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Grrgoyl RSS Feed (Aurora, CO USA)

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White Tungsten Carbide 4mm Polished Classic Wedding Ring Band (6.5)
White Tungsten Carbide 4mm Polished Classic Wedding Ring Band (6.5)
Offered by MetalsJewelry
Price: $22.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Nice ring, for someone who hates wearing rings, March 19, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I hate wearing rings (another reviewer somewhere phrased it as feeling as if her fingers were being "choked." That's it exactly). So when my partner and I decided to tie the knot, the discussion of rings came up and I was resistant. However, the last time I shopped for a ring, sterling silver was about the only game in town. This time around titanium was mentioned, and while I liked the description of its very light weight, I was turned off by the complaints everywhere of how easily it scratches.

I reluctantly turned to tungsten, which supposedly didn't scratch but was also very heavy. We decided on this ring due to several reviewers claiming they forgot they were even wearing it.

They arrived yesterday and so far I'm pretty happy. My partner's had to be sent back for being too big, but mine fits fine and I'd say "true to size" based on the jeweler's ring sizer I bought off eBay many years ago (sort of an odd tool for someone who hates wearing rings to have, no?) I love the "comfort fit," which my old silver ring certainly didn't have -- this means a nice rounded edge that feels super smooth going on and off. And whereas I won't go so far as to say "I forget I'm even wearing it," the weight is there but it's not objectionable. I typed all day yesterday and it didn't slow me down. I imagine over time I will eventually stop noticing it altogether.

Some differences from Amazon's photo: Good: It doesn't actually say "white tungsten carbide" inside, which leaves more room for engraving. Bad: It's not the soft satiny color pictured on my monitor, but rather the more bluish whitish bright color seen on most wedding rings (see photo).

It's still very pretty though, and feels nice and solid, not cheap at all. I've got big chunky fingers and usually wear men's sizes, but the 4mm seems perfect and I can't imagine anything larger. I also can't imagine why anyone would spend hundreds on a ring when this option is available. I'll update with regards to wear and tear, but so far it seems to be very nice quality for the price.
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Thor (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy)
Thor (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy)
DVD ~ Thor
Price: $34.98
21 used & new from $30.66

4.0 out of 5 stars Five stars for movie, two stars for 3D, March 12, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I should have listened to the other reviewers, but I had to see for myself. It's true: The 3D has to be the most underwhelming, underutilized I've seen in any of my collection. Except for a very few select action scenes, it's like they forgot it was supposed to be 3D. Until the end credits, which look incredible, as if to say "This is what you could have had all along, sorry." (In fairness, I've noticed all 3D movies seem to really pull out all the stops for end credits. Why is this? Are they just easier?)

If you absolutely must try for yourself, I suppose you will (like I did). But if this is the first disc you're trying out on your great new 3D setup, don't be dismayed if it doesn't impress. There are some really great titles out there that do it right (like Avatar and Star Trek: Into Darkness. Check out the rest of my reviews on 3D movies for more). This one is a super-sized disappointment.

300: Rise of an Empire (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD)
300: Rise of an Empire (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD)
DVD ~ Sullivan Stapleton
Price: $21.49
27 used & new from $14.13

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 3D, except all the parts at sea, March 11, 2015
I was surprised that I thought this movie was at least as good as, if not better than, the first in some respects. What we lost in characterizations of the Greek warriors, we made up for in learning about the origins of Xerxes and Artemisia (more interesting than watching Xerxes huff and puff with no explanation or history whatsoever). The battle strategies seemed more varied (for being limited to the ocean), the fight scenes seemed slower and longer with more focus on detail, and the music was far more epic and inspiring (if a tad repetitive). I also thought the ending (SPOILER ALERT) was more satisfying, with the implication that this time the Spartans completely stomped out the Persians (not a history buff, but there are several historian accounts sometimes supporting and sometimes refuting the movie included in the special features, which were very interesting).

But the purpose of this review is the 3D aspect.

It began very promisingly. The opening scenes looked outstanding, on a par with Star Trek: Into Darkness and (nearly) Avatar (my current two gold standards). And this quality held up more or less throughout the whole movie. With all the arrows being aimed, spears being hurled and swords being thrust, no opportunity to enhance with 3D was squandered, and they all looked fantastic.

