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Scooby-Doo! Stage Fright
Scooby-Doo! Stage Fright
DVD
Price: $3.99

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Scooby Doo movie set in Chicago!, July 7, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I'm not aware of any other Scooby Doo stories set in Chicago. It was fun seeing the Scooby Gang riding by famous landmarks in our city. The plot is set around an Opera House that is not real, but it's fun that the Scooby Gang came to the real city of Chicago and had an adventure. The movie has a lot of twists and turns in the plot so that it was a very difficult mystery to solve. Few kids' movies keep adults guessing like this.

It was also a nice commentary on the American Idol phenomenon without it being too instantly-dated. There was nothing in this that would lock the movie into the year 2013, so it should be great viewing in the future for many decades. But at the same time it was fresh and current enough that watching it you get the pop culture references. This is NOT like watching Aladdin and having all the jokes feel stale because Robin Williams made them about life in the early 1990s...the jokes made in this Scooby movie are very timeless.

The animation looked great...as good as the recent Scooby TV show Mystery Inc...but it had a more positive vibe to it than Mystery Inc (which, to me, was hard to watch sometimes because of the odd "planetary disk" plot). I liked this Scooby movie better because there was no overarching larger plot and it was just about the gang solving a mystery like the old TV show.


SimCity Amusement Park Pack [Online Game Code]
SimCity Amusement Park Pack [Online Game Code]
Price: $5.99

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth $10...but if you liked RollerCoaster Tycoon you will like this, July 6, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is not worth $10. No way. That said, I do think the Amusement Park is a fun addition to the game. Basically, I replace the casinos with the Amusement Park and the Amusement Park makes more money and causes less problems than the casinos. I think it's fun to try to get the tourists to come to the park, and I enjoy being able to layout the Amusement Park how I want. There are a lot of rides to choose from, so it feels a lot like playing a mini-game of Roller Coaster Tycoon.

I wish they had included a Zoo as well, as that it could be a mini Zoo Tycoon as well. I loved the game Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis so it would be cool to have a dino park included...but of course they did not do that.

I know that Electronic Arts/Maxis is going to put out a new piece of DLC (downnloadable content) every month and will charge $10 a month to get as much money as possible out of players. I think that's a strategy that is blowing up in their faces because it is making people very angry. Right now, if you don't buy the Amusement Park DLC then you cannot takeover abandoned cities from people who did buy the DLC. So, essentially, if you want to keep being able to play in multiplayer games and take over abandoned cities then you will have to keep buying the DLC packs that come out.

They don't tell you this, which I think is wrong. It's a way to muscle people to buy these DLCs. If you don't keep buying them then you will find yourself locked out of avenues of play.

I think that $10 was too much for such a small DLC. I could see paying $10 if you would get a whole new Department...like a Department of Agriculture with farms and food plants and grocery stores etc. If it's not a whole new Department with lots of things to do then it shouldn't be $10.


Dead Ever After: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood)
Dead Ever After: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood)
by Charlaine Harris
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.99
320 used & new from $0.01

50 of 149 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beware the Annie Wilkes brigade out there who have decided to hate Charlaine Harris, May 7, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've never seen anything like this before, but the book/movie "Misery" has really come to life and is happening before our eyes. There's a rabid and deranged (and very vocal) cohort of Eric-loving "superfans" of Charlaine Harris who have now decided to hate her and "destroy her" because her Sookie Stackhouse series ended in a way they don't like...and that didn't follow their fantasies of Eric.

This is exactly what happened in Misery to fictional writer Paul Sheldon, with deranged Annie Wilkes (played by Kathy Bates in the movie) attacking Sheldon (James Caan) because he killed-off the fictional character "Misery Chastain" and didn't end that series of books the way the "superfans" wanted.

