean musician Joaquin Prieto with Spanish lyrics. The English lyrics were written by Fred Lay. Many recordings of La Novia were made, both in Spanish and English, but, in my opinion, this 1964 Julie Rogers version The Wedding is the definitive recording that put the song on the chart and in the consciousness of music lovers of the world. Julie Rogers' powerful rendition of the song embraces the joy and elation of the bride whose dream of walking down the aisle with the man she loves finally comes true (See Note). See my comment below for the lyrics of this beautiful song.

Note: The lyrics of the English version and the original Spanish version of this song are very different in content. In many articles, Fred Lay is listed as the translator of the lyrics, but the truth is that he re-wrote the lyrics, giving them entirely different meaning. While the English lyrics show the joy and elation of the bride in her wedding, the original Spanish lyrics express the sorrow and regret of a failed suitor of the bride in her wedding. It is terribly depressing. I like the English version better.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 6, 2015 3:59 PM PDT


Scotch 414/DC Extreme Mounting Tape, 1 by 60-Inch, Black
Scotch 414/DC Extreme Mounting Tape, 1 by 60-Inch, Black
Price: $7.72
13 used & new from $5.82

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Works well outdoors, June 30, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This Scotch 414/DC Extreme Mounting Tape works well outdoors. More than a month ago, I used this tape to mount two 7 x 11-inch plastic signs on the exterior of my house, one on a block wall and one on a stucco wall. I lined the entire perimeter of each sign with the tape to afford the signs plenty of holding power. The signs are holding fast so far. The tape stood up to the desert sun and a couple of monsoons with no problem.


Pioneer Elite VSX-90 7.2 Channel A/V Receiver (Black)
Pioneer Elite VSX-90 7.2 Channel A/V Receiver (Black)
Price: $700.00
4 used & new from $469.99

8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big, heavy, and loaded with features, June 27, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
BIG, HEAVY, AND LOADED WITH FEATURES

This Pioneer VSX-90 Receiver is big, measuring 17 inches long, 12-3/4 inches deep, and 6-1/2 inches high and takes up the lion's share of shelf space. It is also heavy, weighing about 20 pounds. It takes a strong back to move it around. It is loaded with features. It will take some time for a new user to explore all of them and make all the necessary connections. It can be intimating to an average user like myself.

THE VIDEO

I don't have a home theater. I use the VSX-90 in my game room/home office to connect a Dell computer, a Samsung BD/DVD player, a PS3, a PS4, and a Xbox 360 game console to a Dell 24-inch 1920 X 1200 Ultra Sharp monitor. The VSX 90 comes with 6 HDMI sockets on the back panel and a single HDMI socket in front, which are perfect for connecting my equipment, since they all came with HDMI connections. HDMI carries not only video but audio as well, thus eliminating the need of audio input cables. The VSX-90 supposedly supports 4K2K Ultra HD video, which translates into 4096 x 2160 pixels or 4 times the resolution of the 2048 x 1080 Full HD. Ultra HD is necessary for monitors or HDTVs with screens larger than 55 inches. In my case, Ultra HD is not going to make any difference on my 24-inch monitor.

The VSX-90 is compatible with the newest HDCP 2.2 protocol, which stands for High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection. At the VSX-90 back panel, the HDMI sockets labeled BD, DVD, SAT/CBL and HDMI OUT are HDCP 2.2 compliant. HDCP compliance is necessary to play the newest Blu-Ray discs and other protected digital contents.

For connecting a DVD player or other equipment with no HDMI outputs, there are RCA and component video inputs, RCA audio inputs, as well as optical and coaxial digital audio inputs at the VSX-90 back panel.

THE AUDIO

I am currently using a pair of inexpensive bookshelf speakers. With the VSX-90, I might upgrade my sound equipment to a modest 5.1-channel home theater speaker system. For the uninitiated, a 5.1-channel system consists of 5 speakers and 1 subwoofer. The VSX-90 supports 5.1, 5.2, 7.1, and 7.2-channel systems with up to 7 speakers and 2 subwoofers. The passive un-powered speakers are connected to the VSX-90 back panel via twisted speaker wires or banana plugs. The powered subwoofers with their own built-in amplifiers are connected to the two subwoofer pre-outs with RCA connectors. The VSX-90 supports 6 to 16-ohm passive speakers, with 100 watts per channel at 8 ohms or 165 watts at 6 ohms. It will not support 4-ohm speakers.