My only complaint came in during the first naval battle, where I noticed a faint gauzy haze on the screen. Not as noticeable in 2D, but sadly the 3D puts it right in the foreground and makes it almost the only thing you can see. I thought the problem was with my glasses, which I cleaned thoroughly, but it improved when they were on land and returned once again for the next battle. If this was the film makers' attempt to make it look like they were actually out at sea, that idea sounds good on paper but in actuality marred every scene that takes place on the water. And, guess what, this movie is all about battles on the water.

I will say from the tiny bit of footage that appears to be from the first movie (either re-shot or salvaged from the cutting room floor), I really wish they'd put out 300 in 3D format, because that looked amazing as well.

If you're into 3D, this is certainly worth checking out. I just wish the director had gone with a bit less of a "realistic" approach for a film where we don't really expect absolute veritas.

Monsters, Inc. (Five-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition) (Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray / DVD Combo + Digital Copy)
Monsters, Inc. (Five-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition) (Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray / DVD Combo + Digital Copy)
DVD ~ Billy Crystal
Price: $33.23
41 used & new from $13.75

4.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars For Movie; Three Stars For 3D, March 3, 2015
I'm going to comment only on the 3D version of this movie.

I have to say, I was profoundly disappointed by the 3D version. The other 3D animated movies I've seen are Finding Nemo, Kung Fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon and Disney's Beauty and the Beast, all of which looked pretty fantastic (especially Nemo -- like a big window directly into the ocean in my living room).

The problem is confined to the brightly lit scenes, which unfortunately are almost everything in the scream factory. The bright light makes the characters look like glaringly obvious CGI figures superimposed on a computer storyboard. No amount of tweaking my TV settings to make it darker seemed to help. The darker scenes looked better.

That being said, overall I don't feel 3D added anything to this movie at all. There are no "jump out" moments, so the 3D is really only for "depth of field," which is only good if you can distract yourself from the really terrible way it makes the characters stand out too much like a CGI artist's work station.

On a positive note, the extra on the Blu-ray "Partysaurus" from the Toy Story franchise looks much, much better.

Jurassic Park (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet)
Jurassic Park (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet)
DVD ~ Sam Neill
Price: $19.99
45 used & new from $18.18

3.0 out of 5 stars Not The Best. Probably Not The Worst Either Though, March 1, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
There will be those who disagree with me, but I have to say the 3D was a little disappointing in this movie. Don't get me wrong, it probably looks as good as it ever will. But not all 3D is created equal. There's only so much you can do with a 20-year-old film, and it tends to pale in comparison to today's gorgeous high-definition options. The dinosaurs look as great as the first time, just lacking a "wow" factor. In scenes where they're part of the background (like the herds of herbivores running in open space), the 3D unfortunately just makes it look even more like a green screen with actors standing in front. The practical effects obviously look a lot better. Spielberg is fond of shifting camera focus between actors a lot, something I hadn't really noticed until watching this, because the actor not in focus suddenly gets a lot of distracting obvious ghosting around them. Most of the effort seems to have been spent on the raptors, rightly so, and those look the best.

The biggest disappointment of all was the movie's big T-Rex climax, as he stands triumphantly and roars; I was shocked to see him suddenly switch to something painfully CGI (and early, badly done CGI at that) -- he looked more skeletal and cartoonish, like something from a digital storyboard that hasn't been rendered properly. Wow. If there's any shot you needed to get right...

On the bright side, the movie still holds up very well. I still get chills when the scientists first arrive on the island, and T-Rex's roars are still mighty enough to set off my fight-or-flight instincts. But more modern 3D titles have really raised the bar impossibly high for a film of this age, though it looks the best it possibly could considering.

Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy)
Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy)
DVD ~ Chris Pine
Price: $24.96
59 used & new from $14.95

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Second Best 3D Disc, March 1, 2015
This review is strictly regarding the 3D edition.

I'm just starting my 3D collection so I'm not exactly an "expert" yet, but I am seeing big differences in older movies being converted after the fact and more modern movies. I suppose the key is whether it was originally shot in high-def or not (for instance, I'm comparing Star Trek to Jurassic Park, obviously a much, much older movie).