It's weird to see history happening right in front of us...but some day people are really going to study what's happening to Charlaine Harris right now. It's the first time I've seen supposed superfans rabidly turn against a writer because she did not give them their fantasy ending to a book series. It reminds me of the Kurt Vonnegut quote about people dressing up in full-battle armor to fight an ice cream sundae (how he described crazed readers who take umbrage with what happens in a work of fiction).

The thing is, though, that the people who are so angry just deliberately ignored the fact that the ending they wanted was just not ever going to come. They were really fixated on a love affair between Sookie and Eric...but Sookie and Eric were never meant to be any more than Buffy and Angel were "meant to be" on that old TV show. Sookie ends up with a different man...and the "superfans" are throwing a massive tantrum today.

I think we've really crossed a line in terms of how unhinged the Internet makes some people. It's kind of scary to read the nasty things people are writing about Harris here on Amazon...and the threats being made against her. It almost reminds me of the jihad declared on Salman Rushdie when he wrote The Satanic Verses. Eric-Lovers have declared a jihad on author Charlaine Harris and it's a sad and scary thing to see.

To "destroy her" they are voting this book 1-star. It's a very organized effort. They've been planning it for some time. "Yah, this how we'll get her!" they say. The funny thing is, though they're vocal there really aren't too many of these people. Compare this manufactured backlash against Harris to what happened to the game publisher EA after the latest SimCity game crashed upon release in March (as of this posting, there are 400-something "1 star votes" for this book but 2,500 "1 star votes" against SimCity...which is something that actually deserved a solid 1 star rating).

This latest book by Harris is very much like all the other ones that came before it and featured Sookie Stackhouse. If you like those, you'll like this. It has all the same charming things that I love about the Sookie books. There's all the local color and charm that describes life in small town rural Louisiana. A lot of favorite characters from the past briefly flit in and out or are on the periphery...which is nice since it's the last book in the series (so if you liked some of these oddballs, you get to see them one last time in cameo). To me it kind of felt like the last week of high school where you try to see as many people as you can just one more time before you all graduate and move on with your lives.

I like that this book is being used to setup the next Charlaine Harris series that debuts in 2014. That one will be about a crossroads where there's a demon and some kind of pawn shop. So in this book, at least one of those characters from the future books appears. To me, this was a nice touch since it was sad to see Sookie go but I like that the Sookie universe will continue in a new series. I even hear that Sookie will appear in the new series, just to get it started. As this book closes I look forward what is going to be happening in this new town in West Texas now that we are leaving Bon Temps.

The last thing I will say is that you should ask yourself a question before you read this new Sookie book: are you a fan of the series because you love Eric and you wanted to be with him in real life? If so, then maybe you should never read this book and you should just write a fan fiction ending to the Sookie storyline for yourself. If you are like me and you liked the Sookie books more for the mysteries and the supernatural adventures, then this book is enjoyable. I personally was not into the series for the romance...but liked the supernatural mysteries more.

I also never felt Sookie would ever want to be a vampire and that she didn't much like being involved in all the crazy vampire politics. She is a simple girl who enjoys living in Bon Temps, working in a bar, sitting in the sun, visiting with friends, and thinking about having babies. If you really know Sookie as a character from the previous books you'd see that she ultimately could not end up with a vamp and that she needs a guy she can spend her days with in the sun. That seems really obvious to me...but the people upset right now are the ones who wanted her to become a vampire and/or spend her life up all night being involved in the vampire politics she always hated.
Comment Comments (17) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 9, 2013 12:50 PM PDT


Pilot [HD]
Pilot [HD]
DVD

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious. Reminds me of that old Halle Berry movie BAPS, April 21, 2013
This was really funny. It's like one part Buffy the Vampire Slayer and one part BAPS with Halle Berry. Would make a fun series because they could have a different monster every week.


Preview
Preview
DVD

4 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Entertainment Weekly said the pilot episode was available to watch today, April 18, 2013
So, Entertainment Weekly wrote up a big article on this Zombieland TV series and told people to come here today to watch it. All day long I thought I was doing something wrong when I hit play, but there is no episodes. It's just 12 seconds of COMING SOON with weird noises playing.