The VSX-90 comes with the newest Dolby ATMOS sound technology. In a commercial setting, Dolby ATMOS accommodates up to 128 audio tracks and the associated pan metadata to simulate 3-dimensional static and dynamic sound. In a commercial cinema equipped with Dolby ATMOS, the sound equipment sends audio signals to various pre-positioned speakers in rapid successions to simulate sound traveling across 3-D space, for example, the roar of a jet whizzing by. To take advantage of the VSX-90 Dolby ATMOS technology in a home environment, the user must deploy Dolby ATMOS enabled speakers, which have the ability to project sound to the ceiling. These speakers are way beyond my means. They are for people in the top pay grades.

iPOD, iPHONE, and HEADPHONE

For those users who own iPods or iPhones, there is an iPod/iPhone terminal at the front panel for audio playback. I connected my iPod Classic G7 to the terminal via the iPod USB cable and it sounded great. There is also a standard phone jack at the front panel for headphone connection.

THE FRONT PANEL CONTROLS AND THE REMOTE

The front panel controls look simple enough. There are two large knobs on the sides, with the left knob for input selection and the right knob for volume control. At the upper center is a digital display. Below are buttons for speaker selection, multi-zone control, tuner control etc. An infrared line-of-sight remote comes with the purchase. It duplicated front panel functions.

OTHER FEATURES

There are other features of the VSX-90 I have yet to explore and am unlikely to use in the near future. The more prominent ones are described below briefly:

(1) Multi-zones--There is the multi-zone option, in which the VSX-90 sends video and audio signals via connecting cables to audio/video equipment in two other rooms. With the multi-zone option, the same source can be played simultaneously in the main zone and the subzones, with certain restrictions. This can be done with different sources as well.

(2) AM & FM antennae--There are connections for an external FM radio antenna and an AM radio loop antenna.

(3) Networking--The VSX-90 can be connected to a home network via an Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi with dual antennae for extended range.

(4) MCACC Technology--MCACC stands for Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration System. This technology is unique to Pioneer sound equipment. A microphone monitors the sound environment of the user's room and an equalizer automatically adjusts the sound parameters. The microphone comes with the purchase and plugs into a 3.5mm socket at the front panel. The exact procedure is described in the manual.

(5) MHL compatibility--MHL stands for Mobile High-Definition Link. It is a industry standard that enable consumers to connect mobile phones, tablets, and other portable consumer electrons to HDTVs to display 3D/Full-HD videos, HD multi-channel audio and HD photos. There is a HDMI socket at the back panel of the VSX-90 labeled 6 MHL for connection to a mobile device via a MHL cable.

(6) HMDI ARC--ARC stands for Audio Return Channel. Some TVs come with this feature. When the TV is connected to the VSX-90 via a HDMI cable, the audio of the TV can be sent back to the receiver via the connecting HDMI cable through the VSX-90 HDMI OUT 1 terminal. To activate this function, the user must set ARC to ON during HDMI setup at the VSX-90.

(7) Bluetooth and Airplay--These are handy functions for wireless connections to the VSX-90.

(8) Internet radio and music--The VSX-90 is vTune, Pandora, and Spotify ready.

ONLINE MANUAL

A VSX-90 manual in pdf format is available for download. Read it up before ordering:
http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/StaticFiles/Manuals/Home/VSX-90_OperatingInstructions032715.pdf

VIDEO AND AUDIO QUALITY

The video quality on my Dell 24-inch Ultra-sharp monitor is superb. The audio sounds good in my inexpensive bookshelf speakers. I cannot say how good the video looks in a 75" Ultra HD TV monitor or how good the audio sounds in a 7.2 channel home theater system. Nor can I comment on the quality of the VSX-90 Dolby ATOMS technology. I don't have the equipment to do so. I have to leave them to other reviewers.


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