This film is STUNNING in 3D. I'd say second only to Avatar, which I made the mistake of watching first and am now realizing that nothing else will probably look as good; but this comes close. The picture is so crisp and clear anyway, but for instance when Spock goes into the volcano, each individual lava spark floats around your face. When they go into warp, the star field sucks you into it. To say nothing of Kirk and Khan navigating through the debris.

Extremely well done, and not overdone. Whereas most movies seem to focus only on key scenes to enhance with 3D, this one keeps it going throughout, then doubles down on scenes with obvious opportunities (like weapons pointed at the screen, or Khan's fist coming through the brig's wall for the blood sample). Even the end credits are a thing of beauty, with the planets seeming to hang right in your living room.

The 3D version has made this movie that I liked okay (let's face it; it's not perfect) into one that I love, and looking forward to watching again and again, even with friends. I don't see how anyone can not be wowed by it.

Avatar (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray/ DVD Combo Pack)
Avatar (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray/ DVD Combo Pack)
DVD ~ Sam Worthington
Price: $27.86
34 used & new from $20.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly As Good As The Theater, February 22, 2015
I'm a bit late to the 3D party. I hadn't realized players had become so affordable, so only just recently bought one. And of course I knew my very first disc had to be Avatar.

I saw it in 3D in IMAX and was absolutely blown away. I've never forgotten it, that's how deeply impressed I was. I never dreamed I could replicate it in my own home. Rest assured, this disc delivers.

I thought I'd write this review for anyone else inexperienced in home 3D, because at first it wasn't so great. The first 30 minutes looked pretty awful actually, but I was loathe to admit I might have made a mistake (I have several more movies still en route, so I've invested a bit already, despite my promise to myself to start slowly and make sure it was worth it). At first the 3D was nauseating. Everything was too bright, too busy. There seemed to be too many layers and my brain couldn't handle it. There was a lot of ghosting and everything looked transparent around the edges. I was pretty disappointed.

I feared it might be my glasses, which are certainly the cheapest I could find that would work with my TV (I have a slightly more mid range pair on the way). But I finally paused it and dug into the TV's settings. I have a Samsung LED TV, so your situation might be different, but I was pleased to find a very extensive 3D menu with many tweaking options. What helped the most was something that switched L/R, whatever that means, but that instantly fixed almost everything. The picture settled into something much more coherent. The ghosting was gone and suddenly everything looked sharp and clear, and truly 3D. I had the depth of picture that I loved in the theater, the colors were deeply saturated. It looked simply breathtaking. It was everything I was hoping for.

I certainly hope I don't need to do this separately for every movie, we'll see. I'm just thrilled beyond words to finally have this experience at home for this movie, which is just gorgeous. Do not hesitate to buy this if you loved the 3D in the theater.

Roku 2 XD Streaming Player 1080p
Roku 2 XD Streaming Player 1080p
Offered by Bayshore Corp.
Price: $80.72
35 used & new from $42.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Suddenly Stopped Working With Amazon Video, February 21, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I loved my Roku from the moment I bought it. Couldn't ask for an easier, more painless streaming experience of just about any service you could think of. I used it for several months without a single problem. Until...

One day about a month ago (end of Jan 2015), suddenly Amazon Video was buffering. Constantly. Like every 15 seconds. For every title, any time of day or night. Buffering, buffering, buffering. It had become completely unwatchable.

I at first blamed the Roku, but Netflix and every other channel worked flawlessly. Google searching seemed to blame Amazon for not being ready for massive network traffic, but I didn't really buy this.

I consider myself fairly tech savvy. There's not much I can't do provided I can find clear enough instructions online. So I tried: Rebooting several times, the Roku, my router, my modem. I tried factory resetting the Roku (which worked insofar as it now buffered only every 30 seconds instead). I tried disconnecting and reconnecting the Roku to my wi-fi. I tried refreshing my IP (new concept to me). I tried updating the Roku, but there were no updates available (and, charming idea making it wi-fi only, couldn't try wired, which many people claimed fixed it for them). I thought maybe a new update had broken something, but Roku won't let you roll updates back. I was at my wit's end.

Then I tried streaming Amazon on my laptop, about three feet from the Roku, and it worked perfectly fine. So clearly the problem was with the Roku.