It's vexing, because that EW article was clearly coordinated through a press agent and media person at Amazon...and they gave EW the date when people were supposed to be able to watch this new pilot. So something clearly happened and they did not activate the video like they were supposed to.

This does not bode well for a competently produced series if they can't even get the day they're going to go live with the pilot straight.


Magefesa 2.1-Quart Sabal Stainless Steel Tea Kettle, Red
Magefesa 2.1-Quart Sabal Stainless Steel Tea Kettle, Red
Price: $21.99
14 used & new from $16.74

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kettle does a great job -- brews 5 mugs of tea, April 11, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I love this tea kettle! It makes 5 mugs of tea.

It takes only a few minutes to heat up and the whistle is loud enough to let me know what's happening but not too loud as to be annoying. When the kettle heats up, the plastic handle does NOT get too hot to touch. This was a problem with another tea kettle I had, where I couldn't touch the thing for a few minutes after it was ready.

This little red tea kettle is safe to touch and pour the hot water. The color is a beautiful red that matches the reds of other pots and pans and appliances I have.

Very happy with this purchase and ironically enough I'm enjoying some peach tea I made in the kettle while writing this!!!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 16, 2014 11:51 AM PDT


KitchenAid Aluminum Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set, Red
KitchenAid Aluminum Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set, Red

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pans are holding up well, very easy to clean, no scratches or scrapes after several months' use, April 10, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I had been saving up to buy a set of copper pots but I could never quite have enough...and some emergency would always drain the savings before I'd get anywhere near the $300 or $400 the copper pots would have cost me. So, I just decided to look for an affordable set that could replace the hodgepodge of pots and pans I currently had.

The main problem with my old pots and pans was that they had Teflon on them that was all scratched up and I was getting scared that this was not healthy for me or my family. I love to cook and make almost every meal at home, so the pots and pans get a lot of use. The ones I had were very hard to clean.

I have always had good luck with KitchenAid products and I like getting red kitchen appliances so everything matches. These pots ended up being just what I wanted and needed...and honestly I doubt I'll ever be saving up for copper again because I just really don't need it. Let's face it, I am never going to be a gourmet or restaurant cook but for my needs and my skill level these KitchenAid pots and pans are just great.

It's been a few months now, and none of these have any scratches on them, inside or out. The nonstick coating is intact and it cleans like a dream. No more having to scrub...the pots and pans just clean off effortlessly. Doing the dishes now takes under five minutes...when with the old pots and pans I had it would be a 30 minute chore.

The only "con" I would give these pots/pans is that I don't know how well they would work for a large family. For me, I'm usually cooking for two or three people depending on who is home, sometimes four max. I don't think these pots are for you if every day you cook for four or more people...they just won't be big enough. Our apartment is small and my kitchen storage space is very limited so these pots/pans are perfect for my needs though.

I get the most use out of the large skillet and the two larger pots. The biggest one is perfect for making pasta and I even have been using it to make the meat for lasagne (I put the raw beef into it, tomatoes, and a jar of pasta sauce with sausage and I just let it cook until it bubbles and then simmer it and the lasagne filling comes out perfectly in this pot...I never had a pot that could be used for this before and I just love it).

I like using the medium sized pot with the handle for boiling vegetables...and the littlest pot with handle is what I use to make sauces. I hardly ever use the two small skillets (but I don't eat eggs or bacon and I bet that's what a lot of people would use these for).

I actually get a lot of compliments on these pots/pans when people come over. The red color is attractive and was pretty close to the picture here on Amazon. The lids are wonderful...and I just keep the leftovers in the pots, cover them, and put them in the fridge so I don't have to trifle with Tupperware or any of that nonsense. It makes reheating these leftovers a breeze on the stove, too.