My solution was to upgrade to a wi-fi Blu-ray player with 3D. (Might as well go all out given how infrequently I get new equipment.) I considered a new Roku (they practically have the market cornered on affordable streaming devices), but I don't believe in giving more money to a company that's let me down. If you're shopping for a Roku, I encourage you to look for the absolute latest model, and then live in fear of the day they decide to make it obsolete to force you to upgrade again.

Fable: The Journey - Xbox 360
Fable: The Journey - Xbox 360
Offered by Lotsa Electronics
Price: $7.00
120 used & new from $0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Much More Fun Than Expected, February 11, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Me: Not an "avid gamer," which I consider anyone who spends hours and hours and hours playing games (not judging, just not me). I've never played Fable before so I had zero expectations. And I love Kinect (which apparently sets me apart from the majority of Xbox users).

I asked for this game for Christmas, and then put off playing it for a month because I was afraid it would be an epic saga that would take up all my time. Yes and no; there are ample save spots (like every five minutes at least), so you can play for fifteen minutes or two hours, it's up to you. I think that's fantastic since I never know how long I'll have to play or how quickly my attention will wander. (And the story is engaging enough that you DO want to keep playing to see what the next challenge will be.)

Yes, it's on rails. I can see where it might be better if you could roam freely (like Rise of Nightmares), but my problem with video games is I don't play enough of them that if I come up against a really difficult puzzle, I can only devote so much energy to solving it before I get bored and the game gets shoved to the back of the shelf, probably never to be played again. This game guides you through and makes your goals fairly self-explanatory (probably way too easy for people who like puzzle solving). This allows you to focus on the more enjoyable aspect of fighting with magic.

Magic. It is SO MUCH FUN to blast your enemies with just your hands, hurling either energy balls or magic ropes to stun them or pull their shields away and then blast them. The targeting isn't always terribly precise, but you can at least use both hands simultaneously, dispatching monsters left and right continuously (and if you keep missing, they eventually end up right in front of you where you can hit them very easily). This goes a long way towards helping me forgive the on rails part, because I have enough to think about without worrying what my feet are doing too (although you can slide right and left to duck for cover or avoid missiles). And I haven't died yet, even against "bosses," which are not too easy or too hard (edit: I died twice last night against mini-bosses, and sure enough, the save spot brought me immediately back to the beginning of the fight. So no tedious re-covering of ground again). This makes me think the game might be excellent for kids of a certain age who might not be ready for really hard monsters yet.

I'm also thankful you can sit while playing, because all the hurling I just described provides a really tough workout for the arms and shoulders, enough that I welcome the quiet interludes after battles of just steering the horse.

I don't know how far along I am, but I'm already sad about finishing the game and hoping the arcade option creates sufficient replayability (I'll update when I get to that point).

All in all I'm very pleasantly surprised by this game--especially at the super low price it's available for, this is absolutely worth trying out. Maybe more people would like Kinect if they started with this one.

EDIT: I finished the game last night, which astonished me; as I said above, I've never finished any games of this type before. Which I felt a little proud of, except for the fact that the final "boss" is nothing of the sort (SPOILERS): you basically fight off hordes of the same easy to kill creatures you've been fighting all along, while your companion Theresa handles the big bad. I've never finished a game like this before, and even I think this was pretty lame.

As for replayability, I'm skeptical of this too. I tried one level in arcade mode, and it was essentially just replaying that one short segment of the game. I can't imagine this will hold my attention for long.

I'm glad I played it though. Looking at it as a whole, I again think this would be excellent for younger kids who might be easily discouraged from more difficult games like this, as once you get the hang of the magic the play is pretty similar throughout. There is also no nudity or gratuitous gore, which apparently is becoming harder to find in games.

What We Do In The Shadows
What We Do In The Shadows
DVD ~ Jemaine Clement
Price: $11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, yes, sign me up!, February 5, 2015
This review is from: What We Do In The Shadows (DVD)
So happy to see this available here in the States already. Funniest movie I've seen in years, and it really deserves more support and publicity. It's like Flight of the Conchords meets every vampire trope imaginable (even Twilight!), with irresistibly dry New Zealand wit. I won't hesitate to buy this the minute it comes out!

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