I'd recommend these pots/pans to friends and am really happy with the purchase. The price was really great and so far it looks like I could have these in my kitchen for quite a number of years without any problems if the current situation holds.


The Devil's Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America's Great White Sharks
The Devil's Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America's Great White Sharks
by Susan Casey
Edition: Hardcover
273 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars This book is incredible --- I read it again every other year or so just for the atmosphere of it, April 7, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I really love this book, because it's not just educational about sharks and other ocean-environment creatures but it's a great nonfiction travel/adventure book that I enjoy re-reading every other year or so. For some reason, I end up reading it again in the spring just before summer hits. I think that's because where I live in Chicago the weather is very gray and bleak around then, and the waves off the lake are monstrous...so it puts me in mind of the Farallon Islands and Susan Casey's book about the sharks and other creatures that dwell there.

I really admire Casey's courage...because in the book she does some pretty remarkable things that never in a million years could I ever do. The book is written in a style that feels like Susan's describing all of what she's doing directly to you, like you're a friend. She also has a way of communicating the scientific topics she's talking about in a way that's very user friendly. For instance, she'll give the scientific names of things but won't forget to describe what that means to a layperson...and she'll add lots of sensory descriptors so her readers can get a feel for how things smell, taste, and feel in addition to what they look like. Ever wonder what it smells like when a whale blows air through its blowhole? Susan tells you (spoiler: it reeks like a septic tank).

I think one of the reasons I love this book so much is that Susan Casey lives in NYC and works for TIME and is very much an office worker/city dweller...so she's not a classic adventurer. She's gorgeous, with model-looks and a classic Manhattan life...but then she takes off on this trek to the Farallons and is subjected to all sorts of harsh things in the wild (remarkably just 20 miles from San Francisco). I love the movie Romancing the Stone...and the whole time I was reading this book I kept thinking of Kathleen Turner in that movie, and how she was a writer who suddenly found herself in these bizarre situations in such a remote place. Casey's struggles on the yacht "Just Imagine" are worth the price of the book alone.

And then there are the great white sharks and all that I learned about them from the book. I grew up terrified of sharks because of the movie JAWS and a freak encounter with a tiger shark I had about 15 years ago in open water in Hawaii. This book actually helped me get over that fear a little, and it really taught me something about the way the great whites operate. I love how Casey portrays their individual personalities in the book and really teaches us everything she herself learned on her time in the Farallons. Seeing how it's someplace I am never going to be able to visit in my lifetime, I relish the chance to "visit" this alien place via Casey's book every year or so when I re-read it.

The last thing I want to mention is that for a while I actually thought about booking a trip out on one of the Great White Shark Adventures boats to see the Farallons (from a distance) and to maybe catch a glimpse of a great white in the water the next time I would be in San Francisco. I was startled to see that in the book Susan Casey mentions by name the very tour operator I had thought about joining for one of his "great white shark adventures". But reading about this man's behavior in her book and learning about the negative impact he has on the sharks I will never give this guy a cent and won't participate in his "adventures". I am really tempted to take the whale watching cruise that Casey talks about...because that operator goes by the Farallons but seemingly doesn't interfere with any of the wildlife. In the book, the whale watchers actually help the shark researchers by carrying supplies and delivering passengers who needed a lift to the islands...and I just like giving my travel dollars to people who don't disrupt wildlife or harm rare creatures in any way. If not for Casey's book, I never would have known that the great white shark adventures people were so destructive.

If you love reading travel and adventure stories, then this book is a great one. It's also good if you want to read about a place you can never possibly visit...because the islands are restricted and Casey was beyond lucky to get the access she was granted. So, this book is kind of a passport to a world you can only see through Casey's eyes.

I really wish someone would make this into a movie...with a young Kathleen Turner type playing Susan casey. I actually think Emma Stone might be a good casting choice too, as I write this in the year 2013. Maybe someone reading this will run that up the flag pole at a Hollywood studio.


Lay's Chicken & Waffles
Lay's Chicken & Waffles

1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most interesting and original chips I've ever had -- sweet, salty, then savory, April 5, 2013
This review is from: Lay's Chicken & Waffles (Misc.)
UPDATE: So, i spent a good portion of this weekend looking for these chips around the Chicago area. You'd think they'd be easy to find in such a big city, but no big stores seem to have them. They aren't at Target, Wal-Mart, or the big grocery stores here like Jewel, Dominck's, etc. i asked friends in other states to keep their eyes open for them in hopes they would mail me a bag...and then i went to the little mom & pop store around the corner from me just to get some milk and looked at their very small chips area and they had one tiny 1.8 OZ bag of the Chicken & Wafflers flavor there. I couldn't believe my luck. The chips are DELICIOUS and have a mix of a few flavors that are really layered in a unique way.

* First, I tasted waffles...and immediately after that I had the sweetness of the maple syrup. The chips smell like maple syrup and the sweetness is nice but not overpowering.
* Then, after the sweet hit my taste buds the next sensation was a savory/salty taste...I think what they are going for is the spices that are used in fried chicken
* The end result is a sweet chip with a little maple flavor at first taste and then an after taste of savory spices
* I never tasted any potato, just the sweet and savory spices

I really like these chips and will keep my eyes open to find more. The man who runs the little store around the corner doesn't know if he will get more, but I asked him to put some aside for me and I will check in and see in a few days. They're certainly some of the most interesting chips Lay's has ever produced. I think they would be excellent at a cook-out as the weather's getting nicer and they'd be an instant conversation starter.

Amazon's really charging too much at $25 for a bag, though...but right up until I found a small bag at the corner store near me I was debating whether to buy a $10 bag from one of the "Other Offers" listed by Amazon. With shipping, it would have been about $14 which is a lot to pay for a bag of chips...but the uniqueness of this really almost makes it worth it. I think my price point for ordering these online would be $10 total, with shipping included.

The chips are good, but they are not worth $25 unless you like to collect novelty products or are in the marketing/food business and need to buy these for work. My advice is to check the small convenient stores and mom/pop shops near you because surprisingly they seem to have things that the bigger stores don't have (like these chips, for instance).
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 7, 2013 9:45 AM PDT


SimCity: Limited Edition
SimCity: Limited Edition
Price: $22.24
74 used & new from $6.68

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Contacted state's Attorney General's office and filed formal complaint against EA/Origin/Maxis, March 6, 2013
This review is from: SimCity: Limited Edition (DVD-ROM)
If you purchased SimCity and have been unable to play it because you can't get on the servers and keep getting error messages and (like me) EA/Origin will not refund your money for purchase, you can actually file a complaint against them via your state's Attorney General's office. My state is Illinois and I just looked up "Illinois Attorney General" in Google and then I looked for a complaint form. It was very easy to do. I took screen grabs of the error messages and the game saying that I could not play.

I also went to the SimCity Facebook page and took screen grabs of all the people saying they couldn't play the game either. I am taking screen grabs of all the negative reviews here on Amazon too. I am including all of this with my complaint to the Attorney General. Apparently you can also complain to the FTC about this.

EA/Origin/Maxis took $80 from me for a game I was supposed to be able to play on 3/5/2013. It's now 3/7/2013 as I write this and I've been trying to get on to play this game since I got the email saying it was available to play early in the morning on 3/5/13. Since the game is not available for me to play I want my money back...but EA/Origin is not refunding it.

If you are feeling frustrated and want to complain to someone about this who will actually listen...then consider writing to your Attorney General in your state and filling out a complaint. Another thing to do is to write to your Senators in your state. Just look up their addresses online and ask them to investigate EA/Origin and tell them that you wanted your money back but this company would not provide a refund.

Ask for an investigation into this and for your representatives to contact EA/Origin to tell them they need to provide refunds.


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